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...

maybe this, maybe that...


...there are a few options here, but let me go back a bit....

The night before we left Larry and Sharon's they had a nice cookout with some friends featuring Larry's fantastic fajitas. It was a wonderful meal full of friendly banter and tales.
Off in the distance the coyotes were howling. When the coyotes howl, this little healer called Buddy runs over to Larry and the two of them howl right along with them. It's become a thing.

My mind was a little bit off on it's own unfortunately thought that night because the swelling that had developed in Soj's hind leg hadn't really gone down with his day off. The funny thing is, it tends to go down with exercise and he shows absolutely no sign of pain. Horses often cock one back leg when they are standing. They will shift back and forth every once in a while, relaxing one hind or other. Well, Soj does this normally, never giving less rest to his good leg. He stands solid on either one.

So we had decided we would try riding and just take it easy.

Larry switched out some of our blankets and kindly set us off with some more padding for Soj's back and a call to his friends ahead.

I think I mentioned earlier that we made it to Crowell. Somehow this person called this person who saw us walk by who called this person who called that person and it made it's way around so that the Preacher up ahead was able to get a hold of us without knowing our cell numbers. The phone rang at the business we were taking a break in front of and the owner brought the telephone out to us.

Preacher David Fox said he would come and get us because we were all just a bit too broken down to ride the last 18 miles that day. So we made our way back to the front yard of the courthouse, rinsed off Soj with the hose that was laying there, tied him to the tree, and camped out next to him for a few hours while we waited for the trailer.

It was hot and we were beat and I think the Schwann's guy, Wade, knew it. It was the oddest thing though. I was lying on the ground by Soj and Walter was in the truck laying down in there. I sat up and told him I wanted an ice cream. He said that sounded like a good idea and so we were going to go across the street to the little General Store and get an ice cream. As soon as I stood up and walked to the front of the truck, Wade walked by, looked at me and said, "you want an ice cream?"

I said, "how did you know!?"
He said, "'cause everyone wants an ice cream."

I told him that was what I was getting up to do! So strange. The timing of it all was just wild, but anyway, he gave us a couple of cookie ice creams on the Schwann's house.

Eventually a man named Kevin came with the trailer and took us to the Preachers. Kevin and the Preacher are always together. You don't see one without the other.

"We kind of have a sort of husband and wife relationship", the Preacher later told us.
As he's saying this, Kevin's eye brows furrow and he looks at him sideways,"Well, get your purse then and go on and wait in the car!"


The Preacher gives Walter a disbelieving look and goes on talking.

Preacher David Fox was in an accident many years ago. He was riding his horse and they came upon a slippery bank. When they hit it, the horse rolled up on top of him and stayed there. He was able to eventually get into a rocking motion with her and rock her back up on her feet, but he was left pretty hurt.

He has gone through three back surgeries, but spends most time in pain that he's learned to cope with. It sure doesn't hurt his spirits, that's for sure, and it doesn't keep him from bending over when a horse comes who needs his help and bending backwards when the girl and boy with him need his help as well.
This is the swollen fetlock. Not terrible, but why is it happening?? I don't know.
David and the vet said "hydro-ing" his leg would be the best thing for it at this point. We spray water on the leg for a half an hour at a time.
The boys modeling their red accessories...

If the swelling didn't go down by the next morning it would have been a bad thing, but thankfully it did. It went down quite a bit, in fact. I haven't seen his leg yet today without the wrap on it. We are letting it sweat throughout the day and will check it out again this evening.

This puppy has got the right idea.

It's hard to be so far from home when things like this happen. We have to sort of depend on the goodness of others to help us through it which is not always the easiest thing to do. Larry had told us that Preacher David Fox would "fix things for us" and he most definitely has.

The night before last we were at David's sister's house having dinner with his family. I was beginning to get a bit anxious about what was going to happen and I went to sit on the couch where Walter was. My eyes began to water and I told Walter that I think I needed to go and head over to Soj.

David's dad, Ron Fox, was sitting in the arm chair not too far from me and noticed my face.
"What's up, girl?"

I told him that this was just welling up inside a bit.

This adventure has been months of unknowing...not knowing where we will sleep sometimes, not knowing the people we're headed to, not knowing what obstacles are ahead, but to not know if the horse is going to make it was a lot to take in one dose.

He said we could bring him down to the 4 6's ranch where his other son works where they have top of the line vets, x-ray machines, everything he needs, and see what's going on. It's an hour and a half away but he said it wouldn't be a problem at all to take him down there. I thanked him, talked with David a bit, and excused myself to go put water on Soj's leg.

Once David and Kevin got there we wrapped the leg with DMSO mixed with some other stuff under the sweat wrap. David then asked me if I have heard Western music. Not country music, he said, Western music. I told him I didn't know if I had and so he told me to hold on a second and he would be right back.

Kevin, Walter, and I sat on the back porch of his leather shop with the dogs and the bugs and comfortable air and listened to David play beautiful harmonica as he rocked slowly back and forth and back and forth. It was exactly what Walter and I both needed. We went to bed a little more at ease and with crossed fingers that Soj's swelling would be down in the morning.

It was. It was down quite a bit, but not all the way. As I said before I am waiting to see what it looks like after this second sweat wrap.

In an hour or two we are going to head over there so I can cut some leather. Walter and I have offered to help David by straightening up the leather shop so we'll do that a bit and give my saddle the repairs it desperately needs .

I am also going to jump on one of his horses and ride it around the field a bit. One option is to take this horse of David's for a week or two so we can keep going and leave Soj behind to heal. Once Soj is ready they would trailer him up to me and take this horse back.

Another option is to get another horse and go back and forth between the two. There are Spanish Mustangs around that I could get for next to nothing. I think this would slow us down though. I have no problem walking a lot of this trip to take my 100 or so pounds off of his back every once in a while. It seems to me that would have the same effect as having another horse.

That brings me to another thought. If we go down to get the X-rays and they say he's okay to go, then I might just walk the next week or so beside him and stay off of his back all together.

There is a woman about 50 or so miles from here named Megan who has generously offered to house Walter, Soj, and I for as long as we need as well. It's nice to have that option 50 miles away because I figure those 50 miles can be a bit of a trial run. By the time we get to her place we will know if his leg is going to act up again or not.

No matter what, we with the help of others will figure something out.

David brought us all around his Cowboy Church this morning and showed us his old pictures and collectibles. His Great Great Grandfather, Great Grandfather, and Grandfather are in this photo.
David is showing Walter an old photo that David has studied time and time again with a magnifying glass. He looks at all of the faces of the men and their expressions and wonders who they were and what they were like. They are all standing in front of an old steam tractor. He pointed out a couple jokers in the photo that had never been noticed. Way in the back of the picture one guy had cut a hole out of the top of his hat and was looking through it. Without careful observation you would never notice him. The photo was from 1903.

The doors to the Cowboy Church...
David speaks his sermon from a Rocking Chair up on stage. This Church was started in a dance hall that was also an old saloon called "Bill's Bar". They would hold church in the evening there and turn the beer signs on to light the place. When they built this new Church, they wanted to keep the feel of the dance hall. It is decorated absolutely beautifully inside.

These boys are harvesters from England. They had been there for the last month working on the Combines in the fields. This was their last night there before they headed up to Oklahoma, then Kansas, and from there up to North Dakota. It was good craic hanging out with some English lads a bit. We all talked about our next destinations..New Zealand all around.


  1. Sounds like a good plan, Linny. What a coincidence that you mention the 4 6's ranch. I was riding horses earlier tonight with a friend who is a 4th year vet student at Michigan State University. She is doing two externships next spring as sort of the final stage of her training before she earns her DVM degree, and she is hoping to do one of them will be at the 4 6's ranch. She said it's like tops in the entire country for performance horses of that type. So, you will get the best possible veterinary advice if you take Sojourner down there.

    Buster got wind puffs like that once because we spent the day riding with some friends who loved to gallop (on soft terrain) and I allowed it. I consulted with a vet and gave him some time off and they never returned. But when we did start riding again, it was to light riding compared to what you and Soj do each day.

    Looking forward to your next update. But whatever the problem is with Soj's fetlock, I'm sure you caught it in good time and can do whatever is necessary to make sure he can stay sound for another 20 years. That's most important, of course.

  2. Oh my! That blonde (left) was a CUTIE!

    So, is that how you meet hot farm boys from England?
    Good to know if I'm ever single again! LOL!
    Great pose from the 'all guy' picture too! HILARIOUS!!!!!

    I'm sure Soj will be doing great in no time! Honestly, I like how your trip has slowed down.... It makes for more stories and pictures.

    Has Soj ever had an old injury there before? My Nate does that sometimes. Best of luck, love and horse healing ;)

  3. Hope this message finds you even more rested and at peace, and with more clarity about what to do next. Enjoy your time at the Cowboy Church... Soj will be alright, I promise you… Keep the faith and until then, I’m riding for you, saddle pal. Mark, Rocky, Anna and I BELIEVE IN ALL OF YOU and send you our love...

  4. Oh my gosh Linny- I've just been catching up on your blog after a weekend away. I'm so sorry for you scary storm experience and Soj's leg swelling issue. I know you know this already, but it sometimes hears to help it- you are amazingly strong, as is Soj, mind and spirit. You will make the right decisions, and things always have a way of working out.

    I have always had a hard time acccepting help from others myself, yet long to help others whenever I can. Believe me- the people doing the helping get so much out of it. It is a circle that keeps turning.

    I am not as active with blog comments as I'd like to be, but please know I am with you and always wishing you the best. I was just sharing your story with a group of riders at a large organized trail ride (over 40 horses) this past weekend. I am so glad you take the time to bring us all along on your adventure and share both the good and not so good experiences.

    Hang in there, and know if you can think of anything I could ever do to help- I'd be honored to!
    Kisses to Soj!