Just horsing around the world

Half the fun of Ezra Cooley's long trail ride is the reactions he gets from people along the way. A lot of people think he's nuts. "You can't ride your horse through Manhattan!" they say.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 24, 2010

Half the fun of Ezra Cooley's long trail ride is the reactions he gets from people along the way.

A lot of people think he's nuts. "You can't ride your horse through Manhattan!" they say.

"Watch me," is his response.

In fact, that's not all he's going to do. One year ago Thursday, Cooley set out from his Chico, Calif. home. His plan: to ride his horse around the world.

He's come about 4,000 miles so far, arriving in Norwalk Sunday night It's a lot further to ride it than to drive it. Plus, he's taken some time to enjoy the view. He spent a lot of time in Colorado, he said. He liked it so much, he's considering moving there when his ride is over seven years from now.

He said just as many people are inspired by his undertaking. People offer to help him almost everywhere he goes.

"I've got friends all the way back home," he said including more than a few girls, the 27-year-old said. That also includes Striker.

Striker was one of a handful of wild horses on a ranch he was working at in Wyoming. He was the meanest and the toughest. So Cooley bought him. He bucked all the way to the Nebraska border, Cooley said.

For a while, it meant riding with three horses. In addition to Striker, Cooley set out with Jahob and Red. Jahob is one of Cooley's oldest friends. In fact, his father bought Jahob when both he and Jahob were 2 years old.

After Wyoming, on the trail, Cooley stayed with a nice family with grandchildren. It seemed like a good home, so he left Jahob with them.

Before he leaves New York, Cooley said he will sell Striker, who now seems pretty tame. That will leave him with 5-year-old Red, his best friend, he said.

Cooley's route will take him to Spain where he will begin his ride around the Mediterranean. He will ride down to the tip of Africa and travel to Australia. After crossing the island continent, he will jump to South America, ride across the Panama Canal and re-enter the U.S. in Texas.

His journey is being documented on a Web site,www.ezrasexpedition.com. He is soliciting donations, 50 percent of which will go to pay his expenses, and the other 50 to Cancer for Kids. He's hoping to get corporate sponsorship, both to help him navigate the touchy political issues of riding from one end of the world to the other, and so that he can give all his donations to charity.

Cooley's riding for a lot of reasons, of course, but one of the chief among them is, "I've always wanted to be the first guy to do something."

That, and his dad said he couldn't do it. It all started with an idle conversation on a trail ride. He and his father were speculating on whether a person could ride across the whole country. His father didn't think so.

Eight months later, Cooley set out around the world.