Horseback journey for good cause

Thursday, February 28th 2008, 7:47 pm
By: News 9

By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

Can you imagine traveling 7,000 miles in one trip? Now, picture doing it without the luxury of a car or airplane.  That's exactly what one man is doing.

Ezra Cooley is on the journey of a lifetime, and a stop for a little work at the Oklahoma City Stockyards is just a small step in his trip.

Nearly two years ago, Cooley left his home in Northern California for his trip.

"My dad and I were riding one day, and we got to talking about if it was possible to ride around the world, I decided I was going to try it, about 8 months later, I decided I was going to do it," Cooley said.

Cooley has traveled nearly 7,000 miles riding horseback.

"Red here is my best friend in the whole world; I just love him to death," Cooley said.

The two even picked up a companion pack horse along the way.

"This here is a wild pony I got in Wyoming, and I broke him out on the trail," Cooley said. "He bucked all the way to Nebraska."

The pony, Striker, carries the trio's bare necessities they travel with like first aid kits, a video camera, a tent and even food.

While the three could tell endless stories of their travels, they aren't traveling for their benefit.  Cooley, Striker, and Red are working to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network.

"The challenges I go through everyday aren't anything compared to what a kid goes through when they have cancer," Cooley said.

Taylor Phillips is one of the children the money raised will help.

"It is hard, sometimes the chemo makes you sick, tired, you don't want to do nothing; it is just hard," Taylor said.

He travels to Oklahoma to the Jimmy Everest Center for treatment to fight leukemia. He is thankful for the work being done by both the Children's Miracle Network and Cooley.

Cooley said these kids are what keep him going.

"It helps me out on the rainy days, or when it is cold, or when it is rough you want to do whatever you can for them, because it is just not right for a little kid to go through so many challenges," Cooley said.

The three stopped in Oklahoma about three months ago and are planning to take off again in about a week; they are planning for a few stops outside of the U.S., including Australia, South America, Africa, and Europe and who knows from there.

"I always wanted to ride my horse on the moon when I was a little kid," Cooley said. "That was one of the things I used to talk about all the time. Who knows? Maybe I still will, but I will have to get a sponsor from NASA."

Ezra stops along the way to work to cover his travel expenses and only asks that people give to the Children's Miracle Network. You can donate through his web site at