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...
snuggle into bed and grab a cup of tea, I have a ghost story for you.....
We made it to White Water, CA today. It was a great ride but SO windy!!! Soj was a little excited about it in the morning, but got used to it very quickly. It wasn't just a sort of windy day, it was knock you over wind at times. I even had to get off at one point because I made us too tall and Soj was kind of side stepping. He was amazing today. He was so strong and looks great. I don't know if it was Athaea's magic or the ghosts that hunt her house looking over him, but he is looking fantastic. We cantered a lot today down the railroad tracks and on dirt roads and he barely broke a sweat. He had a lot in him today and I was so happy when I took off the saddle and he looked full and strong. He peed less today too.
Athaea at Camelot Ranch donated a thicker blanket and leg warmers for Soj, and a 50 pd bag of feed that has less protein but high calories and should be easier for him to digest. It really was like she was magic. The fact that Soj was peeing so much was worrying me. He just gets so lean looking and I know that all the nutrients I put into him come right out. I was assured it was probably the stress of L.A. and everything that was getting to him and would take him some time to adjust to, but it's disconcerting for sure.
Soj was so at ease there. He laid down and he drank and ate everything that was given to him. He was really taking care of himself. I snuggled in with him early this morning for a little while and for a bit yesterday while he was sleeping. He was so peaceful and calm. Athaea said the horses are always calm there. The house sits where there was once an old town hundreds of years ago and they have said they've seen and heard spirits. Once there was a horse there that was sick and the owner of the horse saw a man in the stall with a hat on and she heard him say "he's going to be okay", and the horse totally recovered.
I told Athaea that I hope they can help Soj to hold his water a little better and I tell you he is a hundred times better today!!! I mean, whoooo knows, but there is no question that he was the calmest he's been yet while he was there and he was the strongest he's been yet today and has plenty of miles left in him if we wanted to go further. He just looks great.
Athaea and her husband, Dallas, have names for all of the ghosts. To name a couple are the whistler and the roof walker. They pretty much do what their name describes. Then there are the kids. It looks as though there are four of them. It's been told that there were sacrifices back in the 1800's and these children (around 7-10 yrs. old) were buried in the land right behind the house. The land used to have orange trees all over it so the bodies would be disposed of in the orange groves.
One day Dallas was digging a massive hole to build their barn and Athaea pulled a bone out of the dirt. She took the bone to an anthropologist and it was confirmed that it was a piece of the pelvic bone of a boy around the age of 8. Athaea brought the bone into the house and left it on the table in one of the rooms. That night all of the cabinet doors were opened and most of the things in them were emptied onto the floor. Athaea didn't connect the bone right away and was nervous that someone was getting into the house and messing with them. It happened again and again and so Athaea even sprinkled flour all over the kitchen floor to get footprints. It happened again. No footprints.
She then remembered the bone and buried it in the backyard. The kitchen haunting stopped. Athaea has seen two little girls. One is older than the other and seems to be looking after the younger one. They are always holding hands. These girls, possibly the little boy and it looks like another child took an interest in a stuffed bear that Dallas had. It was a Christmas bear that played different Christmas tunes. This bear would play over and over again maiking Athaea, who is a writer and needs quiet, crazy. She took the batteries out of the bear and the bear just kept on playing. It would play constantly through the day and night. Athaea decided to set up a camera on a tripod in the hallway by the bear and set it so it took pictures every 15 seconds or so. She looked through all of the pictures. Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing....and then:
WHOA!!!!!! Looks like there are 4 there. Athaea had to finally take out the music box to get it to stop. We talked about how it's sad that they are still lingering here if they really are here...why? Sometimes outside you can hear what sounds like a choir of angels singing as you go back to the ranch. It gets quieter if you walk away and louder if you walk closer but there is nothing there. Athaea said it's the most beautiful sound. Others have heard it as well.
I think Athaea is one of the greatest horse women I've ever met with a heart of gold and I think she did a world of good for Soj, but maybe some of her friends from....I don't know...what is it called where spirits live??? from another energy field...gave him a little touch of their powers too. Pretty wild stuff.
Tonight we are camping out next to Soj. I was spoiled enough at Athea and Dallas' with a bath so I'm good to go until I see my mama and Stephen in a couple days. ;) We are in the most beautiful spot tonight. I will put pictures up. It's an incredible canyon-sort of similar looking to Sedona, Arizona. The land is starting to change. We went through intense wind with tumbleweeds blowing by and there is not a lot of grass, just a lot of sand and bushy stuff and trees with thorns on them. It has been incredible to so slowly see the land change from L.A. streets and tons of people to mountains in the way distance to mountains right beside me to mountains passing by and now I can see that the desert is right around the corner.
photo by Walter
This is the awesome saloon we stayed in at Sundance Ranch in Redlands, CA.
Inside the saloon...we pitched a tent in front of the t.v. I thought that was funny. We never actually got a chance to watch it though.
photo by Walter
Thank you Hadley's for your donation!!
photo by Walter