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...

When the road gets long....


Sojourner, Walter, and I are now 1,345 miles into this ride and we have hit our first wall. There have been times when this ride has been hard and we've had to just push through the exhaustion or the heat or the Interstate that I don't want to ride on....

But a few days ago the three of us kind of broke down a bit. I actually fell asleep in my saddle a few days ago and Soj decided to take a turn down the wrong road. Walter had been behind us and once he had driven farther than he thought we could have ridden he called and said, "did you canter?"
I told him no and he asked if he passed me. I said I didn't think so and was starting to realize that maybe I had been asleep.
Anyway, I turned the horse around and as it turned out Soj had turned 3/4 of a mile up the road and I slept through it all...probably about 20 minutes believe it or not. I remember thinking I would just shut my eyes for a second, but I think I instantly fell asleep! That was the day we took a rest mid-day. It was too hot and we were all too tired.

A few days ago we were in horrible storms. The police came out to check on us and I said I was just going to ride on because it seemed like the farther East I got, the better.

We had two trucks stop with nervous people in them saying I had to get off the road because a tornado was coming. We had just sat through a big storm with hail and crazy cracking lightning only a half mile from us. I felt like Atreyu in the Never Ending Story when he had to gallop through those two big statues that shoot lightning beams out of their eyes.

Anyway, we sat through that and then some people came and said the siren had gone off in Paducah and the police were getting everyone into their homes because a tornado was coming. The shelter they were going to was 6 miles down the road. Meanwhile there is a massive black cloud filling the sky. They pointed to the sky and said it was coming with that. I told them I couldn't make it. It would take us an hour to go 6 miles. I said I might as well gallop East rather than 6 miles into it.

At this point Walter came back (who had been ahead looking for somewhere to go) with his head shaking "no". He said there was nothing down the road. The people said to leave the horse and get shelter but of course I couldn't leave Sojourner. We had passed a corral about a half mile back so we told the people we would go there. They said okay and took off. Soj and I ran back (right into the oncoming storm) and Walter jumped out of the truck to open the gate.

The corral was locked. At this point the storm was on us and so I had to just get in the truck and hold Soj next to us. I thought a tornado was coming and I had no idea what we should do. Soj just stood really still and held his head down.

We hadn't had cell service, but as it turned out we were able to get it right at this spot so we called Stephen and asked him to call our next stop to ask if he could come get us. We have not trailered one step of the way and it would pretty much take a tornado to make us trailer, but so it was and so we did.

Of course, once Larry got there the sun was out and the storm had passed. According to the radar the biggest storm was still to come so we thought it best to trailer the last 12 miles we had to go that day anyway to get Soj out of it. I could sit in the truck, but if it was true that a tornado was coming then we had to get him and ourselves somewhere safe. We had already gone through hail (small hail, but hail none the less and he didn't like it at all) and incredibly loud, close lightning.

So, after 1,325 miles, we got in a trailer. Kind of a bummer, but everyone said it wasn't worth the risk. We thought about going back and riding the 12 miles that we had to trailer the next day, but I didn't want to make Soj walk 12 miles on his day off for really no good reason. So, we decided we would deduct that 12 miles from the total at the end.

Well, Soj has had swelling in his hind leg down by his fetlock (ankle). He has shown absolutely no sign of pain and doesn't favor it at all. The swelling goes down a bit with exercise. We have just been taking it easy the last couple of days and have been watching it and icing it.

Once we got to Larry's we put some hemorrhoid cream on the ankle which brought the swelling down, but not all the way. Still, no signs of pain at all and the swelling wasn't too bad so we went ahead and rode after a days rest.

10 miles into this ride we decided we all need a break. I was nervous about Soj at this point and just didn't feel good about anything. I sent Walter a text saying I didn't know what to do and I felt like I was going to break soon. He came out with food and we talked about what the next step should be.

We made it to the East side of the town of Crowell (10.5) miles and stopped to take a rest. I didn't really know what to do. Soj was spooking at a lot of things (which he doesn't usually do, I think he could feel my anxiety) and I was so tired that I didn't have the patience for it and I was worried about his leg and there is this parade we are supposed to get to and people to meet and on and on...it was just too much.

Then a man walks up with a portable phone and says "yeah, she's right here."

The Preacher of the Cowboy Church here in Vernon, David Fox, was on the phone and said he was going to help us and get some medicine on his leg.

"Would you be okay if we came out and got you, hun?"

"Yes." I said.

To make a long story short, we trailered Soj another 18 miles to the next town and worked on his leg a bit.
The swelling hasn't gone down, in fact it looked a little puffier earlier today, but it now looks a little better this evening.
Tomorrow we are taking him to the vet and might have to have an X-ray done. So, my fingers are crossed and hope that you all reading will cross yours, too.

He seems fine. He was running around like a nut ball this evening, but something obviously isn't right. It seems like it's a little higher in the leg (that's where there's a little heat) and gravity is bringing the swelling down into his fetlock.

None the less, he needs rest. We might trailer to the parade, but it really depends on what the verdict is tomorrow. If we trailer to the parade, it will be a total of 55 miles trailered. I could really care less about this fact, but that's what it is. So we'll ride across America minus 55 miles.

So tomorrow is a big day for us all. Right now we are in a motel that David Fox and the Cowboy Church put us up in. We were here last night and will be here tomorrow night as well. We insisted that we are pretty used to and happy with camping, but he said "it's already been done" and with that we went to the Green Tree Inn.

It has made an absolute world of difference to have this room to recharge in a bit. I had been telling Walter it's like I'm an old phone that only charges up to the yellow line at night and I run on that energy level all day. Today I feel a million times better and just hope that everything is okay with Soj tomorrow.

Back in Crowell, or West of Crowell about 10 miles, we were with Larry and Sharon Hannon at an RV park. Their friends, Taylor and Joslyn Fox gave us their trailer for the two nights we were there. It was a wonderful trailer, but I was concerned about Soj and the weather and just not feeling all that great so we didn't really rest up well.

Larry and Sharon were such a pleasure to be around though and I wish we had more time with them. Larry is certified in analyzing horse personalities. He gave me a book and told me to look through and tell him after what I thought Soj was. Then he would tell me what he was. I determined he is a Shau Yin Horse or Fire/Water. Larry nodded his head yes and said that's what he is.

He could be Water/Fire though. They overlap a bit. I didn't get a chance to read through a lot of the book to go too into detail here, but it's a very interesting book. It's called "Horse Harmony" and it's by Madalyn Ward, D.V.M. It's all about understanding horse types and temperaments.

After leaving Larry and Sharon's, we rode the 10.5 miles and then were picked up by Preacher David Fox.

"He'll help you", Larry had said, "he knows horses."

I'll write more tomorrow and put up some pictures...getting tired....


  1. Well, all good thoughts for Sojourner first and foremost, of course. I'd feel quite confident that the vet won't discover anything too serious. But it's certainly possible that Sojourner will have to take a few weeks off of riding. That seems to happen to every horse occasionally.

    Good for you in accepting the trailer ride for Soj when the storm was coming. I really dislike it when people stand on principle (e.g. not accepting any non-horse transportation) when doing so defies common sense. But I know you'd never do that anyway.

    All three of you have demonstrated outstanding stamina, but this is a long, long journey. Frankly, it's a testament to your combined strength that this is the first wall you've hit.

    Please do update regarding Soj as soon as you can. I'll be thinking of him all day tomorrow for sure. Like I said before, I'm not too concerned, but I'll be eager to hear the news.

    All best wishes as always!

  2. Best wishes of recharging and recovery for you all from my ranch full of critters here. We are all rooting for you!

  3. When you first told me about your dream to ride a horse across the country it was not about how many miles you could ride. You had come out to California carrying a great amount of sadness, somehow you new if you could be around horses, you would heal. You found a ranch in Mendocino, a horse, and the healing began.

    "Mama I want to ride across the country, talk with people, hear their stories. Something about horses makes people happy, it helps us
    connect to each other."

    I thought what a beautiful thought, but impossible, it will blow over.
    I should have known from experience with my three kids, that when they have a dream somehow they make it happen.

    So here you are 3 1/2 months, 1350 miles into your ride. You have met incredible people, shared with them stories of happiness,sadness,
    love and joy.

    For us at home we have been able to ride along with you, Walter, and Soj, through your beautiful writings and Walters wonderful photography.

    We laughed out loud when you lost your pants in the desert, had tears run down our cheeks as we read of the struggle of the baby antelope, then felt joy of a long friendship turn into a beautiful love story. We have been inspired and thoughtful as you have shared your feelings and thoughts. We have connected with the incredible, beautiful people you
    have met along the way.

    Your journey was never about miles, it was about connecting with people, sharing, and the power of the horse to make that happen. You
    have always put Soj's welfare first, and you can see by your relationship with him that he knows it. The trust and love radiates
    out to us all. He new you wouldn't let that tornado get him!!!!

    What an amazing trio, and as your journey continues I know you will not lose sight of the dream.

  4. I completely agree with everything Wendy just said. What a wonderful, wise, beautiful woman. She reminds me so much of my mom.

    As you know from my very first posts, I never measure "success" in terms of getting to a "destination". In fact, I feel for people who are so determined to look at life that way. They often suffer greatly because they are so frequently unable to be satisfied and gratified by their experiences.

    Thinking of Soj and looking forward to the next update.

  5. Thanks again Linny,
    I so appreciated your beautiful CD and note !
    I sure hope you make it here too. I'd love to meet you all.
    Health first !
    I'll always be your friend! Glad you weren't hurt in the storms!!!!!!!
    *imagines Linny on Soj in a tornado relocated to Kansas*
    Glad THAT didn't happen ;)

  6. Yes, health first. There are newer posts that I have not read yet and so I will now as opposed to continuing here...