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.

So long, California!

Last week Apollo and I bid farewell to the first of our 48 states.

Having started in Penn Valley, we rode out to the coast at Mendocino and then north to the Oregon border at Brookings, a distance of about 540 miles.

Prior to this ride, I had seen a lot of California but not much of the North Coast.  Plus, traveling by horse is such a unique perspective that even towns I had been to before seemed all new to me.  California really is a magical state.  Where else can you find mountains, deserts, ski resorts, beaches, pristine forests and urban convenience all so close together?  I'm not sure what my favorite part of the California route was, because there was so much beauty.

The transition from day 1 to the Oregon border has been tremendous.  Apollo is stronger and more confident, having confronted just about everything you can imagine from paper bags to semi-trucks.  Although he was a fairly brave horse at the beginning, he had so many new things to learn about and fears to overcome, and is on his way to being a Super Horse.  Actually, he's already one, but I'm sure he'll get even better from here.

I also have become stronger and more confident.  Six hours on foot and in the saddle day after day are no longer daunting.  Apollo's packs no longer feel heavy to me when  heft them over my head onto his back.  I feel secure in my balance when he makes an unexpected movement while I'm riding.  And I can eat donuts any time I crave them, guilt free.

The best part of the ride (even before donuts), and the most surprising, has been the helpfulness of strangers.  Every day I have found someone who was willing to open their doors to me and their barn to Apollo, often going above and beyond offering shelter by also feeding us, helping with laundry, driving me around when I needed new supplies, hauling us around unsafe roads, checking on us during the ride, calling everyone they know (and some they don't) to plan ahead for stops... the list goes on.  I've started calling this the Ride of 1,000 Horse Moms because I feel like I'm getting a new one each day!

Day 1 - misplaced bells and packs that slipped, and just happy we made it to the first stop!

 We've had more rain than sun, and every day brings challenges of flooding and other road closures that even horses can't safely get through.

 After walking with Apollo for a week, it was finally time to ride!  The first week of leading him was excellent road training, where I used "groundwork" lessons he was used to doing to introduce him to and calm him during all the exciting things he was experiencing.

 Apollo likes meeting new friends each day too!  Here's his mini friend Rain...

 ... and his silly friend Laker.

 I had not found an opportunity to teach Apollo that it's safe to walk in water (a common fear for horses), so he got his first water crossing experience in Lake County.

 The Redwood Coast is gorgeous in every kind of weather!
Apollo had never been to the beach before this moment at Caspar Beach. 

 In the mountains above Ukiah.   I've seen so many breathtaking landscapes and sights already, and it's only the first state!

Everyone wants to meet Apollo, and he loves all his new fans.  He is sure that everyone needs a horse kiss and knows that it's every human's job to scratch his forehead.

On the road in Humboldt County.  Apollo is no longer afraid of most vehicles, and is always eager to walk on along.

1 comment:

  1. Reading from front to back :-) You are riding my dream! Ride On!


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