Filipe Leite knows his upcoming journey will test his body, mind and spirit. He knows that it will take him nearly two years to reach his final destination. And he knows that everyone thinks he’s crazy.
But that’s not going to stop him from following through with his goal of riding a horse from Calgary to Sao Paulo, Brazil, covering 12 countries and 16,000 kilometers.
“What I fear for the most is my horses’ health because what I am doing is taking a very selfish route in asking these two quarter horses to ride with me for two years to educate people about animal rights and human rights, while making a documentary film at the same time,” says Leite
Leite, 25, is a second-generation cowboy who was born in Brazil and moved to Toronto with his family at a young age. His love for riding comes from his father, who used to bring rodeos to Brazil.
A journalist by trade, Leite will combine his love for horses with his love of documenting stories real people have to tell.
“Long riders have said that they’ve regained their trust in humanity because people will bend over backwards to help you. So when I started doing the research I thought ‘hey, why not document this?’”
Leite has joined forces with the NGO Journalists for Human Rights and will be stopping at schools along the way to educate students about human rights issues in the Americas.
“My whole life I’ve wanted to strive for a better world. But it’s hard to know where to start. That’s what this is,” he says.
While Leite is riding for human rights, his horses will be trekking for the welfare and respect that they deserve.
“I’m actually giving these horses a reason. Of course you do it with their health in mind. My route is being drawn out with the horses health in mind,” says Leite.
The horses Leite will be using were donated from Copper Spring Ranch and Weaver Quarter Horses, both in Montana.
The journey begins July 8 at 1 p.m. from the Calgary Stampede and you can track Leite’s progress at www.journeyamerica.ca
In preparation, Leite has been meeting with members of the long-riders guild, looking to get advice. He was recently in Saskatchewan learning from legendary long-rider Bernice Ende.
“She gave me some great advice. She told me about what to do about sadllesores, what she eats. It was really nice, she really gave me some perspective,” said Leite.
Watch the trailer Leite made for his ride:
Source: Metro News