I've attached an article, which Allen had submitted to the Long Rider's Association, which makes interesting reading:
'Tuesday, the 29th I dropped Bob Jones and his two quarter horses, Cody and Tiger at the Canadian border in North Dakota. He began his ride to Mexico on Thursday. The long period of dreaming, planning and preparation finally became reality.
When Bob originally contacted me, wanting me to put two horses together for him, I had some reservations. He was very open about his lack of riding experience. After some email communication with Bob I agreed to take on the challenge.
My first inclination was to pick up a couple of good old solid dude horses for Bob. Such horses have usually seen it all and have few arguments with their riders, primarily because they have learned that their riders know little, so they don't pay any attention to them and go ahead and keep them safe regardless of rider commands.
But, I just couldn't do it. It just seemed too miserable a fate to have to kick up a dude horse from Canada to Mexico. I felt, for the journey to be the experience Bob was seeking, he had to have good horses. I explained that this put a lot of responsibility on him and he would have to make the choice between bringing himself up to the level of good horses or go for the dude horses. Bob chose the challenge of being horseback.
Finding the right horses was even more difficult than I anticipated. There are many horses for sale out there but few good ones. People keep the good ones, especially good gentle ones. I put out the word that I was in the market for two horses, five to twelve, that were experienced to ride and pack, totally sound of body and mind, of similar size around 15.1, and would work for an inexperienced rider from England to make a Canada to Mexico ride. The phone didn't ring off the wall. Nearly all who did call had the normal stories of horses that would be really good horses if someone just put the time into them. My reply was always the same, nearly all horses would be good if someone just put in the time to make them so. Show me a good horse and I will show you a horse that has been used a lot.
Anyway, after burning the tires off my truck looking at prospects I ended up with Cody and Tiger; nine and seven year old registered quarter horses. They are almost identical in size 15.1 and 1150 pounds. Cody has spent the last four years as a guide horse in hunting and summer camp and Tiger has been an all around ranch horse and recently worked fighting forest fires.
Cody is dominant physically and Tiger mentally. They are a good team and they bonded well. I put a lot of miles on them, smoothing them out before Bob arrived and was very pleased with them. I would have been proud to put my brand on both; but they are real horses and require proper ridding. I was looking forward to seeing how they made the transformation from me to Bob.
When Bob arrived I saw that he hadn't exaggerated his inexperience. I saddled up one of my horses and set out with Bob for his introduction to his new travel companions, the first horses he has ever owned. There is a tendency that some good horses have, where they adjust themselves up and down to the rider on their back. Although I had hoped for this, I knew it was a lot to hope for; so I was more than pleased when both Cody and Tiger brought themselves down a couple of levels and from day one took good care of Bob. To his credit, Bob is patient, gentle and shows good confidence. Best of all he was open about his inexperience and followed my advice to not pick any fights he couldn't win. I watched then get better by the day, riding the rough country around my ranch as well as the frontage roads since much of Bob's ride will be along roads.
So, as I pulled away and saw Cody, Tiger and Bob disappear in the rear view mirror I felt confident that my three friends were in for a great adventure.'
Bob had another good day's riding, a fairly short distance of 11.3 miles and arrived at his next host's home in Grenora, to be greeted by Scott Keffler and his family. Needless to say he was warmly welcomed, and my thanks again to the Kefflers for their hospitality.
I'm now doing a bit of catch up as I've been away for the weekend, and couldn't update the blog.
On 2 August, Bob set off on his longest ride yet, in temperatures exceeding 100degrees, a distance of 20 miles. Because of the heat, frequent stops were needed to water the horses and rest them, and in the late afternoon he arrived at the home of Mark and Charise Smith and their four children at Zahl. He's feeling quite stiff and sore, but will no doubt toughen up as the journey progresses. When I arrived home today I was thrilled to see that Charise had e-mailed me to say that Bob had ridden off safetly this morning, and she sent me a load of photos, several of which are below, showing Bob with the Smith family. It looks as though the kids are enjoying themselves !
Charise told me that they had thunderstorms last night , but today is clear and sunny again. So hopefully, a good's ride and I will be back on the blog site soon with updates. Many thanks to Charise , Mark and kids. What a fantastic family.
Ride 'em cowboy !