b An extraordinary adventure
c At home on the ranch
Travelling 2,600 miles across America alone on a horse is adventurous by anybody's standards. But when you are a woman, with a budget of only $25 a week, many people would think it was madness. Emma Crosby's family and friends certainly did.
Emma, on the other hand, thought it was a perfectly rational idea.
‘I had always dreamt about riding across America,' said Emma. 'It made a lot of sense to me to do it on a horse: a horse is cheaper to run than a car and less likely to break down.’
It took Emma two-and-a-half years to save up the Ј3,000 she needed to pay for her air fare, a horse, equipment and spending money. In that time, she taught herself first aid, went to self-defence classes and read about the type of horse she would need. As soon as her plane landed in Houston, Texas, she went straight to a horse farm.
The first meeting between woman and horse was not encouraging: Smoking Spear was not as wild as her name suggested. ‘I had had this image of a wild white horse and there in front of me was this small grey pony,' says Emma. ‘I can't say it was love at first sight.’ Nevertheless, Emma was persuaded that Smokey, as the horse became known, was perfect for the job, so the two headed east to Georgia to start their journey.
In the weeks and months that followed, Emma and Smokey travelled through the southern states of America. They rode across hot deserts and freezing mountains and down lonely tracks that went on forever. It was a hard way of life, especially crossing the deserts. Emma and Smokey would set off at 5.30 a.m. and carry on until it became too hot. Another problem was her budget. By the end of the journey, she had almost run out of money.
Before she arrived in America, Emma had hoped that the adventure would be an opportunity to get away and 'have a bit of space'. What she didn't realise was that her journey would change her life. After crossing nine states in 202 days, she reached a ranch in San Diego, California. Ranch owner, Mike Spurling opened the door.
'He invited me out to a restaurant that night and it just went from there,' says Emma. 'I never left.' A year later they were married.
Emma now lives in California, helping to run two ranches. For years she had dreamt of owning her own horse, now she has 80. So does she still have the desire to ride off into the sunset? 'I would never do it again,' says Emma. 'My last stop turned into a full-time husband. Now we're on an adventure all of our own - real life.'
Now read the article carefully and answer these questions.
1 Why did Emma choose to ride a horse across America?
2 Before she left for America, what type of things did Emma have to do?
3 How did Emma feel when she first saw Smokey?
4 What was the most difficult thing about the journey?
5 What did Emma hope to achieve by the journey?
6 What has Emma always wanted to have?
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