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...
Top of the morning to you!!
Walter and I are sitting in a nice cafe in Banning, CA. Again we are with the most giving, wonderful people. We are staying at The Camelot Training Center. The second we got in last night the owner of the ranch and her friend worked like a couple of ants getting Soj a warmer blanket, wrapped his legs, gave him hay and grain and a tub of warm water and barley. He seems relaxed this morning. I got up later this morning and didn't get out to him until a little before 8am and he already had a mountain of food in front of him.
Athaea (the owner of the ranch) is extremely knowledgeable and says Soj looks good and healthy, but she agreed that we need to figure out this peeing problem. She recommended some different feeds that I will try. These feeds have the same amount of calories, but less protein.
On a good note, Soj's back is perfect again and he felt really strong yesterday. We were able to canter more yesterday which cut our time in half. There were long stretches of dirt on the sides of the road at times and when we could we would cut into the orange groves and canter down the rows. We even cantered along the train tracks with the train riding next to us. The train stops a lot so we kept passing each other throughout the day. The conductor started to get to know us and when he went by the last time he gave us a special honk.
Yesterday was our best ride yet. It's the first day that we haven't been in just pure city. I was able to work on my harmonica skills a little. :) I am looking forward to the days where I can kick back and we can just plod along on quiet roads playing the guitar. I'm sure Sojourner will welcome that change as well. He's quite a horse, that horse. The day we walk down the driveway in NH, past the 3 birch trees that represent me, my sister, and my brother, and the beautiful big maples into that big green field will be a great day. I daydream about letting Soj go and roll and run and eat. He will be so happy.
Walter and I were just talking about how amazing it is to have people treat you so kindly. It makes you so positive about the world and so much stronger. Their kindness pours into you like vitamins....like Popeye's spinach....and you're ready to take on anything. That's what support does for you. Support and smiles, a little food (and oh man, a bath), a story or two and a hug and we're on our way just a little bit better than we were before.
The power of people is truly incredible. It's so simple but it fills you like nothing else. To mix that in with the land so slowly moving by me and the constant breath of this incredible, loyal animal always beside me is amazing. When I walk it is never the sound of just my feet, but always a "1 and 2 and 3 and 4" behind me and warm breath on the back of my arm. Every once in a while Soj will nudge my back and I don't know what it means but it is the sweetest thing. It's really gentle and he usually does it after we've been walking a long time without looking at each other or anything. It's like a sort of "hi" and then that's it, just one little nudge.
Walter has been a Godsend. Last night he ran a bath for me after we settled in (I fell asleep in the tub), and yesterday during the day he was always just a little bit ahead of us running errands-getting all these grains and things we've been recommended-and mapping out the road. I called him at one point because even my skin tight riding pants are getting a little baggy so I asked him if he could bring me a frappe. 10 minutes later he was there with a chocolate frappe and I began walking again. I yelled, "Walter! Look at my bottom as I walk away! Do I still have my bottom!!???" (I've got to keep this little bottom!)
He said "not really" which shocked me a little so I whipped around to look over my shoulder at my bottom and Sojourner (who loves to rub his head) decided to itch himself on me and knocked my frappe all over the ground!!! I SCREAMED! My natural reaction was a completely, not put on, scream. I even surprised myself at how I reacted and Walter put his head in his hands and laughed. Just total horror. There was my bottom...melting down the sidewalk and into the gutter. My Italian side, my curves...gone in a chocolate swirl and only an empty MCDonald's cup left in my hand to remind me of what could have been...the curves that could have been saved.
This ranch we are at is said to be haunted so Walter and I are going to beg Athaea for some of her ghost stories tonight and I will share them with you after!