Hello! It's been awhile since I've felt like I had a proper update for everyone. For one, Ryan and I had to settle back into our lives -- but instead of settling, we dove in. First and foremost, we eloped! Even after losing the engagement ring on the trail, he still agreed to marry me. What a guy! We eloped in true Reno style, opting for a wonderfully cheesy wedding chapel with a western theme. The next morning we headed out for a relaxing honeymoon on the California coast.
I should also add that all the animals have settled back into their lives as well. Sage is doing really great... he's currently getting pretty shaggy with winter approaching. He suffered no long-term affects the ride, though he's lost a bit of that fabulous muscle he built up! Not walking 20 miles a day will do that to a horse I suppose. Bella is good too -- back to being a couch potato.
I have been busy doing talks on the ride around the region. I've found that there are things about the ride that can appeal to a wide audience, whether they are horse people or not. More than 50 people came out to my talk at the Wilbur D. May Museum! We've also spoken at private events and make appearances at some public events like the Wild Horse Preservation League's annual fundraiser - where we had a booth and met many fans. I actually have events booked well into next year. Those events are listed on the homepage of the website.
I am so excited to talk to people about the ride, about wild horses, and about the Nevada Discovery Trail so please send me an email if you'd like to book a talk. Within reason, I'm pretty much willing to talk to any group in any venue! I have hundreds of photos and lots of stories. I think it's a great way to keep a dialogue going -- not so much about my ride -- but about wild horses...
Another really exciting development is that I was invited to be an associate member of the Long Riders' Guild! The LRG is an international organization for long riders, based in London. It's members are an amazing group of horseback explorers. It is an invitation-only group, and the main requirement is that the long ride is a minimum of 1,000 miles -- that's not cumulative, that's consecutive in one ride! Imagine my utter amazement when I received an email which read:
"Your journey was 450 miles long. As you know that is not enough to
be listed as a Member of the Long Riders' Guild. However, you rode nearly 500 miles, across a challenging desert, in a dignified and ethical manner during your journey. Moreover, you undertook to alert the public to a pressing need to assist horses in need.
That is why I am writing to invite you to be listed as an Associate Member of the Long Riders' Guild. We hardly ever offer this option, as we always urge people to try and pass that elusive 1000 mile mark. But in rare cases we offer Associate Membership - on two conditions. The person has ridden at least 500 miles and they hope to make
another, longer, journey at a longer date. I think you are close enough to the former and I feel confident
you will someday achieve the latter."
Obviously I am beyond honored! More so because the Long Riders' Guild was a major inspiration for the Nevada Discovery Ride. It was 2010 when I decided to plan the NDR. That was only after visiting the LRG website and reading about their amazing riders. I felt that 1,000 miles was far beyond my abilities, but I thought I might be able to accomplish a mini-long ride. That was when I started planning my 452 mile trek!
After four months at home, Ryan and I have often found ourselves daydreaming of the trail. So what's next? Receiving the invite from the LRG energized both of us. We had initially thought of the Nevada Discovery Ride was just a one-time adventure... but it doesn't have to be. Let's go for the elusive 1,000 mile mark! With that, I am excited to announce that we are in the early planning stages of the second Nevada Discovery Ride! And we're going bigger and better -- aiming for three months on the trail and 1,500 miles! Because we love the Silver State so much and this is ground-zero for wild horses, we're planning to do the ride entirely in Nevada once again.
There's much planning to do before we can hit the trail. It took three years to plan the first ride, so I'm giving us two years to plan this next one. We've been pouring over maps looking at trails... and right now we're investigating a loop from Reno to Caliente (outside Las Vegas) to Jarbidge (N. Nevada near the Idaho border) and back to Reno. (Ryan's calling it the Nevada Horseshoe Trail!) Of course, as we discovered the first time out -- trail plans evolve. So, stay tuned as we continue to plan this next adventure. I will continue to update here and through our Facebook page. I'm really excited to continue to advocate for wild horse adoption!
The latest updates from Samantha on the Nevada Discovery Ride.