Apache is a 13-year-old Appaloosa who has been in our family for five years. He was not trained to ride when we bought him. However, he is now a fantastic trail horse who willingly tackles any obstacle or terrain. He is Jeannette’s buddy and the leader of the herd. Apache has a gentle, friendly and confident demeanor with a small streak of feistiness. He is so trusting that we can use him as a couch while he is laying down, a very unusual trait in a horse. Despite challenging health issues, Apache overcame them and faithfully walked every step of the Ride Across America during 2010-11.
Satchmo is a curious 7-year-old Half Draft who is the baby and the powerhouse of the group, and his unique color changes with each season. His lack of maturity often gets him into mischief. His history before we got him is unclear. His tendency is to be shy and flighty, but his confidence improved dramatically on the coast to coast ride and he is now often the most brave approaching unfamiliar obstacles. He has been Richard’s “little boy” for five years and the two of them have grown tremendously together. Satchmo has taught Richard to be more gentle and Richard has encouraged Satchmo to be more brave. Satchmo walked the nearly 4,0o0 miles across America during 2010-11.
Tiska is an Icelandic mare and is the most affectionate of the group. Even though she is the smallest, she is not the weakest, as Icelandics can carry one third of their body weight. She is gated and walks very fast. Tiska is 15 years old, energetic, feisty at times, but very lovable. She also has an unusual trait as she can often be seen grooming Richard like a horse as he pets her neck. Tiska is our packhorse as well as Jeannette’s alternate riding horse. She is also known as our “miracle pony” as she survived a traumatic fall off a cliff during the Ride Across America, but was then able to continue and walked from California to Virginia.
Fiddle is the steadiest of the group. In her 19 years of being a pack mule, she has seen many situations and a variety of country. The thousands of miles she has walked and her steady demeanor makes her a valuable member of our herd. As a Belgian Mule she has an extended working life span, which is longer than a horse. Fiddle loves her ears rubbed and other affection, is willing, and can be counted on in scary situations. She is primarily a pack mule, but has also Richard’s alternate mount since joining our family in 2009. Fiddle walked every step of the Ride Across America from Pacific Ocean to Atlantic Ocean.
Chance was a special gift. He was given to us in western Colorado during the Ride Across America. Adding Chance to the herd allowed all of the horses to take turns getting breaks from carrying anything during the coast to coast ride. Chance is well trained as a working cow horse and is a fantastic pack horse as well. He has a very sweet but tender personality and is a real trooper. He gave his whole heart keeping up with the others who were in top shape while he had just come out of a pasture. Chance has assimilated into the herd and walked all the way from Colorado to Virginia Beach.
Bella is NOT a horse… but don’t tell her that! She was a 2 year old stray in Kansas who chose to follow us on the Ride Across America. After 3 days, she weaseled her way into our hearts, received a name and collar, and she has been part of the herd and family ever since. She was often seen eating grain and grass with the horses or playing with them in a field. Bella is able to ride, but her 55 pound size made it difficult so she happily walked from Kansas to the Atlantic. Bella made thousands of canine and human friends alike and thinks the entire United States is her playground and personal fan club. (Wait- she might be right!) Now that she finished the Ride Across America, Bella has a non-tent home to go with her chosen family and is becoming friends with her cat brother, Nacho, who was waiting at home for our return. We affectionately call Bella our “gift from God” as she has brought us amusement and great joy.