Katherine Boone's solo ride across
the Iberian Peninsula!
|Katherine Boone and her Spanish mare Buena Chica left this Mediterranean beach and headed for Northern Spain.|
What do you get when you mix two adventurous females? An expedition that consists of an American rider and a Spanish mare travelling from the sunny Mediterranean Sea to the stormy Atlantic Ocean!
Katherine Boone left her home in North Carolina - flew to Madrid - bought a horse - located an out-of-date map of Spain - got in the saddle - and never looked back!
When she was asked, "Aren't you afraid to travel alone through the mountains of Spain and Portugal?" the first-time Long Rider promptly answered, "Afraid of what?" In an email to The Long Riders' Guild, Katherine added, "Nobody was ever able to give me a reply to that question!"
Katherine is on the road with "Buena Chica" ("Good Girl") whom she found and purchased only a week after arriving in Spain, even though this adventurous woman only had half a dozen words of Spanish at her disposal. She summarized her equestrian philosophy when she wrote to The Long Riders' Guild and said, "Buena Chica is my passport into Spanish life."
The team started their journey on a beach near the Spanish Mediterranean coastal town of Malaga, headed for Portugal. Among their many adventures was a remarkable chance meeting with the legendary Long Rider, Alistair Boyd.
This famed expatriate Englishman had himself ridden across Spain in the early 1960s, only to become so enchanted with the country that he has spent the rest of his life riding and writing in Don Quixote country. Katherine rode into the mediaeval town of Ronda carrying with her a clue provided by The Long Riders' Guild to try to see if she could find Alistair. As luck would have it, a car pulled up beside her and a young man inside asked what she was doing and where she was going. When Katherine explained her mission, he gave her a look of astonishment and said, "That's exactly what my father, Alistair Boyd, did! Would you like to come to our villa and meet him?"
|Katherine Boone and Alistair Boyd - two generations of
Click on photo to enlarge
The American Long Rider originally set aside one month for this journey, but the experience has proved so enchanting that she has tossed aside the calendar and determined to ride all the way to Finisterre ("The End of the World") on the Atlantic coast. This finger of land juts into the waves from the far north-west corner of Spain.
"I understand that the country ahead will only get more beautiful as I travel north to Galicia, the part of Spain on the North Atlantic coast where I will finish my adventure. Luckily I have been able to stay on very small dirt roads and tracks 95% of the time."
Katherine and Buena Chica made it to their far-off goal! The American Long Rider wrote from the north of Spain with some startling news.
"My horse is pregnant & I am coming home.
I had an ultra sound done on Buena Chica a week ago and found out that she is 7-8 months pregnant. I've only owned her for five months so she was definitely pregnant when I bought her, even though the man I bought her from says it's "impossible." It's probably a good thing I didn't know she was "with foal" during our 1000 mile ride!
I have found a great stable here in Galicia (northern Spain) where she will live until....? She's in a beautiful green pasture during the day and goes into a nice, big stable at night. The people who own it & work there will take care of her, including putting her in a "walker" 4-5 times a week to keep her in shape."
The Long Riders' Guild is now awaiting word from Katherine regarding her next challenge, importing Buena Chica into the United States!
The Long Rider has promised to forward some of the hundreds of photos she took on her ride across Spain and Portugal. Watch this space for pictures of Buena Chica and her foal.
May 2002 - Post Script
Buena Chica's foal was born on 19 January 2002 and was named Galicia. Katherine went over to Spain in February and visited the horses at the Hacienda Los Porches where they are now boarded in their own private pasture. Katherine hopes to bring them into the US in the near future. Photographs will be available shortly.
Katherine has sent us the photographs, as promised! Click on any of the pictures below to enlarge them.
Mother and daughter relax under the Spanish sun.
Galicia has already learnt about electric fences!
Galicia shows off her pretty white socks.
On 11th September Katherine is flying back to see her "girls." She is planning another ride - watch this space!
Back to Completed Expeditions Back to Current Expeditions Home