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They carried grain for the horses but no hay, depending on forage and the homes they would visit along the way for needed roughage. Buckets were out because they were too bulky, so they carried a nosebag for each horse. Each horse carried approximately 200 pounds, including their rider. Since David was the lightest, he had to carry the most. “The snake bite kit and wire cutters were the only things we took but never used,” Brian adds with a laugh.


The three left their home in White’s Ferry, Maryland on Mother’s Day, riding up the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal tow path, a national park that extends 184 miles from suburban Washington D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland. As they left, Brian recounts, their father told them he would pick them up in a few days. He assumed the trio would not actually go further then the end of the tow path. Instead, they took three days to cover their portion

of the path (they started midway, as their town actually bordered the canal) and kept riding. They planned to ride 30 miles a day and expected that would take about eight hours each day. “In many ways it wasn’t really riding,” Sally says. “It was simply slogging along on a horse, at the walk and with all your gear.” Their longest day would prove to be 52 miles. Every ten days or so, Sally explains, they hoped to stay

with friends or friends of friends, allowing them and their horses a few days break. Sometimes, she says, if they didn’t know anyone in the area, they simply knocked on doors and asked for help. As they went, they became a news story. Local

newspaper and TV reporters would interview them; the further they traveled, the bigger their story became. Today, Sally says she is working on a book about their experiences, one she hopes to publish soon. The first break was in West Virginia, at the well-known

equestrian center Meredith Manor. It was well deserved, Sally says, because for the first ten days of the trip, the rain simply never let up. They rode through

Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Mississippi, Nebraska, Wyoming and Oregon. “Nebraska goes on forever,” Sally says with a laugh. Brian agrees, sayings “it’s a whole different perspective of space and time. He adds

54 November/December 2009

that once they crossed the Mississippi, he was amazed by the sheer size and scope of the country through which they travelled.” They rode on back roads whenever

possible. Sally says she quickly gave up her planned route and instead depended on local advice for the best roads to

travel. They chose to cross directly over the Continental Divide in Wyoming rather than following the roads and were lucky to

have clear weather for the trip over the mountains. When they didn’t have a place to stay, they slept out in the open, staying at national parks, historic sites and roadside rest areas. Sally says the horses soon became used to being tied to trees or fence posts for the night. There were lots of challenges along the way. Only one

of their original horses completed the trip for example. David carried the oats for the horses in a duffle bag draped in front of his saddle and his horse developed sore and ultimately infected withers. In Nebraska, a friend of USDF founder Lowell Boomer offered help – rest for a week and a little Quarter Horse for David to ride the rest of the way. Ralph stayed on in Nebraska, to be eventually returned to Maryland, and David was able to continue the trip. Sally’s horse bruised his back entering a low doorway

in a cattle barn at one of the ranches at which they stayed. When it became clear midway through a day’s ride that he was too sore to continue, she sent the boys back to their last stop to see if someone with a truck and trailer would help them. As she waited, a local reporter stopped by and offered assistance, saying the local teacher had several horses. Ultimately, he lent Sally a young chestnut mare. The only problem, she says, was that the mare had been primarily used for pack trips and was only green broke. “On that first day, she wouldn’t cross the railroad tracks we encountered. Ultimately I had to back her over,” she recounts. “But horses will naturally follow other horses, so she learned quickly. I was told later that when she returned to her owner, she was the best broke horse on the farm!” Dealing with two young boys on such a physically demanding trip was also a challenge, she continues. “I told them from the start that this was my adventure and they could go home any time they wanted. I would simply put them on a bus back to Maryland. David gave up twice, but changed his mind once he’d had a rest and a good meal. In the end, we all realized we could get through the hard times and we got caught up in the spirit of the adventure!” “Now I wonder how the hell we did it,” she continues.

Top: Brian is active in the show scene as an announcer, shown here at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Left: David is an active eventing trainer, competitor, gold medalist and President of the USEF. Right: In Virginia, Sally continues to ride, train, judge and write. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77
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