Covered Wagon Across America
Ever since Rodney Burnett was paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle accident 15 years ago, he's been wanting to take a cross country trip by horse. He hopes he can write a book about the people he meets and then start a working horse ranch to cater to kids with disabilities.
"I don't see a hard part yet," says Burnett. "It's all going to be great, the hard part is what will bring the good parts out."
But it hasn't exactly been easy to overcome an income limited to Medicaid payments. But if he has his way, a view behind his purebred morgan stallions Jonas and Oeshera's King Regent will become quite familiar.
He's still got a lot of work to do. Thursday is only the third time he's taken the horses out on the road pulling the wagon.
"They learn every time we go out," says Burnett. "I learn every time we go together and patience is the key to the whole operation."
Ladder H Farms stands for Horses Helping Handicapped Humans. Already he's gotten some help from some friends which have built a modern wagon outfitted with everything from running water to tail lights. With rainy weather like Thursday's, he'll need all the amenities.
"The weather is in God's hands," says Burnett. "They did it in the 1800s and I've got a lot more technology than that."
Burnett says the trip might take nine months while he works his way west, visiting family and friends he's made in earlier days while working as a racehorse groomer and trainer. He hopes others who hear his story will heed his message.
"Pick your head up," says Burnett. "You can do anything you want to do, you just have to pull up your bootstraps to do it."
He hopes to leave by the end of August. You can follow along and see Burnett's pictures and blog at www.ladderhfarms.com.
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV20 News
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