Saddle Up. July 3.

There is no doubt in my mind that my spouse would do anything for me.  After a day of looking through all our financial stuff and balancing 5 check books and paying the bills Charlie was brain dead.  Neither of us were in mood to cook so we went out. I found some grilled veggies for me and sweet and sour chicken dinner special for him.  As we were driving home he said  “is there anything else you need done tonight cuz I just want to go to sleep”.”Yes, there is one more thing tonight.  I want to saddle up one of horses and get  on.”  

We pulled into the driveway as the beautiful sunset colors were escaping  from the sky.  He caught up the horses, brushed them and checked their hooves. I wanted to try a saddle I purchased about five years ago and never put on a horse. I didn’t remember the cinch was missing and the stirrup length was messed up and heck didn’t even know it did not fit my horse at all. Once I saw that and looked at Charlie’s exhausted  face I pleaded  “I really want to get on tonight”.  By that  time the colors had completely   faded from the horizon and the big light on the back of the shop came on to illuminate the scene. “Ok, let’s do this thing” he said. I took the cinch off the saddle and placed it back on the saddle I had taken it from, an intact saddle that I had used on this horse for years. Positioning the mounting block perfectly and with Charlie tightly holding the reins, I put my foot in the stirrup, grabbed a hunk of mane and sprung up swinging my bad right leg over the cantle and down where it automatically found the stirrup and slipped in.  Muscle memory! I had made this same maneuver thousands of times over my years riding.  

I rode around our little dry lot for maybe 10 minutes max.  I was so excited to be on the back of this mare I purchased 19 years ago as a weanling.  She responded to my leg pressures to move forward, turn and back.  She remembered these cues.  It’s been several years since she’s been ridden.  It felt good, natural, like I belonged on the back of this shiney mare.

Charlie helped me get off.  It was easier than I expected and he made sure I didn’t get hung up where I  dismounted. We worked together to get the saddle put away.  As he locked up the shop I headed for the house, Thinking…tonight of all nights, I had a whim to get on a horse.  And this tired guy made it happen.

Published by Carol Clupny, author The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman's Remarkable Journey with Parkinson's Disease

I am a middle aged woman with Parkinson's Disease. When I was first diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching the disease. Seeing a video of a man in the advanced stages of the disease attempting to get out of his chair and then "freezing" as he tried to walk across the room got me off my butt and moving. Great adventures on the Camino de Santiago and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson's across IOWA, as well as the day to day adventures of life have lead me to writing. My first novel, a memoir, was published early 2019. It is called, you got it THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD. Living with the degenerative neurological disease Parkinson's, ULTREIA is a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means "unfailing courage". In the old days, pilgrims would call "Ultreïa" to each other as encouragement "Go up, go further!" Nowadays we would say "You can do this thing". It takes courage to live with Parkinson's. May I face each day with unfailing courage. Ab Here is more about me; I was living an active lifestyle riding horses, hiking, climbing and snow skiing when at age fifty I was diagnosed with Parkinsons. Retiring from my career as a speech-language pathologist I decided to “take to the road” to battle the disease. My first steps, walking out her door to the mailbox, lead to trekking over 1000 miles of pilgrimage trails on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain. A dusty bike discovered in the garage resulted in four rides on the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa with the Pedaling for Parkinsons Team. These adventures inspired me to write a memoir The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman’s Remarkable Journey with Parkinson’s Disease. I blogs about my everyday life as a middle-aged woman in the mid-stages of Parkinson’s disease. My honest, humorous, and casual narrative style brings the reader to an intimate understanding of my resilience and acceptance. My blog, sharing the name of my book ”The Ribbon of Road Ahead” can be found at After completing a Masters of Science in Speech Pathology from Eastern Washington University I received certification in School Leadership and Administration from Lewis and Clark College. I provided speech pathology services and later became a program director completing 32 years in the wide geographic expanse of eastern Oregon. Active in the Oregon Speech-Language and Hearing Association I received honors of the association and the presidential award for work on recruitment and retention of speech and hearing professionals. Il presented numerous papers and projects at local, state and regional professional conferences. I was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to two terms of the Oregon Board of Examiners of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the state’s licensing and consumer protection agency. Since my diagnosis in 2008, I has become active in the Parkinson’s community as an advocate, an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and support group facilitator for Parkinson's Resources of Oregon. I was appointed the regional patient representative for the Parkinson's Foundation’s Women with PD TALK study. In September of 2019 the Michael J Fox Foundation selected me to participate in the Parkinson’s Policy Forum in Washington DC. As an attendee at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016 in Portand, Oregon, I presnted a poster session examining the decision making process for patients considering deep brain stimulation. At the 2019 WPC in Kyoto, Japan I presented a poster on vision concerns of women with PD and lead small group discussions. Myr book The Ribbon of Road Ahead has provided many speaking opportunities for Carol. In 2019 and early 2020 she visited 24 support groups in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California to share her thoughts on living well with the disease. In addition, she has presented talks for The Center on Aging in San Francisco, Parkinson's Place in Las Vegas, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation in Richland WA and virtually through their HOPE online program. In late 2020 I rejuvenated her voice and narrated her book. It became available as an audio book in 2021. As part of this project I read stories over the airwaves on RadioParkies Australia with DJ Madonna and in Great Britain with DJ Johnny Parky. She and her husband Charlie have two adult sons. They live on a small hobby farm in eastern Oregon. Contact Information: Carol Clupny PO BOX 128, Hermiston, OR 97838 (541) 720-4256

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