16,000 Miles on a Horse: Interview With Long Rider Filipe Masetti Leite

“I’d never ridden more than 3 kilometers.” That’s what author, filmmaker, and Long Rider Filipe Masetti told me after riding 16,000 miles across North and South America. That quote will give you hope you can do whatever you’re dreaming of doing.

Long Rider Filipe Masetti
Filipe Masseti Leite interview
preparations (3 min)
mental fatigue (9 min)
food, water, shelter (16 min)
something bigger (20 min 30 sec)

Attending the World Premiere of “The Long Rider”

A while back, my wife Julia and I visited Long Rider Filipe Masetti and his wife Clara at the Beaufort International Film Festival. They were there for the world premiere of Filipe’s documentary “The Long Rider”. The film is about Filipe’s 16,000-mile saddle journey across North and South America.

Julia and I with Filipe and his wife, Clara, at the world premiere of “The Long Rider”. “The Long Rider” won the People’s Choice Award.

On July 8, 2012, Filipe set out from Calgary, Canada with three horses. Two years later, he arrived in Barretos, Brazil, to a hero’s welcome. He eventually rode to Patagonia, then rode from Alaska to Calgary, becoming one of the few people who has ridden across both North and South America.

During his voyage, Filipe ran into raging rivers, jungles and drug lords. He also encountered kind people who took care of him and his horses. Passing on generosity is important to Filipe. During his voyage, he raised funds for the Barretos Children’s Cancer Hospital.

Documenting the Voyage

Filipe filmed his journey. That footage would become “The Long Rider” documentary.

Out West (Photo courtesy of Filipe Masetti Leite)
Traveling the dangerous Million Dollar Highway between Silverton and Ouray, Colorado (Photo courtesy of Filipe Masetti Leite)
Winter travel (Photo courtesy of Filipe Masetti Leite)

Julia and I watched the premiere screening of “The Long Rider”. Filipe did an incredible job filming the voyage, from what it’s like to party with a drug lord to having your horse get hit by a car. Producer Sean Cisterna did an artful job weaving that footage into a movie that captured the spirit of long distance riding better than any movie I’ve seen. Julia cried, and I was close. It takes a lot to choke me up.

Filipe, Julia and me with film director and producer Sean Cisterna.
Arnon Melo, Sean Cisterna, Filipe and Peter Hawkins. Sean headed up the “Long Ride Home” movie. Peter is Filipe’s editor.
Filipe’s wife Clara watching Filipe during the question and answer session after the premiere. The two met during the voyage.

After we watched the movie, Julia and I thought, “Damn. We need to interview Filipe!”

Filipe mixing with the crowd after the premiere. For as much as Filipe has done, he’s still humble enough to patiently listen to everyone’s story.

Catching up With Filipe

A few days after “The Long Rider” premiere, ” Filipe, Julia, and I caught up on the phone. As a fellow Long Rider, the three things I was interested in hearing about were:

  • how Filipe prepared for his trip
  • what he did for food, water and shelter
  • how he dealt with the long-term fatigue of a long ride

Julia wanted to know if Filipe’s fear diminished with the idea that something bigger than him was protecting him and the horses.

Interview With Filipe

Originally, I was going to write up Filipe’s answers to my questions. When I listened to our interview, I thought it was too good to cherry-pick a few technical bits and ditch the rest. Quotes like “There is no relaxing: you sleep with your underwear and boots on.” shouldn’t die on a hard drive.

So here it is, the chat Julia and I had with Long Rider and all-around great guy Filipe Masetti. Think of it as your twenty-minute chat with Filipe. The bottle of wine Filipe refers to at the start of the interview is a bottle of wine Julia brought to the premiere. The CuChullaine and Basha Filipe refers to are CuChullaine and Basha O’Reilly of the Long Riders’ guild. Bernice is Long Rider Bernice Ende. Enjoy!

If you want to jump straight to the topics Filipe discussed, they come up at the following times:

  • preparations (3 min)
  • mental fatigue (9 min)
  • food, water, shelter (16 min)
  • something bigger (20 min 30 sec)
Filipe Masseti Leite interview
preparations (3 min)
mental fatigue (9 min)
food, water, shelter (16 min)
something bigger (20 min 30 sec)

“The Long Rider” Documentary

Filipe’s documentary “The Long Rider” is currently in film festivals. It is scheduled for theater release.

Filipe’s Books

Filipe has written a trilogy about his voyage. His books are available on Amazon.

“Long Ride Home”: Book 1 of 3 about Filipe’s voyage

Julia and I own Filipe’s books. They are outstanding. Follow Filipe on Instagram:@filipemasseti

Sean Cisterna

Director and producer Sean Cisterna, who turned Filipe’s film footage into “The Long Rider”, is with Mythic Productions. Follow Filipe on Instagram: @seancisternaSign up To Hear When the “Two Mules to Triumph” Book is Released.

Let Me Give You a Heads-up When my Book “Two Mules to Triumph” Comes Out

I’d be happy to give you a heads up when my new book “Two Mules to Triumph” comes out.

“Two Mules to Triumph” is about my 2,300-mile mule voyage from North Carolina to Idaho.



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