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Best of America by Horseback 9 - Taking Us All in a New Direction

July 13, 2009
Best of America by Horseback
Mike Shaw

We have traveled 1,100 miles since the beginning of the Mexico to Canada Trail Ride, which began on April 21. We are now well over halfway to our destination of Estaven, Saskatchewan, Canada.

We are blessed to be able to travel through some of the most beautiful places in America and welcome the privilege to meet the best people of America. The Mexico to Canada Trail Ride is the “Grandaddy of all Trail Rides," says Tom Seay, the host and executive producer of the Best of America by Horseback TV show. Tom is also the trailmaster for the Mexico to Canada ride.

The official kickoff was in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on April 21, 2009. The ride plans to arrive in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada, around September 1, 2009. The total mileage is estimated at 1,800 miles

Here are some quotes gathered from current riders.

Freda Jackson, Core Rider, Medical Administrative Associate from White Post, Virginia

I’m not the person I thought I was when I left Virginia. And I’m not sure who I will be when I return in September. I’m not sure the direction of my life. I’m not sure where I will be. I have traveled all over the world, and no other experience has affected me the way this ride has! Now I am seeing more possibilities for my future. I have found riding partners in my fellow Core Riders who are resilient and accomplished long distance horsemen. They have inspired and encouraged me to the point that I will continue to travel and trail ride my horse Ace beyond our Canadian destiny.

Bobby Horton, Core Rider, entrepreneur from Cleveland, Mississippi

When I departed Mississippi in April and headed to Las Cruces, New Mexico to rendezvous with the rest of the riders of BOABH, I really thought I was going to a large, difficult, six month trail ride. Upon my arrival, I began meeting the rest of the riders. It took a few days to learn the names and states that they were all from. When we started riding across the hot sands and the trail of death, I quickly realized that we were in for more than a trail ride. This was going to be the trip of a lifetime! We all realized we were in for far more than we ever expected. The differences in the riders' backgrounds were obvious. At first, I thought the common denominator was our love of horses. I quickly realized we had for more in common than horses. The farther we ride into this trip, the more I appreciate the adventurous spirit of each individual. I feel that we have developed a great kinship and it is something that we will not quickly lose once this adventure ends We are now over the halfway point and we can only look forward to better and greater times down the trail. Canada will bring various emotions to each of us. Fulfillment of a dream and achievement will certainly be high on the list. But the camaraderie and wonderful friendships we have made will always be with us as well.

Nancy Jewell, Core Rider, Retired USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service

I have always been on the move! My mother used to go at a constant trot! And though I am a quiet person, I have learned that I love to be around folks that talk a lot. I think this journey was about the “empty nest syndrome” for me: my children are now gone and my mother passed. The real release for me was when my daughter married, and I no longer felt that she needed me. She no longer needed me and neither did my mom. When I came on this trip I had no expectations. I wanted to have no responsibility for anything. Other rides that I have been on I have been in charge of getting the food, the tent, and cooking equipment. This time, I am totally enjoying the ride with only being responsible for myself and my horses. And it’s late, and I’m ready for bed, for tomorrow is a new day, a new beginning, a new ride to a new place. And I just don’t care where we go as long as we are heading north!

Mike Shaw, Core Rider, Railroad Conductor and Farrier from Indianapolis, Indiana

This group transcends the everyday people who saddle their horses and go down the same trail each day. We all became a tight-knit, cohesive family unit immediately. I think anybody that would sign up to ride a horse from border to border has to have a certain amount of inner strength and grit. And when you put forty people in the same direction with good leadership, the pieces just fall into place. I’m not glad that it was my horse that was bitten by a snake, but I am glad that it wasn’t a person. You only get so many defining moments in a lifetime, and I have had nothing short of an interesting, fun life. But here is a rare opportunity to share this defining moment with forty strangers who have become family members and best friends on what is possibly one of the last great adventures in America. This whole trip is a defining moment, I think. When I learned of this ride I read that there was only space for thirty core riders and I figured that they would sell out of spaces. I haven’t stopped grinning since I realized there was a place for me here.

Julie Dillon, Core Rider, Clinician and Staff Journalist from Goffstown, New Hampshire

None of us has ever been to this place called “across America.” But we are all thrilled to be on this journey of a lifetime and for the opportunity to lose ourselves and regain a better understanding of who we are. By leaving the everyday life most of us call home and entering this state of wandering across the open country where all of America becomes our home, we begin to understand that in our future and beyond Canada, there is the choice of a new direction, a different life we never thought possible. This precious time of self evaluation is a gift few individuals allow themselves to even consider. These two brave leaders, Tom and Pat Seay have brought us together, made it all possible, and they have given us all the greatest gift of freedom: to discover, to find and to become ourselves.

The Best of America by Horseback television series promotes tourism in the form of the fun, family-oriented activity of horseback trail riding. For detailed information about the Mexico to Canada Ride and Best of America by Horseback TV show, please visit our website at www.bestofamericabyhorseback.com and watch the show on RFD-TV.