Barry Armitage
In an effort to reconcile these diverse passions Barry created the concept of The Ride: a reality television series that retraces epic horseback journeys that shaped history.

“At first glance it’s simply a “Boy’s Own” adventure but this concept really picks at the scab of our heritage, helping us understand the things that individuals did, good and bad, that shaped our country, challenging us to understand our past and hopefully informing a better future.”

There was a problem though: Barry knew nothing about making television shows and the logistics of getting a team of horses prepared and keeping them healthy during the ride was daunting and cash-sapping. Over a period of 18 months he threaded together a team that could make this daring adventure series possible. Many favours were asked and many people gave of their time and expertise freely. Still struggling to put together a crew to film the expedition, the breakthrough came in finding a kindred spirit in cook, adventurer and film-maker Justin Bonello. Justin’s Cooked in Africa Films whose dynamic, energetic team with their “can do” spirit of true mavericks, along with his partner, the much lauded ad-man Peter Gird, was just what Barry needed to record his adventures and take them to an international television audience.

Joe Dawson, Barry’s brother-in-law and close friend, became the last vital link in the magical chain that is The Ride team. Very reluctant to undertake such a harebrained scheme at first, Joe was finally won over by the sheer compelling romance of an undertaking like this.  Who, after all, can turn down the offer of a frantic horseback adventure across the wilds of South Africa? Cool in a crisis, witty, tough, if a little grumpy with it, Joe makes the perfect riding partner on these challenging adventures.

Adventurer, historian, horseman, sailor, Barry’s life between adventures consists of constant reading and historical research, and a rigorous fitness regime including boxing, running and riding. On the road ruthlessly long days, critically little sleep, punishing physical conditions and the ever present possibility of a fall from a speeding horse offer little time for introspection. This contrast suits Barry well and the process provides him with a vehicle for discovering more about himself, his heritage and his country.

Impatient, curious and daring, Barry is always up for what most would consider a harebrained scheme!
“There is nothing better than flying along on a horse through an amazing landscape, slightly lost and not quite sure what is to come and realising the truth of what it takes to accomplish what these legendary men of action and their horses did: a real privilege.”

With three television series airing on South African television, from October 2011 through to the end of 2012, and four expeditions in the pipeline, including a new concept adventure, the next two years promise to be packed with action and historical retrospection for this intrepid traveller and his team.