The day after the rainstorm found us following some more quiet dirt roads that wound through cattle farms, hills, and trees. We had been trying out a new leather ‘bell boot’ that Justin had made to protect Fiddle’s hoof boot from wear and tear of her feet hitting. It worked great! Bella got stepped on for the third time today. The first two had been in the mud with no injuries- this time was by Satchmo on the pavement. Poor Satchmo tried so hard to contort himself so he wouldn’t hurt her, but she still let out a piercing yelp. There was a small cut, and she held her leg up pitifully, so we were quite concerned. But after a half hour, we were quite certain that she was just fine. She has, however, been much more respectful of the horses’ feet since then!
Towards the end of our day, we entered a new land of pine trees! Around a bend or two in the road and suddenly a Forest Service sign was visible that announced that we were entering Mark Twain National Forests- our first public land since Colorado! It was refreshing to be in the woods with pine trees. Bella had a blast running through the soft pine needle carpet.
Our hosts that night were super cool. Mindy and Chad were a young couple with two young boys, a ranch, a horse, and a heart to serve. We clicked with them right away and wished it was time for a rest stop so we could have more than one night to get to know them. Chad and the boys helped us unpack the horses, then we sat down to a Chinese dinner with the family. Chad took Richard to a Wednesday night Bible study at their church, while Mindy and I relaxed and I caught up on journaling.
A few of their friends came over later on, and one of them even thought to bring us jerky! Mindy dug into the deep dark depths of Chad’s closet where clothes live that never get worn and offered Richard a couple button down western shirts to replace the threadbare ones he’s been wearing.
In the morning, Mindy helped us groom the horses, and Chad offered to come out to the coast to pick us and our horses up if we aren’t able to come up with a 5 horse trailer. He meant it. They were just such a genuinely nice family that we hated to say goodbye to them so quickly! But we are on a role and covering miles, so we don’t want to break our momentum towards Delaware!