Some of you may recall last fall when I posted here on my blog that I had engaged the help of a horse trainer, Colleen Hamer, when my herd was not loading easily in my new horse trailer. (See Trailer Loading 101). The new trailer had a ramp, which was new to my horses and almost all of them showed some resistance. Having helped me with trailer loading in the past and trained a colt for me, I had a lot of confidence that Colleen could work the horses through this new issue. And she did.
Colleen has started her own quest this year. Perhaps one many of you have on your bucket list. She is doing a “long ride”. As defined by the Long Riders Guild, a Long Rider is “men and women of all nations who have ridden more than 1,000 continuous miles on a single equestrian journey.” Colleen’s journey started late this spring and will most likely take her into the early months of fall to complete. Her goal is to ride around the state of Nebraska, crossing the state line at each bordering state, reaching her 1,000 mile goal.
Photo by Brenda Wortman of Turkey Creek Ranch & posted on Facebook
Her trip has not been without challenge. From enduring flooding, thunderstorms and heatwaves to soreness issues and weightloss with her horse, Smore. She has patiently and methodically worked out these problems and has continued on her way. I am an avid trail rider, but this type of ride would not make my bucket list. It takes a lot of guts and grit and strength; physically and spiritually that I would venture to say most of us would not want to entertain. Certainly not me! I lack in the g & g & s department and I like the comforts of my horse trailer too much! Colleen has endured. She has had to rely on her own willpower and the kindness of strangers, which can be frustrating but also very rewarding when it all comes together.
Photo by Twyla Gallino and posted on Facebook
Colleen has traveled over 600 miles. From eastern Nebraska, across the river to South Dakota and back and then across our wide state of Nebraska. She is real close to crossing into Wyoming; should be a matter of days. Colleen records her journey on her Facebook page, Nebraska Long Rider, and has almost 250 “friends” following her trails. We all look forward to the next update like we would another chapter of a page-turning book.
Reading some of the comments from people who post on her Facebook page, although very supportive of Colleen’s endeavor, does remind me that not all horse people travel with their horses or non-horse people understand how difficult it can be traveling on horseback. Being that I have been active in our Nebraska Horse Trails Committee and an advocate of horse trails, I plan to talk about this in a later blog post. It is important that riders know it is not as easy as simply riding on this land and at times, our privileges are sometimes hanging by a thread. Colleen has unfortunately met some of these road blocks and I hope I can explain to others why this happens and what we can do to preserve our privilege of riding in these fine places.
In the meantime, I wish Colleen, Smore and her dog, Risky, Godspeed in their travels. May the road rise up to meet her on this Long Ride.