One man’s journey on horseback from Calgary across the Americas

How Filipe Masetti Leite became the youngest person to cross the Americas on horseback

By Emma Boyne | August 5, 2022 |5:00 am

Filipe Masetti Leite set out from Calgary in July 2012 for a horseback riding journey to Brazil.

Photo: Submitted

Achieving your dreams may seem impossible at times — difficult to reach and even harder to push through. But despite the pain and the effort, the reward is bountiful and the feeling is bliss.

Filipe Masetti Leite can attest to that after the Brazilian-Canadian became the youngest person in the world to cross North and South America on horseback.

Masetti Leite is a young cowboy, looking to change the world through journalism and riding. 

Over the past 10 years, Masetti Leite has been travelling the Americas, inspired by a childhood story to create the documentary film The Long Rider.

A Calgary connection

He started his 25,000-kilometre trek from his adopted home at the 2012 Calgary Stampede to his family’s home in São Paulo.

Masetti Leite was later welcomed back to the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth when he was named parade marshal in 2020 and rode in the 2022 parade.

With his father’s support, Masetti Leite created a dream that many deemed impossible. 

“I’ve been riding since I was a little kid — my dad gave me the name Filipe because it means friend of horses and he had me in the saddle before I could even walk,” Masetti Leite says.

“I used to tie down rope in the rodeos during high school, so the horse has been a constant in my life.” 

Having grown up riding, Masetti Leite wanted to create change in the community and show people why riding is so important to him.

Capturing the journey on film

Through journalism and his filmwork, the cowboy was able to fully fund his own journey on horseback while soaking in the beauty and importance of nature. 

“In 2010, I started working on the strategic planning of the project, and I had to acquire everything — sponsorship was extremely important, and I shot a pilot and was able to sell it to another company to film a reality series and a documentary for them,” Masetti Leite says. 

Released in July and debuting on a number of streaming platforms, Masetti Leite hopes to inspire others to follow their own dreams and goals through The Long Rider

“The hope is that this film will inspire other people to live out their dreams, their purpose, their projects,” Masetti Leite says.

“People told me it was impossible, they told me I was going to die, they told me I never even got what I needed to take that first step, but I realized that people have the determination not to quit — anything is possible, so I will inspire people to take a first step, to write it down, to plan, and to ultimately undertake.”

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Emma Boyne

Emma Boyne is an intern at Calgary Citizen.

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