On March 1st, 2010, my friend Walter and I set off on an adventure with my Arabian horse, Sojourner. I rode Soj across America and Walter drove our little truck (with no trailer). The trip began in Los Angeles, California and successfully ended in Bath, New Hampshire 8 months and 14 days later. It was a 3,700 mile ride.
We rode in celebration of family and as an outreach to those dealing with divorce-related depression.
This ride tells a tale of love in many forms - through the people we meet along the way, our connection with the horse, with the land, and with each other.
As this blog goes on it gets more and more in depth with tons of photos and experiences. Snuggle in with a cup of tea and read this like a book. I have switched the blog around so it reads start to finish so you don't have to read backward (except the first entry).
Here is our story...
27 miles ridden to Pasadena today
My body is so incredibly achey. I learned a lot today. One thing being that this saddle I have just isn't going to work. Henry called today to see where I was and I told him about that saddle and he said "Linny!! Linny! Why didn't you take your saddle!" My mom is going to get the Mexican saddle from Henry and bring it down to me in Joshua Tree on Jan. 13th. Until then I will ride in this saddle or without one altogether and no saddle bags. This saddle will be okay without saddle bags, but it's not going to do the trick the whole way across. The saddle Henry got me will be much better.
Sojourner was a challenge this morning. He was very, very nervous about everything and very high strung. He was scared of the red paint on the side walk and finally one particular red sidewalk really scared him and he jumped right into traffic. Thankfully the car coming could tell Soj was a little freaky and had slowed down. Otherwise we would have been hit from behind. I got off of him instantly and walked. If I am beside him he is much less scared of things. Half way through the day he started to calm and by the end he was a dream. Totally amazing. He was calm and gentle and relaxed. When I let him into the arena tonight he ran around and even gave a little buck....before that he was instantly down for a roll.
Tonight we are staying with the Rose Bowl Riders in Pasadena and they could not be any more hospitable and kind. It's such a pleasure to stay there-beautiful horses to look at too.
Oh man, my body. Holy molasses, I need a massage.
Today was a good first day. We went through cities and through a river that was running pretty fast. Soj was awesome. I saw some other riders after we crossed it. They were on the other side of the river and had noticed us earlier on the other side so when I met up with them to ask where on earth I was they said "you crossed that river!!???" Soj was really cool about it actually. It was full of rocks under it as well and the river was so muddy that you couldn't see through it. I had to cross though. Before that were on a busy road called Foothill Blvd and so I got off on some trails that a guy recommended. This got us so lost. People have said "Listen to your horse" and it's a good thing I did because Soj was able to back track every turn. He even turned us around when I asked him to make a wrong turn. I was impressed when I went with him and we were back where we started. From there I tried another way and we just kept hitting fences. Then I ran into a man who told us how to get out.
I was thinking about the ride today and how I would gather stories from people and what to do and what not. If nothing else, that horse probably made 1,000 people smile today. It's just amazing how many people I talk to because of Sojourner. People instantly connect when in other circumstances they would just walk by. People pull over and get out of their cars and ask questions and laugh and smile and there is this whole awesome interaction that never would have happened without that fantastic horse of mine. I love it. It makes this all worth it. I can't wait to settle in to the groove of this a little more and have time to try and get the story out a little so people know we're coming and maybe there can be a time that I can meet and record a little. I'm not really sure how to do all of this yet.
I am wearing my Poppy's boots and they are fantastic for riding, but they just about destroyed my feet walking. Of course, they are the only shoes I packed. I even took them off for a while. So there I was in chaps and a cowboy hat and socks with my sleepy horse in one hand and my boots in the other walking down the sidewalk in the city at night.
Tomorrow we are riding another 25 miles to La Verne. I need to go sleep. I didn't pack enough clothes. Not at all. Walter is going to hit the thrift stores so maybe he will find some cool stuff. Oh! I lost my knife today!! I am so bummed about that. I loved that knife and I don't have another. I had it clicked on my chaps but I guess it fell off. I used it to cut my avocado this morning and that was my last moment with it...and a good moment it was.
This entry is maybe a little boring-so much happened today, but I am so very tired and I can't believe I have the same distance to go tomorrow....and in these boots and with this same body. As they say at the ranch "oh hellzzzz no". Nah, not really...I'm anxious to get to Joshua Tree so I'm ready to forge onward.