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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Michigan sisters riding on horseback to Houston to help Haiti Water Project

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sisters Brandy and Ashley Nelsey started their journey from West Branch, Mich., on Sept. 11. They will ride on horseback all the way to Houston, Texas, in hopes of raising $15,000 to donate to the Haiti Water Project, which will provide for three water wells. [Order this photo]
CLOVERDALE -- In an effort to raise money for the Haiti Water Project two young sisters, Brandy and Ashley Nelsey, from West Branch, Mich., have taken it upon themselves to ride all the way to Houston and back on horseback in a fundraising event called, "Horseback for Haiti."

The sisters, ages 21 and 23, started their trip on Sunday, Sept. 11 and are hoping to reach Houston by the end of December or early January.

Riding through Cloverdale on U.S. 231 Tuesday afternoon, they are currently traveling with five horses, two of which are mustangs, and a dog. The dog not only provides protection for the ladies during their travels but also serves as a companion during the long trip.

While on the road they plan on fundraising until they reach their goal of $15,000, which is enough money to supply three water wells. It is through these three wells that 6,000 people will be able to receive clean water.

"It was kind of a thing that came up as a joke," Ashley said.

The Haiti Water Project is currently nationally undertaken by the Church of Nazarene. Each well costs $5,000. The Agape Community Church of Nazarene located in their hometown along with hundreds of others are coming together to provide at least 500 wells to be used by the community.

"The girls wanted to have a reason to take the ride to Houston," Pastor David Wolfe said. "I told them to raise funds for Haiti."

The church originally challenged the girls to raise $1,000 for the effort. But after careful planning and talking, the girls wanted to do more.

"We took it one step further," Ashley said. "We decided we wanted go out and raise $15,000."

The sisters raised the money for the ride themselves and have had people help them along the route.

There is no set plan or destination each day. They stop wherever they can find food and water for their horses. Some nights they have spent on the side of the road while on others, people have been kind enough to host them for a night.

"We have spent a night or two on the side of the road, sometimes at churches, fairgrounds and sometimes people are able to offer up their houses if they have enough grass or hay for the horses," Brandy said.

The sisters were most recently spotted in Cloverdale, where they spent the night with Cathy and Dale Jordan.

They have already raised $3,000 for the cause and will continue on to Kentucky in the coming days.

"The majority of the money coming in is for the wells," Wolfe said. "They mail the money back and we send a receipt out to the individuals."

When they finally reach Houston the two are planning on staying for a week or two and then they will make the trip all the way back to Michigan. It is estimated that the ladies will return home at the end of May.

For more information on their story or to help, go to www.horsebackforhaiti.jimdo.com.

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