5000 miles of hope

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Kentucky Hillbillies


We started off our Kentucky adventures at the very east part of the Bluegrass State in Louisa. I had met an endurance rider online a few months previous. Amy Wallace Whelan had offered to have me at her place. You can check out Wallace Hill Farm on FB. As we were approaching the 1000 mile mark it would be perfect for resting up. I had stuff ordered for delivery there, including a sweet saddle that unfortunately didn’t fit. In between hanging out with the awesome Wallace family for a few days, I tried on saddles to replace my first one. I finally found one that fit and wrote a blog post about its resurrection here. https://5000milesofhope.org/orthoflex-eli-miller-custom-travel-saddle/ Finally, after the warmest and sunniest late fall weather ever, I took off west. And entered Kentucky Hillbilly Country… I stayed across the street from Ralphs Country Store in Martha, at John Packs in Logville, then made our way towards Daniel Boone Forest. I stayed at a rooster fighting farm, then had coffee and biscuits in Hazel Green before getting 2 interviews while riding. I ended up at Wild Robbie Spencers up in Pine Ridge and had safety meetings for 2 days. Then I made it across to Stanton and Van Bert Farms, home of the Rocky Mountain gaited horse. Then on to the Irvine fairgrounds on the west side of Daniel Boone. Then on westwards, towards Eli Miller the Amish Saddle Maker in Barnett Creek. https://5000milesofhope.org/eli-miller-custom-saddles/ Along the way I finally got my shine on. I rode far that day and made it into Berea to Whistle Stop Stables then took a snow day off. Next we made it to the Millers, an Amish family in Preachersville and talked farming. Then I made it to Harold Scott the pig farmers place just west of Yosemite. I visited Eli Miller the saddle maker that night to go over what I wanted on my saddle and by golly the next day he did it. The next day I set out towards Columbia and made it to the big dairy farmers’ place. That night I got food poisoning and had some adventures of the worst kind. The next day the dairy farmer made a LARGE contribution to me and MP, without knowing about my accidents the night before. I trudged along and made it to Vernon Family Tack where I took a sick day off and they made me some awesome biothane reins and stirrup leather… Another 72 miles and I would be in Alvaton for another rest. We pounded it out to Donnys’ in Randolph, whose father had 4 fine mules. Then we went 26 miles west the next day to the Yoders, their Amish farriers where we talked horses and farming. I made the last push and made it Barbara Whites where I am writing this. I had more orders of stuff to be delivered here including Easyboots amd Hoof Armor. I discussed getting a custom supplement made specifically for Roxy while on the road. I will be ordering that on Wednesday. I finally got a data and phone plan for my cell so I can upload more stuff online on a regular basis. I went to get a haircut and did all kinds of civilized things after living like a barn cat for a week. And I drank a machiato. Barbara has an awesome place very private and secluded, just outside of Alvaton. She does the airbnb thing on one of her buildings. It’s beautiful and she is a great host. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4622058?&s=23&ref_device_id=f3dbc9cc2c17ba9ecab7813d7f72196930636200&user_id=23939659&_branch_match_id=466404824560965670 We rode 300 miles across Kentucky in 18 days, and 13 days of riding. That’s 23 miles per day on a 14 hand horse loaded with 250 lbs of gear and human. Now when am I going to have to write a story about the hero of this trip, Roxy?!? As I traveled across the state I marvelled at the lush green grass and the friendliness of the people. I was also confounded by the accents and people yelling things at me from their doors or cars, none of which I understood! I drank moonshine, I learned about the famous gaited horses, and I had fantastic biscuits. I even tried a locally famous ginger beer called Ale8, which truthfully was meant to have moonshine in it. I spent whole days going thru neighborhoods where the dogs just roamed. And I got used to the worst exhaust systems of the trip so far. I did not however like the absolute absence of shoulders on any of your roads. Kentucky may be friendly to horses in the pasture and on the trails, but the roads are dangerous for horse travel. As I get ready to go southwest towards Memphis, there’s still lush green grass on the sides of the road, so I guess I didn’t leave on my trip too late after all… Here’s to Tennessee. And thank you Kentucky for being your weird and beautiful self.

Kentucky Hillbillies

2 thoughts on “Kentucky Hillbillies

  1. Glad you got to experience Kentucky, from one end to the other!!! Hope that the rest of your journey is a safe and fun one! Maybe we will see you in Guatamala sometime!!!

    1. You were my introduction to Kentucky and you introduced me to my host Barbara at the other end. I thank both of you from the bottom of my heart. On top of being great horse people, you are both far too generous.
      Maybe we will see you in Guate, check out unicornio azul! They have a bed and breakfast ranch and do extended horse tours in the high mountains ~10000 feet elevation. I expect to pass there place next November, after the horse races in Todos Santos at the end of October…

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