Here I would like to introduce my companions who have accompanied me over large parts of my previous expedition. Together with them, I experienced all the ups and downs of this intense journey. When you're together 24 hours a day, you grow together, you get used to each other, you become a well-coordinated team.
I wanted to travel the entire trip from Patagonia to Alaska with the same horses. The entry regulations in the USA make this impossible.
Every farewell is difficult for me. Saying goodbye to my horses Gaucho and Rebelde was certainly one of the hardest. Rebelde and Gaucho are now at my friend Homero's ranch, a veterinarian, in southern Mexico, where they are enjoying their well-deserved retirement.
The Mustangs: Dino, Rusty, Lightfoot and Azabache
Wild mustangs have been protected by law in the USA since 1971 (Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971) and their population is controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In 2007 we adopted four Mustangs from the BLM. Our horses were tamed by prisoners as part of a social project (Colorado Wild Horse Inmate Program). In the course of this project, the prison inmates receive vocational training in riding horses and can thus be more easily reintegrated into society after their release.
Dino we also lovingly call him “the fat one” because of his belly. He's the boss of the group, but he's the scariest of them all. Dino is a very beautiful horse, strong, small, with a short back and a very distinctive character.
Lightfoot does not live up to its name at all and trips over every stone. He is our "all-round horse": a good riding horse, a very reliable pack horse. Like Azabache, Lightfoot is slightly larger than the other two horses.
Azabache The name "Azabache" is Spanish and means: not black, not brown. He's the group's clown. Azabache is curious, has to sniff everything, knocks it over and is frightened. He is very lively and pleasant to ride.
Rusty our fourth horse "Rusty" is a small, delicately built red-bay. From the very beginning, Sonja took the little red one into her heart.
the Parson Jack Russel puppy "Leni" has been on the big journey since 2007. In the beginning the very young and playful puppy caused a lot of confusion, but also a lot of joy. It is a real bundle of energy - a good prerequisite for crossing North America. Leni has run 10,000 km through the USA and Canada and Alaska.
a mixed breed Rottweiler-Labrador dog, accompanied me from June 2001. Liesl's impressive size alone made her a good watchdog. The people in the country here hardly have any dogs this size and so they respect her. At the same time she was harmless and friendly, always open to being petted or, even better, a piece of bread, a tortilla or even a piece of meat. Liesl died at the age of 3 in August 2003 from the bite of a poisonous spider or a snake in Costa Rica. I missed her very much, she was like my own child. Because of this stroke of fate, I questioned the trip for the first time and thought of quitting.
the Guatemalan puppy came to us as a small, very thin puppy. Her tail was barely thicker than a thread. She quickly learned to sit in a saddlebag or between the panniers. Chapina lived with Barbara in Germany. She died at the age of 17 in September 2020.
In Bolivia, Anastasio, a German Franciscan, gave me Lobo. One day one of my horses kicked him and he broke his foot. Lobo was given a cast on his leg and a blue bucket around his neck so that he wouldn't nibble it off. In Ecuador, I gave Lobo into the hands of a caring friend.
was my friend. With him I hiked over 3,000 km through Germany, with him I also began my journey in South America. With Falko I had a partner whom I could always rely on. But after three years of travel, a veterinarian diagnosed a heart problem. I sent Falko back home to my parents, where I got him as a puppy. Where he grew up - is now his grave.
The Criollos: Rebelde and Gaucho
I started my journey in Argentina with Rebelde and Gaucho. We were on the road together for 11 years and covered 20,000 kilometers. At the US border my dream of a trip with Rebelde and Gaucho to Alaska broke. I returned to Germany disappointed. It wasn't until two years later that I continued my journey with the Mustangs.
Origin: Patagonia, Argentina Features: "The Professor"; easy to feed, strong, gets along well with all other horses, calm temperament; stay with the others; can be ridden with a stable halter; Reliance Horse; somewhat dreamy, does not always notice everything at once; sometimes a bit scared, at the beginning he threw me down 19 times, after that i stopped counting, because a rope was hanging down, something on the equipment rattled or something similar. He died at the age of 32, 12 years after we finished our journey in Mexico.
Origin: Patagonia, Argentina Features: "The Boss"; easy to feed, strong; good lead horse - is not afraid of anything, the rest of them trust him; reliable, good to ride; is not always easy to catch; sometimes drives the others away from the food. He died at the age of 30, 11 years after we finished our journey in Mexico.
When Gaucho had to take a year off because of a serious hoof disease, Maxl followed in his hoof steps. since: January 2003 he accompanied us all the way to Mexico. Origin: Costa Rica, Characteristics: comes from a tropical area, therefore well adapted to the hot climate; very strong, good climber on difficult paths, self-confident, tame and trusting; not so easy to get upset, also very reliable on busy roads; is still very young, has mischief on his mind, still had a lot to learn.
Barbara's horses Samurai and Pumuckl
Origin: Chunchi, highlands of Ecuador Breed: Ecuadorian Criollo involved since: September 2001 Features: "The tough one"; comes from a cooler area and therefore has problems with the tropical heat; nice smooth gaits, goes well forward; hard, fast growing hooves; appears lean, does not gain weight; but has a lot of energy, likes to walk; runs well alone as a pack horse, does not have to be led, can estimate its width with luggage, does not hit anywhere; sometimes a bit headstrong
Origin: Panama Breed: Panamanian Criollo since: February 2002 Features: "El Panamenio"; our smallest, the clown among our horses; we were given as an emaciated animal; turned in to a good, strong horse; comes from the tropics and is therefore well adapted to the heat here; go Paso to sit softly; ride well in all situations; good on difficult paths; very hard hooves; runs alone, does not have to be guided; is a bit stallion (I always called him "our wannabe pony stallion") - he messes with strange horses when he is running alone