Darley Newman is going places and - via her PBS show, Equitrekking - she wants you to go places, too. In 2007, her first season of shows featured Newman riding on historic ranches in Wyoming, exploring the Wilderness Trails Ranch in Colorado and Green Mountain trails in Vermont, and beach riding on Georgia's Sea Island. She also enjoyed far-flung adventures in Ireland and Spain.
"Our first broadcasts were on a small satellite network and primetime on PBS in New Mexico, and did well," she says. "Today, we're on 70 percent of PBS stations - and growing! Our new, 2008 season begins in January."
Newman grew up in South Carolina with cats and, for a while, a trusty dog named Bosley, who sometimes found himself carrying an imaginative, horse-crazy little girl on his back. But it was the horses at summer camp that solidified her abiding interest in all things equine.
Later, working in radio and television in the fast-paced environments of Washington, D.C. and New York, Newman mused on how to combine her technical knowledge with her dual passions for travel and horses. The concept of Equitrekking, a show that travels the world by horseback, was a natural evolution.
"I travel to wonderful places, meet interesting people, and ride fantastic horses," she says. "It's exciting to learn about a location's culture and history through its horses. I might start the day riding with strangers on strange horses, but, by the end of the day, we're all friends. That's true everywhere around the world."
Read on to meet Darley Newman, an adventurous trailblazer with her eyes on the horizon.
TTR: Growing up in South Carolina, when did you first become aware of horses?
Newman: When I was 7 years old, I went to my first summer camp in North Carolina. I took riding lessons and explored cool mountain trails on horseback. I wasn't lucky enough to have access to horses at home, so that summer camp, and many to follow, were an awakening and led me to seek out horses in my adult life.
TTR: Tell us about your first ride.
Newman: It was at Camp Ton-a-Wanda outside of Hendersonville, in the mountains of North Carolina. The ride, walking around a ring, wasn't spectacular, but the feeling of awe was. Horses seemed massive then - and sometimes still do today. Would they really let me ride them? I watched the older riders and wanted to ride like them. I knew it would be a challenge. Those first rides made me want to ride faster and better, and to understand horses more. I've been in awe of horses ever since.
TTR: Do you own a horse today?
Newman: No. Then and now, I ride many different horses. Growing up, I lived with my mom in a townhouse in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and I was lucky to have cats. The cats were not rideable.