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...

The Horseman's Haven Retreat, Pie Town, New Mexico


To go over all that I've learned and all that we've experienced at this haven will take a few entries.

First of all, it really is a haven, with a fire to keep you warm in your room, big grand wooden doors that Larry made, more horse books than you could imagine on Natural Horsemanship, candles and down comforters, bathtubs (oh how I love), a patio outside the room to sip your coffee on in the mornings while you watch your horses run, and margaritas, conversation, and a home cooked meal every night (to name a few things).

The generous amounts of knowledge, food, and time offered is something I will remember always. Jenny and Larry have a love and understanding of the horse that I wish everyone who enjoys horses could get a taste of. It is really something to experience and will help you to realize signals from your horse you were never aware of before.

Sojourner was acting quite studly when he was let loose with all of the other horses when we let a few of them loose together in the big corral. It's funny because he is quite often the odd man out and this was no exception, but he had been in the corral with two other horses since we first got there. When another horse was added in (even though the two he had been living with never really accepted him), Sojourner fought to keep that new horse away from them.

I would like to hold a meeting. All of those in favor of electing Sojourner treasurer, whinny twice.
...and the little mare whinnies once and charges. A definite "not in favor". Soj is looking at her wondering what he ever did to her as she charges in to break up the meeting.
whoowee, that boy has got a neck on him!

I loved watching Soj in the corral with the others. It's so interesting. I could take out a hammock, tie it to the post, and watch them the whole day. There are so many little mannerisms to pick up from them.

Soj is tied up to the porch of Pie-O-Neer right now. They just brought us out two slices of pecan oat pie. Now that's a donation!! Psyched. Psyched right here.

We are talking to a hiker right now and we have come up with a trail name for Soj. This place is a hub for travelers and hikers so we have met a bunch of people passing through on the Continental Divide Trail. This man's name is Wilderness Bob and we have decided to call Soj "Rock on a rope" because his big old massive head is like a 100 pound rock on a string that whams into you (something we're working on).

We are out on the porch. It's a beautiful day. Wilderness Bob is telling us about the hikers site and a better route. I want to go up towards Grants and I want to go by the lava pass and The Narrows and Malpais!!! It sounds so beautiful. Then we could hit Santa Fe too which is full of history and art. Gosh Darnit!!
Instead though, I think we are staying on 60 and headed to Clovis. Ah well. It'll still be cool. Fun is where the heart is, right?!

We are going to go another 18 miles or so and then set up camp. It's a beautiful today! The sun is shining and everyone is commenting on how sweet Soj is as he sleeps next to us here. Hikers are all around looking at maps and opening their food boxes that have been sent here for them. It's a wonderful life, this hikers life. So much camaraderie and sharing. I don't think it would be very common that you would meet a really depressed, bored hiker.

They are all sun soaked and relaxed. They all come and sit with you to talk and share advice on things to see in the area. One just said, "what's on the agenda for the rest of the day, dude?"
That's how it should be. They are relaxed, outside, and taking time with each other. I love it! These are not lazy people by any means. They work, save, and then hike. People are here from all over and they have all now joined around one old picnic table with peeling blue paint to talk about where to go next.

I am wandering around all over in this writing because there is so much to talk about, this hub for travelers, the ranch, Fran and Charles (who were at the ranch the last three days for a clinic), Larry and Jenny, Soj and his studly behavior all week....on and on...
Sorry if I skip around a lot.

A woman just came over to talk to me who is barely over 4 feet tall. Her dream was to be the first woman jockey. When she told me this she started to cry. She started training with horses when she was 12 and met her now husband at 15. She said he persuaded her not to race because it was just too dangerous. He whisked her off her feet and she said with a snap of her finger, "and I had to wait til I was 18 to marry him!" They have been married 45 years. Walter and I wondered how this was possible because she honestly looks 40. She has so much energy and great skin.

She walked back and I asked "did you say 45 years?" She said "yes!"
I asked her how that's possible and she said "well, I'm 64 and I was married when I was 18."
I asked her if she drank magic juice and she said she's Hispanic and that's the secret. I hope Irish/Italian women have the same luck! My mama looks pretty darn good so I think I'll be alright. :)

Oh man, I love the energy here. It's just so relaxed and natural and delicious! Ah! Sojourner just burped so loud!!! Oh man! That made me laugh! I looked at Walter thinking it was him with an eyebrow raised and he laughed and pointed toward Soj. I said "no way!"
Soj is licking his lips, just had a big sigh and a shift of his back legs, and is looking like he is going to drift into nap number 2.

I am going to rewind back to dinner last night. Walter was making cookies and I was at the counter at the kitchen editing photos. Fran, Charles, Jenny, and Larry were at the dining room table sipping on coffee and tea. We had just had a wonderful dinner all together. At the table they started talking about how quickly life goes by and to enjoy it while it's here. I wonder why this subject keeps coming up...??? Isn't it funny how that happens? It's like ideas go around in cycles and all of a sudden it seems to be what we're all thinking about.

Anyway, they talked about how long they had been together. Fran and Charles met in 4th grade, started dating in 11th and have been married now 35 years. Jenny and Larry went to the same high school together, but didn't actually meet until after they had graduated! They have been together 25 years now.

I asked Fran and Charles what made them stay together for so long and if their thoughts ever wandered since they met so young. Charles said "we were friends first".
They said they have grown into one and can finish each others sentences. Another big point they made is that they are pretty independent. Fran said, with Charles right next to her, that if he were to leave she would be okay. She said it with kind of a shrug of the shoulders and said, "I would just go do my own thing", but there was no lack of love in it. They are very much partners, but she made it clear that she's her own person and her life wouldn't end if he weren't there.
"She's very independent", Charles said.

We talked about how when you meet someone you are attracted to them as they are as their own person. I think sometimes we get into relationships and one of us kind of consumes the other. We start to lose ourselves, and with that, often times the attraction fades. People are attracted to independence.
There is a line from a book I read a long time ago that I love so much. It's goes like this:
"In each of us burns a flame of independence that must never be allowed to go out. As long as it exists within us, we can never be destroyed."
I think that's it, really. Everyone knows you have to love yourself to love others, yadiyadiya, and all this...but it really is true. We are all given our own talents and loves and ambitions and we can't let them go for someone else because you lose a bit of your spark, your beauty, what you're here for.
It's as if the world falls into place around you when you're doing what you love. And love comes to you, like Nancy commented, "love happens".

I really should get on the road. I have more to say about the Horseman's Retreat and all that we learned. I know there are things a lot of horse lovers following this would be interested in. I need to really take some time and put it all together though. It might be a week or two. I would like to put some video clips together from the clinic and put that up with the post.

I doubt I will have a place to use this computer tomorrow, so it might just be a phone update, but I'll write in my journal and try to work on that video. We need to look into getting a way to charge the computer from the car. I think there's a way to do that....not sure though...
Alright then, on the road again....
Oh, that reminds me. Wilderness Bob said Sojourner is used in the song "Nights in White Satin". I really want to listen to that song now. I love that song and I haven't thought about it in so long! My mama loves that song....

Oh, and another thing...Easy Care is going to sponsor us and send out some Easy Boots for Soj! This is thanks to our friend, Tom. Also, we are going to be featured in the Arabian Hose World Magazine in June! It's going to be a 6 page spread and Walters photos and our friend, Melissa's (sweetbee blog) photos are going to be in it!

Alright....it's nearly 4 and we are thinking we're still going to go 18 miles so we have to get going!!!

Hmmm...I was going to wait for some more photos to upload, but this connection is just too slow....lots of pictures to come!


  1. There is a way to charge the computer in the car. My fiancee wired up a battery and it lives under my drivers seat and when I need to I just connect the alligator clips, plug in the comp, flip on the battery and away it goes..

  2. Joan loves "Nights in White Satin" and the Moody Blues in general.

    You're really onto something important independence, or respecting a person's innate character. I recall it coming up in an earlier blog post and we'll see it again, I'm sure.

    We'll celebrate our 30th anniversary together next year (24 of those years married)and our marriage is the proverbial "happily ever after". But it wasn't always that way. We had the usual amount of struggles early on, and one of the biggest came from us pressuring each other to conform.

    For example, my wife is very private. Socializing just isn't her thing. On the other hand, I'm extroverted and gregarious. So, shortly after we got married, I started pressuring her to do things with friends and she was miserable. She liked these other people just fine, but that amount of socializing just went against her constitution.

    So after a number of unhappy experiences, we talked about it. I had to admit to myself that I was probably more concerned about what others thought if my wife wasn't there than how unhappy it made her to have to get dressed up, put on makeup, and make small talk when she'd much rather be home reading a book. So, I promised not to do that anymore. When Joan feels like it (once a year or so), she'll say "How about if I join you at...", I say "That would be wonderful", and off we go. No arguing or strife in between.

    Now because I committed myself to honoring her more fully as a person, she naturally wanted to reciprocate. And boy does she! I'm encouraged to go do all the things I want, leave the grass tall in the yard, clean the basement later, etc.

    So many times, I see couples arguing and think to myself "This issue, by itself, is definitely not important enough to be getting angry about?" Usually, it's something piddly like leaving a mess in the kitchen or where to eat dinner.

    I'm sure if I asked someone (which I wouldn't do unless it was a dear, dear friend) why he/she is upset, I'd probably hear that it's not just that thing, but lots of little things over time. Understandable, but I would also want to ask in return how many of these little things come up because one person can't accept the other "as created". These aren't broken vows we're talking about, but I suppose it can eventually lead to such unhappy circumstances.

    Good topic, Linny.

  3. Got my mind going on this topic, Linny. :)

    Closely related, and on the other side of the "accepting the other person" subject is compromise. That's one of the hardest things to embrace. To have a lifelong, mutually rewarding relationship with another person, one needs to be willing to compromise - on hard stuff.

    For example, I'd love to go on a long ride. But that's just not something that I would consider asking to do. It would be too big as a request. But what I get out of the marriage more (much more) than makes up for these kinds of compromises we each have had to make over the years.

    I feel bad for the lady who shed tears over not becoming a jockey. That's a big deal. An unfulfilled dream. But if her marriage has been a good one, she would probably say that the sacrifice was more than rewarded by the other route she took in life.

    We all have to decide ourselves which things are so dear that we can't let them go. But even if two people are "perfectly" matched, I still think the ability to compromise - without regrets and resentment - is going to end up being critical to a joyful relationship.

  4. Hi Linny,
    I realize you may be out of contact for a while but I wanted to send a web site that you must check out. You may already be aware of a man named Eustace Conway. He is the subject of a book called "The last American man", written by Elizabeth Gilbert. He has done some amazing things, including canoeing the Mississippi River from St. Louis to New Orleans, hiked the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia and crossed North America via horseback from Atlantic to the Pacific. He has a place in N. Carolina called Turtle Island, where people come to learn how to live "deliberately". Living lightly on the land and farming sustainable. His environmental education ranges from cultivating with a horse drawn plow to basket weaving and slaughtering roosters. (now that you are temporarily non-veggie) I contacted him recently and he wrote back saying he would be happy to host you in your journey. I've sent him your blog info and perhaps he will communicate with you. His web site is www.turtleislandpreserve.com. I was thinking that if your timetable becomes difficult and you can't get to N.H. before it starts snowing, this may be an alternative for reaching the East Coast. It would certainly add to your education. Then you could trailer Soj to N.H. Just a thought. Always good to have something in the back pocket. I do think you'll find him quite interesting. He even reminds me a bit of Walter, only older.
    I tell you this with reservation because he may trump Mendocino for future plans. The score card may tilt.
    Looking forward to the tales from the trail.
    love always

  5. Amazon has the answer for your charger for your computer...just plug it into your lighter and voila... and oh..it's only 14.99 instead ... Here is the link


  6. Hello,
    I love your words and photos.. I wish I had known of your trip as you went thru Souther California I have a small (5AC) ranch in the high desert and would love to have had you visit..

    I have purebred SABINO Arabians, you would have loved to see them.. Looking forward to the Arabian mag and the article with you and your wonderful horse

    May God Bless the trails you travel..

    SidneyRae Fox RC, barber to the US Army, Fort Irwin, CA..