How much time do you spend with your horse each week? How much do you wish you could spend? For us horse lovers, it’s never enough.
When I bought my Peruvian Paso-Mustang gelding Apollo a few years ago, I spent my days at a desk counting the hours until I could again inhale that wonderful perfume of hay, manure and leather. But not for much longer! We are now in the final stages of preparing for a 14,000 mile journey around the U.S., on a route that will take four years to complete.
In October I will be leaving behind my desk job for a life on the road, traveling both in the saddle and on foot for about 20 miles per day, 5 days a week, for 4 years. We’ll take weekends and winters off, because rest and recovery time is important for both equine and human to stay healthy and injury-free over so many miles. A “long ride” is not a race or a competition, so we will be able to stop any time Apollo or I need a little extra rest.
We’ll be carrying only the bare essentials, leaving all unnecessary baggage behind. This is both practical and symbolic, since this ride is more than just an adventure. In addition to becoming the first woman to ride to 48 states, it is my goal to talk to people I meet along the way about the realities of domestic violence, to give hope to women dealing with its effects in their own lives, and to help end the silence and stigma of this too-common problem. And what better way to help people than with a horse!
Click here to watch a video about the CentaurRide
A ride of this magnitude doesn’t happen overnight. I have been preparing for over two years, starting when I bought Apollo as a green 6 year old. Untold hours of training later, we now have an excellent partnership and are working on getting used to some of the obstacles and situations we are certain to encounter on the road.
And on the road we will be: this ride will mostly be taken along city streets and country lanes, with the occasional bike path and hiking trail. The reason for traveling in populated areas instead of sticking to the backcountry is two-fold: it will help me meet my purpose of talking to more people about domestic violence, and it will allow me to buy supplies for myself and Apollo frequently and thus not need a pack horse or support vehicle.
Will spending 35,000 hours with my horse be enough to satisfy me? Probably not. However, I hope that it is enough to accomplish my goals of riding to 48 states and spreading awareness about domestic violence!
You can also learn more about the ride at www.centauride.org.