Friday, February 26, 2010

Maggie in Training


I have been horse crazy since I was a child.  My earliest memories are of desires to be with horses.  Summer trips to my Uncle Bill's farm near the Peace Gardens in North Dakota were filled with days on a big black mare's back.  I was in the woods, in the fields, anywhere I could be on horseback.  I was 7 years old.  I dreamed of having my own horse, and wished for it every time I saw the first evening star.  I rode a broomstick horse and in my mind, it was a galloping palomino, just like Roy Rogers.  Later, I inherited a bike from my brother, and it became my horse - galloping down the street - my hair and the mane of my imaginary horse blowing in the wind.  I spent all my allowance and all my time on gathering and playing with little horse statues.  All of the named - all of them with personalities.

Years later, when I was 12, I got my first horse.  My Uncle Bill helped me find her, and when my father and I went to pick her up, she was a scraggly little yellow horse, scrounging for feed all by herself in a field.  I named her Shawnee and during the next five years, we grew up together riding the fields of the Peace Gardens.  I spent long days on her back - riding alone or with friends.  I learned to ride bareback and it was heaven to me.  My father Harvey and I talked about what it would be like to ride the Grand Canyon.

From those days to these, I have never stopped imagining what it would be like to ride long distance.

I have since owned and ridden many other horses, many miles.  I've learned to pack with sawbucks, and have spent many nights alone in beautiful national forest settings - riding in after dark at times, trusting my horses and their superior night vision.  I've helped hunters carry in their camps and haul out their elk meat. I've guided tourists on trails, and taken many beginners for their first rides.

But still, in the back of my mind, I never stopped imagining what it would be like to ride long distance.

I took dressage lessons and learned to jump.  I taught my horses to drive and pull carriages and carts. I've been in parades and carried flags.

But always, my big dream was to ride long distance.  To ride away with only what I could carry with me.  To live simply in the open.  To meet people and experience cultures along the way.  But most especially, to live with my horses day in and day out.  This has always been my dream.

So finally, the time has come.  My three sons are now on their own, living their dreams and taking care of themselves.  They make me proud.  It's time for me to finally follow my dreams and make them reality.

I have decided that I will ride from my home in Colorado to Buenos Aires, Argentina.  It's a rather arbitrary choice.  It's really all about living with my horses 24/7 and letting the wind blow us in the direction of the day. I want to head south, because I've spent time in Mexico, Central, and South America, and I love the culture, the people, and have always felt welcome there.  These places are horse oriented, and have a long history of horsemanship and horse culture.  I dream of who I will meet along the way and what adventures this lifestyle might bring.  One day, I would like to ride into Buenos Aires, having ridden the 10,000 miles it takes to get there.  I have set a departure date of 10/10/10, because it seems like a good date to leave.  An auspicious date.

I'm starting this blog because I want to keep my family, friends, sponsors, and interested parties up to date on my plans, preparations, and training rides.  Eventually, I'll be using this as a way to record my adventures along the way.  I'm not sure how often I'll be able to update when I'm riding, but I plan to keep a daily log of my travels and enter them here when I find an internet cafe or a way to access the internet along the way.

My real reason for doing this is simply because I wish to live a simple life with my horses on the road. It doesn't really matter where I go, except that I'm interested in adventure and exploring cultures that are different than mine.  I'm aware of the hazards I may encounter, and I will do my best to keep my horses, my dog, and myself, healthy and safe.  I believe that good people along the way will help me and teach me, and I dream of all the new friendships and experiences I will have along the way.

My greatest hope is that by living my dream, I will inspire others to live theirs.

You are invited to comment and to offer any input, reaction, advice, or suggestions you might have.  I don't know why I've always been so obsessed with horses.  Perhaps it's a genetic defect, but I can tell you it's always been part of who I am, and I am thrilled that I now will be able to live as a nomad on horseback.

It has always been my dream.

Welcome to my blog!  I hope you'll come back to visit often, and let me know you're out there....