PLYMOUTH — Six thousand miles is a long way to travel. Can you imagine doing it on horseback?
That’s exactly what one California woman has done and she’s not even finished — Meredith Cherry still has a long way to go.
We caught up with her and her horse Apollo in Plymouth.
They’ve traveled through 23 states and plan to hit all 48 in the contiguous United States. They took a break at Heminger House, a shelter for domestic violence survivors.
It’s a pretty perfect place to learn about Cherry and Apollo’s ride because those survivors are who they’re trying to raise awareness for.
Meredith Cherry has covered nearly 6,500 miles over two and a half years, and she hasn’t stopped for gas once. She calls this journey with her horse Apollo “The Centauride.”
“A centaur is the symbolic perfect embodiment of a horse and the rider,” said Cherry.
Cherry and Apollo aren’t very good at sneaking into town, but that’s not the point.
The pair is trying to raise awareness of domestic violence, which affects one in three women.
“Yet it’s not something we hear about very often, except when it escalates to something, some huge crime,” said Cherry.
For Diane Fisher, increasing awareness is crucial. She’s the executive director for Heminger House, which provides emergency shelter and services for people escaping domestic violence.
Fisher says she has no problem winning grants to fund those services.
“As far as the actual grant being executed so that we can claim on those funds, sometimes it’s three to six months,” said Fisher.
That wait is costly.
“All of the state and federal grants are reimbursement grants, so we have to spend the money and then get reimbursed,” said Fisher.
Cherry knows all too well how important it is for shelters like Heminger House to have the funds they need to operate.
“I was in an abusive relationship for over a dozen years — and it was life-changing,” said Cherry.
Cherry says when she escaped that relationship, she used her divorce settlement to buy Apollo.
Their 870-day ride has been at least a little therapeutic.
“Mostly it’s a lot of fun to ride my horse around the country and meet nice people and see new things,” said Cherry.
Cherry says a lot of people have helped her and Apollo on their journey over the last two and a half years — and you can help too.
If you want to help, Cherry and Fisher suggest reaching out to your local shelter to see what might be needed.