Dear Mr. Bertheau:

I understand your desire to ride across this beautiful country on horseback. What a way to experience what our forefathers experienced as they spread out across this continent dedicated to taming a wild land.

You said in press interviews it is a family tradition for the oldest sons of your family to do a great adventure. Surely what you are doing is worthy of that title. In your exuberance to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, it is important that you not lose sight of your horse Shiok's welfare.

Vet techs who have examined the horse have told the press anonymously that the horse is losing weight, maybe dehydrated, and seems to have spur rubs and pain in his back leg. It is good that you are having him cared for by trained professionals.

You have the amazing privilege of bonding with such a majestic animal as Shiok. There is no loyalty and affection like the bond that develops between a horse and those he loves. It is well-known that horses are sensitive to human emotions and can sense when their owners are happy, sad, or anxious.

No doubt, Shiok knows on some level how important this quest to travel the country on horseback is to you. Please, don't let this journey kill your companion. If the strain of the trip is showing at this early stage of the journey, then it is surely time to reassess.

Perhaps at his age, Shiok needs to have a less stressful life.

I don't pretend to be an expert in riding horses long distances. What I do know is the incredible potential for good your journey could be for a nation that seems to be coming apart at the seams. With a bit more forethought and preparation, your journey does great things.

I implore you. Talk to the veterinarian professionals and determine honestly if Shiok is up for this journey. Accept their professional advice.  If necessary, perhaps, rethink the trip for now. It would not be a defeat. You could use the time.

Do a video diary of how you're preparing for the journey. Talk to experts about finding an appropriate horse and detail the training required for a long-distance ride for both the horse and you. Line-up stops along the way, where organizations can offer food and water for your journey.

Select a charity that needs help and let people commit to donating a certain amount for every mile you ride. Many worthy causes would love the opportunity to partner with you.

Prepare with all the wisdom of professionals who know how to do a journey like this correctly.

Then, you will be greeted as a hero everywhere you go. You will be riding not just to fulfill your quest for adventure but for the greater good. Your horse will arrive at each destination along the way cared for properly with food and water and rearing with the same determination as you to get back on the trail.

Don't think of this as a defeat. Think of this as an opportunity to learn. Think of this as an opportunity to do things bigger and better.

Don't let the legacy of your trip be a trail across this great nation of your animal's pain, suffering, and eventual painful death. Make it a transformative moment of triumph, a reminder of the fact that as Americans, we may be from widely diverse locations and backgrounds, but together, we share a fundamental love of this country and of the incredible horses who helped us lift it from the dirt and set it free.

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