Saturday, March 9th Parker told us goodbye and departed with his friend JP. They flew to San Diego, California where they met up with the third member of their team Conner. We are all excited for them as well as worried about them completing the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail hike.
This backpack is all they will carry as they leave on the trail 750 miles north of the Mexico Border where their elevation will continue to rise. They will walk through the desert sun and mountain passes and have to find a way to stay warm as they sleep through cold nights.
Some of the things they carry in these backpacks are a lightweight sleeping bag and pad, a tent, rain gear, down jacket, trekking poles, a hat, sunglasses, rain gear, backpacking stove, a water filter, a headlamp, and base layer clothing. absolutely no cotton clothing.
They mailed boxes of supplies to themselves at various post offices along the way before they left. They will also stop in towns along the way for extra food. It is said that people along the tail are more than happy to help hikers get to towns. This is definitely a great adventure for the stout hearted!
Christian arrived home from an equestrian training internship in Houston, Texas as Parker departed for his Pacific Crest Trail hike. She is now training with Fox Ridge Farm in Folsom, Louisiana with trainer and owner T.J. Leblanc.
TJ and his daughter Katherine have been training Atlas for the last few months. These Westfalen horses were bred for competition and have a quiet temper. They are an elegant horse of good character. They are also prized for their trainability and good work ethic and expressive movement.
Christian has been having trouble finding the right trainer to develop these qualities in Atlas until she found TJ and Katherine at Fox Ridge Farm. Atlas has seem to lack a positive attitude and focus until TJ put a chicken in his stall and he responded almost instantly.
Horses are unique individuals that handle situations differently. While one horse may be calm as a cucumber and show no care in the world, another might have a high “flight” and response to the slightest thing. A horse that has had exposure to poultry won’t “have his feathers ruffled” by sudden movements and loud noises. A little exposure to flapping, squawking and scurrying can go a long way to desensitizing a horse to those types of events! Thanks to TJ who looked into Atlas’s eyes and said, “what’s wrong Atlas you are a champion, let’s find a way to make you concentrate!” That’s the difference in an average trainer and an expert trainer. Atlas has found his trainers, TJ, Katherine, and his friend “Black Hawk.”
Christian is on the Savannah School of Art and design equestrian team and competes for the school. However she has not personally competed professionally in several years. She is now working with TJ and Katherine at Fox Ridge Farms to sharpen her skills to the level she used to compete at. Winning her first ribbon in years on Atlas, even though it wasn’t first place, was a proud moment for her.
There are four lessons in this blog: the first is from Parker who shows us the courage it takes to follow ones dreams when everyone says don’t do it. It’s too risky, you’ll never accomplish it. The second from TJ that says, never quit looking for and developing talent! The third is from Atlas who lets us know we can find courage from the oddest places and discover one’s potential! The fourth is from Christian who shows us that to compete at the highest level it takes discipline and practice, practice, practice and a horse name Atlas (Abelix)!