Oak Ridge man saddles up for cross-country horseback ride

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) - Don Rudd has long dreamed of riding toward the sunset. Now he's carrying out that dream on a 9-year-old mustang he tamed himself.

Rudd began his horseback journey to Arizona on Saturday morning.

He expects the 1,700-mile trip to take about three months, riding 20 miles a day.

"I'm tremendously excited," Rudd said Friday, awaiting a veterinarian's physical checkup of his steed, Traveler.

Rudd, a caretaker at the East Tennessee Riding Club in Oak Ridge where Traveler has been stabled, started his journey in Crab Orchard on the Cumberland Plateau.

He's planned the expedition to follow secondary roadways to Kingman, Ariz. And though he will be riding for several months, Rudd isn't taking much along: feed, two canteens, a bedroll and one change of clothes.

"He's not a pack horse," Rudd said of the formerly wild Traveler. "That's all I'll need. I'll bath in the creeks."

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