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Highlight: Generous Donations

I would imagine that on most any grand adventure, there are many people behind the scenes helping to make it all happen. This is indeed true for us. We have spent much time blogging about all the wonderful people we have met along the way- those who have taken us into their homes, given us equipment, food, encouragement, etc. etc. Because this stop has been so long, it has only been made possible by some very special people. We already introduced the Browns and Bashams who have hosted us. But there are some very special business people in the area, as well as around the country, who have been instrumental in helping us and the horses heal, recuperate, and prepare for the last leg of this trip.

For the entire length of this rest in McQuady, KY, we have been given chiropractic adjustments three times a week by Dr. Kent Ruskowski who owns Kent’s Chiropractic Center in Hardinsburg, KY. Richard and I really believe in chiropractic care from personal experience and we know how to spot a good one. If you live even remotely close to Hardinsburg, we highly recommend Kent- he is a very gifted chiropractor, highly educated, passionate about his practice, and genuinely cares about each individual that walks through his door- a rare find indeed. He has blessed us tremendously. We finally feel like we can stand up straight again and even my tailbone is no longer bothering me!

Our horses have received as much care as us! All five of them have had a chiropractic adjustment donated by Gary Fluhr who owns Equine Dentistry and Chiropractic. Gary also checked all of their teeth and floated Apache’s so that he is eating and putting on weight much better now.

Additionally, all five horses were given a 1 hour massage!!! Yep, you read right! Cindy Frusha of Helping Hands Equine Massage has some very strong fingers! She donated 5 hours of her time and a whole lot of elbow grease to work all the kinks out of our ponies! One thing we were very pleased to hear- Cindy said that they were all in surprisingly good condition for all the miles we have done and we must have been trying very hard to take care of them. That was a real encouragement to hear because boy- have we been trying! At least a professional has confirmed that our effort has made a difference. :)

A very special and highly important donation was given by Len Brown who owns the patent on “the Corrector.” This hard plastic layer that is put on a horse’s back under a saddle pad is an amazing technology that distributes pressure points evenly, thus minimizing the risk of sore spots due to ill fitting saddles. I’ll share more about this at a later time as I get a feel for using them. Len donated 2 additional, very valuable, corrector set-ups after receiving payment for only one. We are very thankful for his generosity. I must also mention that Len is a member of the Long Rider’s Guild and he, as well as Howard and Cuchullaine of the Long Riders Guild, all spent lengthy phone conversations and emails with me giving advice on how to avoid further problems like we have been having. There is simply no price tag on advice from someone who has ‘been there,’ so to all of them we again say a special Thank You!

If you look way, way, way back in the blogs, you will see a mention of Sharp Saddlery in Eureka, Nevada. The wonderful couple that owns this reputable, knowledgeable, and well made custom saddles has been a big supporter of Hearts Up Ranch and this ride since the moment we met them back in Nevada. While we were there, they donated a quick fix of Richard’s broken chaps. During this rest in Kentucky, I had been researching ideas for a present for Richard’s birthday. After several phone calls with no success, God brought to mind our old friends from Nevada, the Sharps. I gave them a call asking about a new pair of chinks. (Leather leg protectors much lighter weight than chaps) We talked for a while, and they even gave me a very unique idea through their personal experience on jerry-rigging a saddle that is too wide to fit more narrow. After secretly measuring Richard’s chaps and talking to them, I officially had a present on the way. Only what I didn’t expect was to open the box to find TWO pairs of chinks- one for Richard and one for me! They refused payment for either pair. Thank you to our friends at Sharp Saddlery for that thoughtful gift and special birthday present! :)

 I thought it would be important to mention Wild Rose Equestrian Center again. While many private families and individuals have hosted us along our way, very few equine businesses have. Not for lack of desire but more for lack of being on our route. Wild Rose essentially donated horse board for all 5 of our horses for 3 weeks. This was certainly a generous offer and of course much needed for our horses!

Who needs a little girl time? I do! Johnna DeHaven from Jme and Co. Solon took care of that for me. We met her at a Hibachi Grill in Elizabethtown and she offered to do my hair.  It was an unexpected and very enjoyable pampering experience- not to mention a very talented result!

Last but not least, I thought I’d give a mention to Custom Pack Rigging out of Canada who gave us a discount on our new adjustable pack saddle trees in honor of being Long Riders. We hope that they will make a big difference to our pack horses’ comfort.

Each and every one of these people mentioned have GREATLY blessed us and helped us get the maximum benefit out of being stopped for so long. We are so thankful for the support we have received. Please also take a moment, if you haven’t lately, to check out the supporters page of the Hearts Up Ranch website. There are many businesses listed who have donated services and products along our journey. I have tried to list the town or area and state they are in so that if you live nearby, you might be able to support these businesses who have proven that they operate with a generous heart and caring spirit.


  1. glad to see you are still up and riding. It has been a long hard but I am sure rewarding trip. Take care. Love, Karen

  2. I heard about your story through Klove. It caught my attention because of my story. My husband and I and five children along with a few other families moved to Colorado with a similar vision….to minister to hurting hearts through horses and a retreat center. We have the desire and skills but
    we are without a place. So when I heard your story about how you are getting your message out there I was inspired to find out more about Hearts Up Ranch. Wow! I can only image the character and strength God is developing in you! What an act of faith! I can relate to having to depend on God for a place to stay and He is faithful to provide for what we need. I am praying God will bountifully bless your efforts to follow Him!

    Keep Hope alive!

  3. We are so thankful to hear that you are getting some deserved pampering!!! =D We love you guys so much! We are praying for you and for your horses! We also pray that we will see you again very very very soon! Love you guys soooo much!

    The Sharp Family
    Humboldt, KS

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