A 60 year old, retired U.S. Navy veteran is about to chart an entirely new course when she enters the choppy waters of US Government legislation.
Later this month, Robynne Catheron from upstate New York will ride on horseback from Ohio to Delaware to raise awareness of the apathy of US legislators towards the S.A.F.E. Act (S541/HR1094, Safeguard American Food Export).
The act will not only protect American horses from slaughter, it will prevent their transportation to Canada and Mexico for slaughter and stop the possibility of drug-tainted equine meat being shipped overseas for human consumption. However, currently only 167 out of 435 Representatives and 27 out of 100 Senators have signed to support the legislation, which has been sitting in committee for over a year.
Also in Robynne's sights is the P.A.S.T. Act (S1406/HR1518, Prevent All Soring Tactics), which aims to increase the level of monitoring of the illegal practice of 'soring', which is associated in part with the production of the 'big lick' movement in Tennessee Walking Horses. Soring refers to the application of blistering agents, burns, lacerations, sharp objects, or other substances or devices to a horse's limbs to produce a higher gait by making it painful for the horse to step down.
Robynne's transport and companions on this 3-month long 'Ride For Their Lives' journey will be two Tennessee Walking Horses, George and Sampson.
Sampson is the poster boy for the ride having previously been a sored 'big lick' performance horse, who was dropped off at auction and headed for slaughter when his current owner, Mischelle Kolpien, rescued him at the last moment. She rehabilitated and retrained Sampson as a trail horse and is loaning him to Robynne for the ride after seeing her appeal on Facebook for a second horse.
Together the 3 of them will cover over 1,150 miles on their journey across four states. Robynne’s goal is to talk with every single person she meets along the way and encourage them to contact their legislators to insist they co-sponsor these bills.
They will be accompanied by Robynne's youngest granddaughter, Chelsea, who will be responsible for setting up camp each night, and coordinating with media and local civic community leaders in upcoming towns.