About Us...

The Long Horse Ride is the brainchild of Megan Lewis, who is responsible for formulating and organising the venture. Educated at St Paul's Girls' School, Hull University and the School of Oriental and African Studies, she is a former Head of Geography at a London girls' school. With husband Iestyn Thomas, she now lives on a farm in South Wales where she breeds welsh ponies and large welsh part-breds under the Cwrtycadno prefix.
She is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and the Royal Geographical Society.

Iestyn was educated at Llandovery College and Loughborough. He has variously worked in teaching and the foreign exchange market, as well as building up his own small sportswear business Harlequin International. In 2004 he left teaching to concentrate full time on running the beneficiary charity ChallengeAid, which he originally founded.
Besides sailing, his other main interest is rugby, and he has coached premier clubs Harlequins, London Welsh and Llandovery, among others.

Megan and Iestyn have three children, Gethin, Gwenllian and Iona.

 

 

Megan explains how it all came about: -

My zest for travel and fascination for Asia was sparked by an idyllic childhood in Malaya, where my father was a headmaster and author of geography textbooks, and holidays were spent travelling to exotic locations. However at that time China, Central Asia and Mongolia were essentially closed to the West, and when I went to university, I chose a degree in Southeast Asian studies and geography, following this up with an M.A. and research on Southeast Asia. I then took a PGCE at London University and taught for ten years, latterly as Head of Geography at a London girls' school.

In the U.K, all my holidays were spent at our Carmarthenshire home, and it was here that my love of riding was fostered after learning to ride on my uncle's shepherding pony as a child. I took particular delight in disappearing over the hills of central Wales on my pony, sometimes for days at a time on overnight or week long forays, and often dreamed of a more ambitious expedition. However, between the demands of education, career, and then a young family, somehow the opportunity never arose. In the 1980s Iestyn and I moved permanently to Wales to run my parents sheep farm.

Having taught locally for several years, in 2002 Iestyn devised the simple but effective idea of a charity appeal which encouraged children to raise money for disadvantaged children through exercise. Initially running it on a voluntary basis in his spare time, he got the campaign going in local welsh schools, from where it spread nationwide. Schoolchildren for Children was officially launched in 2004 when he received private sponsorship from Paul Brewer (founder member of Rubicon Fund Management Ltd) and other old rugby friends to run this rapidly expanding charity. Since then it has raised nearly a quarter of a million pounds for children worldwide, and has just been launched in the USA.

By the start of 2007, all our children had left home, and I found myself if not with unlimited free time, at least with the freedom to follow up some of my unfulfilled ambitions. It was then that the strands of an idea began to pull together in my mind. My long held dream to undertake a long horse ride, my interest in Asia fuelled by the opening up of China and Central Asia, the sport and fitness promoting element of the charity - add to this the imminent Beijing and London Olympics, which also provided an obvious starting point and destination, and all these factors gelled to form the concept of the Long Horse Ride. Eventually I plucked up courage to ask Iestyn the burning question.

"What would you say if I told you I wanted to ride from Beijing to London between the Olympics to raise money for Schoolchildren for Children?"

To his eternal credit, he did not bat an eyelid, and a challenge was born

 






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