We were just in Versailles with the Fidlers on their gorgeous ranch. We had stayed with Adrianne and her husband, David, at the Rolling Hills Equestrian Center back in Henderson. Adrianne is the daughter of Peggy Fidler who also owns The Rolling Hills Equestrian Center in Versailles. It was a wonderful, wonderful stop and Walter and I really wanted to stay there for a few days with them...just to sip on coffee and talk about the ways of the world for a while...but NH and its cold moves us on...
We had a little photo shoot for Peggy's daughter in law, Meredith's friend's jean line in Nashville.
...but the jeans didn't quite fit so we had to tuck them in and hold them tighter! For to show the can better.
When you're out on the road for over 6 months there are going to be some talks. Talks about life, direction, people, goals, up times and down times, where do you want to eats, and where do you want to go's answered with some I don't care's and I don't knows...and then the talk begins...
I have been expressing a bit of discontent in these past entries so Walter and I came to a decision. What we loved so much in the beginning of the ride was the freedom and openness of this whole adventure. The West is very conducive to this kind of riding because there is so much open land and a great deal of it is BLM so you can venture off wherever your little heart and horse fancies.
Now that we have journeyed into the Eastern part of the country it's not so easy to just pull over and camp in the great open desert or up in the mountains of Arizona or New Mexico. No one is there to tell you to skedaddle. It's just you and the land as far as you can see. It offers an incredible peace and opens up creativity and thoughts.
Lately I have been dodging cars during the days (absolutely literally) and get into our host families house in the evening pretty tired and honestly a bit discouraged. The roads are just as stressful for Walter as they are for Soj and I because he's up ahead worrying the whole time or behind us with flashers. There isn't a whole lot of time for appreciating where we are.
I am a bit unsure about writing this next part because I do want to share this whole journey with as many people as possible, but the interviews and questions at the end of a long day are getting pretty hard for us, too. I would love to show our videos and show the people and the photos and tell their stories, but it would be cool if there were a way to reach a greater audience in one big way instead of all of these little interviews everywhere. I just feel like that's time that I should be writing in my journal and maybe writing a song or painting, reading, working on leather, or just watching the horse. I feel like I'll have more to tell and more to offer in the end if I don't let go of that time.
The other big thing is that the questions now are all about us when we want to hear other people's stories and learn about them. That doesn't happen as much anymore.
So the decision is that we're camping again no matter where we are. We'll stay with a host family on a rest day (which might be after 3 days or might be after 5, whatever we're feeling) and on any travel days we will camp out with Soj. It's still different than the West because we will probably be in someone's field near their house instead of out in the middle of nowhere, but that's fine, too. This will give me more energy for interviews when they do come on rest days and more enthusiasm for what we're doing.
A few nights ago we camped at The Taylorsville Lake State Park. It was such a beautiful place to camp. We all loved it. No one else was there and the weather was perfect.
Soj's iron supplement is definitely kicking in. He has plenty of energy and was particularly spunky on this morning.
This ride is a little time in my life that I wanted to take for myself to see the land from the back of a horse. I wanted to feel his feelings as best I can and I wanted to really feel and learn what it is like to be out in the elements, out with the land, moving at a pace that hasn't been traveled at regularly in quite some time. Of course, this all became possible when Walter said he would join me and Soj and so it has been a journey for the three of us, all depending on one another and all connecting like we had never connected before.
We lost a bit of that over the past while. The heat made it tough because it was simply moving to get the day over to get the next day over so that someday the heat would end. Now we are moving to get off the dangerous roads as fast as possible to get to our stop for the night to just do it again the next day.
I don't mind the ride being a little tough during the day, but in the evening I want to just sit with Soj. I want to sit with him for hours like we used to do and have a fire and read a book. I believe that is the time when you really connect with a horse, when you're just hanging out. Walter and I both noticed a change in him a little while ago. It was so strange because I felt it but didn't say anything and then one day Walter said it to me. We both were getting the same vibe from him. He was aloof and not really there with us. It's because we would use him all day and then throw him in a field. Before we would ride all day and then all unwind together. There was a time when we had a camp fire and Walter and I were cooking pasta next to Soj. Soj came close to us and laid down right there. The three of us sat around the fire. It was one of the most amazing moments of the trip.
I miss that terribly and for the last 1,000 miles we've got to get it back. You have to go through things to be able to make changes though. You have to taste everything to know you don't like some things, but you certainly can't be upset that you tried it.
It's hard to write these things in a way because Walter and I are so grateful for every stop we've had and we absolutely love every couple and family we've met. It's not about that at all. It's simply about this ride and the acknowledgment that it has changed a bit and needs to go back to more of a focus on the land and the horse. I want to be outside.
This morning I was upstairs in the beautiful home we are staying at strumming a guitar for about 20 minutes and then I started to wonder where Walter was. I couldn't find him anywhere so I thought I would just go out to the field and hang with Soj. I called Walter on the way to the field and asked him where he was.
"I'm just out here in the field with Soj."
"You are!? I'm headed there right now, too! Okay, see you in a second."
Walter was sitting in the far corner up on the white picket fence and Soj was there with him just standing there. I walked through the field. When Soj saw me he joined me half way and then walked with me back to where he and Walter were hanging out.
I pulled myself up on the fence and the three of us just sat there in the corner. Soj drifted in and out of sleep as I twiddled with his hair using my toes.
And that was it. That was all we have been missing. Just time to ourselves and time with Soj. It's a pretty magical thing to be able to do, to get that close to your horse, to share every single minute of the day and night with him. When this ride ends I won't have that as much. I'll sleep in my bed and I'll have to work in the shop. But for now...while this journey is still happening, Walter and I want to really use the opportunity.
There's still a long trek ahead in what's going to be pretty cold weather, but Soj's hair will get longer and our blood will thicken (I'm hoping) and we'll rough it right along with him. It will make my bed at Danlin Hollow feel all the more cozier when we finally, finally, finally get there.
And we visited the home of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs. This is a statue of Barbaro. He won the 2006 Kentucky Derby, but broke his legs 2 weeks later at the Preakness Stakes which ended his career and ultimately his life. He was put down 6 months later in January, 2007. His ashes are buried under the statue.