C.W. Cooper chose a horse named Samson to start his ride around the globe, but he quickly discovered the animal didn’t have biblical strength.
Cooper, a 51-year-old Bluff Dale resident, began his effort Friday, July 13, to become the first person ever to travel around the world on horseback. He departed the Rocking J Ranch southeast of Santo on Samson, a 3-year-old sorrel quarterhorse that he admitted was “puny” and had to be bulked up before the trip.
But the next day, Cooper posted on a Facebook page set up to document his ride that the horse was no longer a willing participant.
The ride – at least with Samson doing the walking – was over.
Cooper posted that Samson “just didn’t have the heart for it.”
When a Hood County News reporter met Cooper on a service road along Interstate 20 Friday morning about two miles west of the intersection with FM 4, Cooper admitted that Samson was “still green” and that he had put on more than 100 pounds since he was obtained from a kill buyer.
On Facebook he wrote, “He got tired on the trail and decided to take a nap with me on his back. He laid down and rolled over.”
Cooper also wrote that he plans to obtain a “high energy” horse and continue his dream ride, starting from the spot where Samson gave out, two miles west of Gordon.
Bambie Goodall, 70, of Bellevue, Penn., told the Hood County News that she had agreed to be a liaison for Cooper on his journey, calling ahead to arrange places for Cooper to stay on guest ranches along the way because he never came up with a sponsor to provide food and supplies.
Goodall set up the Facebook page to document the trip. But, on Monday she called Cooper “headstrong” and said he had refused to take her advice.
“At least the horse had enough sense to lay down,” Goodall said. “You do what the horse can tolerate. He was not ready to take off on a long ride. You’ve got to learn the horse, you’ve got to know what he’s capable of.”
She also said that she informed Cooper she would not be assisting him as a liaison on any future horse rides.
“I still wish him well, and I wish him the best,” Goodall said. “He’s going to have to find his own connections now.”
Goodall had posted on the Facebook page that she wanted Cooper to complete the ride, “but not at the cost of his life or the horse.”
She believed that Samson weighed about 1,100 pounds when they left the Rocking J Ranch. But a couple of people who posted on the Facebook site, identified as experienced longriders by Goodall, warned that Samson was not sturdy enough to carry Cooper and his supplies over a long distance.
A new home for Samson was quickly found on a ranch near Sweetwater, 40 miles west of Abilene.
Cooper said on Friday he had recently learned about various lengthy quarantine restrictions for horses worldwide. For that reason, he said he planned to switch to a different horse as he entered each country along the way.
The Hood County News was unable to connect with Cooper on his cell phone Monday afternoon.
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