Sixty miles down and 140 more to go. Donna Byrne and her two horses, Jay and Tonto, reached the outskirts of Sun City Center at high noon Monday on their trek to Ocala.
Like many victims of the economic downturn gripping America, Byrne, 44, is on the road looking for work. She set out Saturday from Arcadia, bound for a horse auction in the Ocala hills where she hopes to find work.
She says she will do whatever she has to do to keep her horses. She recently lost her job on a cattle ranch in DeSoto County. Without the job, she couldn’t afford her rent and lost her home.
Now Byrne has just Jay and Tonto and what they carry on their backs. Tonto was none too happy about being the pack horse Monday, loaded down with a tent, blankets, Byrne's clothes and the little bit of horse feed that he would have to share with Jay.
"I was hoping we'd find a feed store this side of Sun City, but there aren't none," Byrne said during a break at La Tienda Mexicana along U.S. 301. "I'm carrying 14 percent protein sweet feed, and they're just going to have to eat what I've got."
Byrne is picking up food for herself along the way.
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