One woman. One horse. 48 states for Domestic Violence Awareness

Check back often for the latest updates and stories from Meredith and Apollo as they journey 10,000 miles on a four year ride around the USA.

Watch my new YouTube channel!

I am excited to announce the launch of my newest social media project - a YouTube channel devoted entirely to the food I try during my travels (and also some good stuff around home during winter break).  The channel is called “Detour for Donuts” - search for it in YouTube or follow this link to see my first video about the exciting breakfast food called a Wamelet.  

Now available! Horse Travel Logbook by Meredith Cherry

Are you planning on taking your own horseback adventure? A good journal or log book is an essential tool when traveling with a horse.  It allows you to look back and accurately track mileage, problems, and other daily data.  After spending days in the saddle, it can all blur together in your mind.  But when you lose track in your brain of how many days and miles its been, when your horse gets sore and you need to figure out what started it, or it feels like you’ve been riding in the rain forever, being able to see on paper what happened and when can be a big help.

This “Horse Travel Logbook” was designed for my own travels, based upon the data that I’ve found useful to keep for two years of traveling so far.  It is a smaller size than comparable journals designed for horse travelers, which means less weight for your horse to carry and less space needed in your packs.  It has enough pages for 100 days of travel data (since you probably won’t need to keep records on days off, that’s four or five months worth).

Now available on Amazon for only $9.99! 

New Year, New Centauride!

The Centauride is ringing in the new year with a new logo!

Although my old centaur logo will always have a special meaning for me, I felt that it was time to make an improvement with this new image.  It was inspired by a visit to This Old Horse in Minnesota; their logo is lovely in its simplicity.

I am very excited to share this new logo with you, after two months of drawing and editing! The silhouette is modeled off an actual photo of Apollo and I on the road in Eugene, Oregon.

It is now available at my webstore - on shirts, mugs, pillows, posters, stickers, and so much more! - in black, white, or purple. Click here to see this and my dozens of other designs!

You're Invited!

Mark your calendar for an exciting evening with me!

The Nevada County Library has invited me back to give another presentation in their "Travel Talk" series.  It will be 90 minutes of photos and stories about this year's ride, and (time permitting) an opportunity to ask your questions in person.

December 10
5:00 - 6:30 pm
Madelyn Helling Library, Nevada City CA

This event is FREE! 

Hope to see you there!

The 2018 Centauride by the numbers

Route Data

125 days

1816 miles

9 new states travelled: MO, IA, NE, SD, ND, MN, WI, IL, IN

Supplies (used up, worn out, broken, or lost)

My boots - 1 pair

Apollo's boots - 3 sets

Socks - 4 pair

Other clothing - 6 items

Donuts - lots

Protein bars and granola bars - way too many to count. Estimate of 150

Pens - 2

Batteries (all sizes) - 6

Tubes of sunscreen - 3

Journals - 2

Books (read) -  about 30

See how this compares to 2017 by clicking here!

Announcing the new and improved Centauride route!

I am excited to be able to share with you my new route map!

The orange line indicates where Apollo and I have already travelled, and the purple is what we have left to visit at this point.

Due to my current progress, I have had to change my map significantly from the previous plan.  Now, instead of ending in Maine, I plan to end in Kentucky.  The remainder is still expected to take a similar amount of time, so my end date should be 2020.

The map and a complete list of states with new approximate month-year ETA's can be found by clicking on "Route and Schedule"  For those of you who are relatively new to following along on my journey, this is a handy place to catch up with the early ride news and photos: each completed state on the list is a link to a summary of that state's photos and story.

Are you along my remaining route or do you know someone who is? Learn how to be a "hosting helper" by clicking here!

Time for a break in Indiana

Winter is starting to set in around the Midwest.  That means it’s time to stop for the year (I won’t ride when it’s too cold - it wears me out, and is too hard for Apollo to keep up with the increased calorie needs).

We made it over the Indiana border and into our 23rd state. The morning that we entered the state, this is what the grass looked like two hours after sunrise.  Brrr!

The little bit of time we spent riding in Indiana before stopping was pretty.  More flat farmland, and some small towns.  The blue skies and fluffy clouds were picture perfect!

I spent my winters at home, while Apollo is boarded at a full care stable where we stopped riding for the year.  I got him all settled in at his winter home, and he seems quite happy there.  I’ll miss him lots, but I’m sure he’ll be well cared for while he rests up for next year.

There was a big list of things to do before I could fly home.  But I also spent some time playing, too! One afternoon I took a break from packing and errands to drive minis with my host around a local park.  Too much fun.... I’ve been saying that Apollo needs his own mini friend (he loves them all), but now I want one so I can do this again!

I had a lot of errands to run to wrap up my year.  Does stopping at a candy factory count as an important errand? I’d been told about Albanese Candy, and how awesome their gummy bears and chocolates are, so of course I had to include that in my to do list! So hard to choose, especially since I had limited suitcase space to pack up my sweet souvenirs.

Fingers crossed for a short winter, so Apollo and I can get back to riding quickly! 

Domestic Violence is Also This - Not Your Typical Physical Abuse

This is part eight of a series. It contains details of my own experiences and other potential ptsd triggers which may be disturbing to read.

The term “domestic violence” is in some ways misleading, the words themselves reinforcing the misconceptions and myths about this extremely common issue.  What do you think of when you hear the word “violence?” Probably the first word that came to your mind, as with most people - even many of those who have been abused  - is physical violence of some kind.  Hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, shooting, stabbing.  Something visibly violent.

But domestic violence does not start and end with physical violence, and many people have been victimized without having a hand laid upon them.  So many women (and men!) I have talked to have expressed the belief that they were in a “bad” relationship, but it wasn’t abusive because their abuser never hit them.  For this reason, I have come to prefer the term “domestic abuse,” which more easily is understood to include other abuses than just physical.  

It’s time that everyone understood that domestic violence, or domestic abuse if you prefer, is more than just physical violence.  It also includes financial, psychological, emotional, sexual, spiritual, and technological abuse.  For this October’s domestic violence awareness month, I will be discussing each one.  Most abusive relationships include a combination of several types of abuse; many of the types have overlapping characteristics.  Only one type is needed for a relationship to be called abusive, though; experiencing only one type is just as difficult and damaging as going through them all.

Not Your Typical Physical Abuse

We all know what physical abuse is, right? Hitting, kicking, slapping, pinching, biting, choking...

But there are other kinds of physical abuse that are perhaps less obvious.  Did you know that physical abuse can occur without the abuser laying a single finger on their victim?

* Denying the victim food, water, or sleep
* Locking the doors so the victim must stay outside, which is especially dangerous or hurtful in bad weather or at night
* Driving recklessly while the victim is in the vehicle, with the intent to scare or harm the victim (ie, not just your average bad drivers)
* Preventing the victim from seeking medical attention
* Preventing the victim from calling the police
* Forcing the victim to use drugs or alcohol
* Abandoning the victim in an unfamiliar or dangerous place

My story

I could fill a book with a list of the times I was beaten... when he used a heavy flashlight, when he crammed my head between the furniture, when he duct taped my hands together and my mouth shut and I tried not to cry because I was sure I’d suffocate if I did, when he kicked my shins so hard I couldn’t stand up, when I ran through the cactus in flip flops because it was less painful than what I was running away from.

But I too sometimes forget that there are other ways to be physically hurt without being hit.

The list of times he drove recklessly down the road while I screamed and cried in terror would be almost as many pages.  A vehicle is a dangerous place to be alone with an abuser, because when they’re behind the wheel you are completely at their mercy.  And in easy reach for a backhand slap or pinch, and unable to leave when the verbal abuse starts.

I don’t drink much hard liquor anymore, as I have too many bad memories of having a bottle of rum or whisky forced in my mouth and being made to chug until I was dizzy.  For a short while, he also forced me to take excessive amounts of Benadryl.  There was no logical reason for any of this; it was all just a way to control and hurt me.

He was obsessive about healthy eating, but often not in a healthy way.  I was forced to follow whatever food obsession he was currently on. It was his under his orders that I became vegetarian (but I actually like it - but not for his reasons - so I still am a vegetarian).  For a while we subsisted largely on canned peas and corn, straight up (I still have a hard time eating these now).  He would decide the portion size too, and it didn’t matter whether it was too much or too little for my appetite, I was expected to eat it all and not complain.

And I was never allowed to get medical assistance when I was hurt, or even annual checkups.  He would not chance me being alone with someone that could recognize abuse and report him.

How to get help

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, contact your local shelter or the National Domestic Violence Hotline (visit their page here).  Support for survivors is also available.