In the early 1980s, twenty-three-year-old Melissa Priblo Chapman rode her horse Rainy 2,600 miles alone across America. She encountered rattlesnakes, thunderstorms and Great Plains busters, but she also encountered kind ranchers like the one who hooked her up with a pack mule. Almost forty years after her trip, Melissa wrote a book about her voyage called “Distant Skies”. I recently interviewed Melissa about her book and trip.
Melissa Priblo Chapman dreamt of “riding through some distant town on a trustworthy horse” in elementary school. It was the late 1970s. When she was 23, she saddled her horse Rainy, hauled her puppy Gypsy into the saddle with her and headed west to live her dream. This week, I interviewed Melissa about her new book “Distant Skies: An American Journey on Horseback”. Here is Part 1 of a two-part series of our conversation.
`Hot damn! This week, I received the manuscript of my new book “Trash to Triumph”. It’s about riding my mules Brick and Cracker from North Carolina to Idaho. This is a huge milestone as I’ve been working on this book for over 2 years.
I was taking a nap when I heard my wife Julia say, “honey, can you come here?” I walked into the kitchen and saw Julia looking at the cookstove. Our cookstove is a two-burner camp stove hooked to a twenty-pound propane tank. It’s black and greasy. I didn’t see anything. Then I saw the black snake next to the pot we boil our coffee in.
The bottom of the snake’s head was white and so… Continue reading
Twenty years ago, I owned a mule named Woody. Woody was cantankerous. I wanted to ride him across North Carolina – and maybe a whole lot farther. Too bad nobody could tell me how to ride a mule 300 miles. This is the post I wish I’d read all those years ago.
It was about this time of year, a few years ago, that a TV crew for UNC-TV followed mule Polly and me on a wagon ramble through eastern North Carolina.
Director Morgan Potts and his film crew followed me from Oriental, North Carolina to Hobucken and Aurora and back to Oriental. They dropped in from time to film me as I visited with folks… Continue reading
A guy I’ll call Harold wrote me recently. He said (and I’m paraphrasing), “I’m seventy-one years old. I’ve always wanted to take a long saddle trip like yours. Am I too old to go?” This reminded me of a quote by Saul Bellow. “When someone asks for advice, they’re looking for an accomplice.” It also reminded me of my dad, Art Harberts.
How do you adjust a pair of new hoof boots?
In today’s post, I’ll show you how I’m adjusting a pair of hoof boots to fit my wife’s pony Pie. To get you up to speed, here are the first two parts in this three part series.Continue reading
A while back my wife Julia and I pulled the steel horseshoes on her pony Pie’s front feet. I thought you’d be interested how we’re transitioning her (Pie, not Julia) to bare feet. From here on out, she’ll go barefoot. For extra protection Pie might need on rocky trails or abrasive surfaces like asphalt, we’ll slap on a pair of hoof boots.
When my mules Brick and Cracker and I set out on our latest journey from North Carolina to Idaho, we did so with minimal planning. We had no chase crew, sponsor or person lining up places for us to stay. We just went.