As you might imagine, having been on the road for as long as we have means that Apollo and I have met a lot of people. And we could not have gotten as far as we have so far without the help of those of us who have hosted us for a night (or sometimes longer).
I depend on these hosting helpers for a safe place to sleep, and for Apollo to also rest, eat, and get ready for the next day. Since Apollo and I only go about 10 to 15 miles most days, that’s a lot of stops needed around the country! So far, we’ve never been without a place to stay, and have only been in one campground - the rest of the nights have been at a private home, boarding stable, fairground, church, or equestrian center thanks to the help of whoever’s home or business it is.
It can be a challenge finding somewhere to stay, and the biggest help you can give us is to help me find one of these hosts (or be one yourself!). Apollo and I don’t require much... but if you think you can help or know someone who might, here’s the lowdown on how it works:
* All I really need is a fence. A full one - not just three sides of a square! Wood, metal, chain link, wire, plastic, electric horse fence (but not the nearly-invisible single hot wire kind, please), picket, pallets.... whatever. Stalls are okay too, as are arenas and round pens. Apollo is fine with them all, so long as he has room to turn around and lie down, but not wander off down the road. I cannot tie him overnight (I don’t carry the extra gear, since I have to pack minimal stuff), so a fence is a must.
It is okay if he shares a paddock or pasture with other species (goats, sheep, cows, llamas, alpacas, chickens, pigs, etc). However, to prevent injuries I prefer if he does not go in the same fenced area as other horses. It IS okay if he shares a fence line with other horses though, and in fact he will rest better if he can socialize over a fence. He’s okay being the only horse around, or even in a backyard!
* Apollo and I really appreciate it if he can get a good square meal or two (in the evening, and the next morning before I saddle up). For his nutritional needs on this ride, that means pasture and/or hay (grass of any kind, alfalfa, or mixed, or cubes). I don’t pack hay, it’s too heavy and bulky for the available pack space. If you have a fence but no lawn/pasture or hay, that’s okay! There are solutions I can work out with you, so please don’t think this means you can’t help host.
If you can help with grain/pelleted feed/ration balancer/sweet feed/other feed, too, that’s extra awesome (and if not, that’s ok too). Any type is fine, Apollo isn’t very picky. If you have several types available, we can discuss which one will work best for him when I get there.
* I also do not carry a suitable free-standing bucket for Apollo’s water or grain, so I will ask to borrow these if where he is staying for the night doesn’t already have any.
* I like to have somewhere secure from pets, wildlife, and weather to store my saddle and gear when possible.
* Apollo is current on his Coggins and vaccination, as well as regular deworming, and gets a vet exam and health certificates about once a month. If you’d like to see these, just ask.
* For my own sleeping arrangements, I can either set up my tent in your yard, roll out my sleeping bag in your barn, or I am always happy to accept accommodations on a couch or in a guest room or trailer (it saves me a lot of packing time in the morning so I can get back on the road faster if I don’t have to deal with my tent!). I also am okay with Apollo and I sleeping at different addresses if that’s how it works out best, so long as I can get back to feed and saddle him early enough the next morning. If it’s extra hot, cold, or wet out, I am especially grateful for indoor accommodations!
*I will need access to a toilet. A shower is nice but not mandatory (in which case, I will ask to borrow a towel, but carry everything else).
* I don’t expect you to feed me, but love if you do. I will eat just about anything (although I do not really care for ham, or radishes). Also, I do NOT have any food allergies. It’s difficult for me to eat a balanced meal, especially vegetables, along the road, so if you’re curious what I’d like to eat most, think plants.
*Occassionally I may ask for help with trailering a few miles, particularly if there’s a bad storm rolling in, a major heat wave, or other potentially dangerous weather, or if the only road to get to you is particularly treacherous. If you are aware of some local hazard or road condition that I may not know about, please share it and help me plan a safe way through or around if possible!
*At some stops, we may have extra needs. Every fourth stop, Apollo and I need to take two full days off to rest. Every three or so days I need to do laundry. Occassionally I may need a ride to town for supplies, to mail a letter or package, etc. WiFi access is always helpful, too.
* I do not expect you to act as my local tour guide, take time from your normal routine for me, or even be home when I get there. I do NOT typically like to “preview” my next day’s route by driving it ahead of time, unless there’s a particularly unsafe area you think I should see, because that takes some of the fun out of riding it. If you’d like to show me around your town though, I always enjoy seeing the local sights.
* I also enjoy meeting people, so don’t feel hesitant to invite over any of your friends that want to meet me. It’s not often a horse traveler comes through town, so I totally understand!
* Since this is a domestic violence awareness ride, I do try to inform the local media of my ride everywhere I go. It’s a big job, though, so if you want to help by contacting your local newspaper, tv or radio station, great! You can give them my contact info or coordinate the whole thing for me - just please keep me informed if you do!
* I do NOT mind if you ask questions! Don’t feel like you’re bothering me by asking me “the same questions that everyone does” - if I’m staying with you, it’s your turn to ask, and my job to share! I actually love telling stories. But if you want to learn the basic FAQ’s before I arrive, here’s my blog post with the answers.
* If you need something from me, or expect something of me as a guest, please tell me! Everyone has different house/barn rules and expectations of their guests. Because I stay with so many people with so many different styles of hosting, I won't know what you expect unless you tell me. For example, while I try to be an ideal guest (not make messes, be helpful, etc) I may not offer to clean up after Apollo, pay for hay/grain, or remove my shoes at the door … but I am willing to do all of that and more! Please don't think I am rude if I neglect to ask - just tell me what you need of me and I will do my best to comply.
* Most importantly, I will nearly always need help finding more places to stay, so get out your thinking cap and address book, and share with your online friends too! The sooner in advance I can plan my scheduled stops, the happier I am, so please don’t wait until I get there to start calling everyone you know!
Interested in hosting us? You’ll find my contact information by clicking here.
Have you already hosted Apollo and I? Leave a comment below so everyone else can read what it was like to be our host!