The true tale of a voyage that broke a man down and built him back up, with the help of one special horse.

Available now from Trafalgar Square Books!

About the Book

At 37, Jesse McNeil—at times carpenter, commercial fisherman, dabbler in real estate—decided to buy an untrained horse, make himself into a horseman, and ride all the way across the United States, from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.

A fiercely independent traveler, Jesse had navigated previous coast-to-coast trips—solo journeys by moped, bicycle, and small airplane. This time, however, he had a partner: a five-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse named Pepper. An inexperienced horseman with an equally inexperienced mount, Jesse would quickly discover the immense challenges of his new undertaking. Over the course of eight months and fourteen states—beginning in Oregon and ending on a beach in New Hampshire—he would be tested many times over as he learned not only what it took to keep Pepper safe and healthy, but the true value of qualities that he had once easily dismissed: patience and companionship.

The generosity of strangers, from helpful ranchers and storekeepers to suburban families, shaped the pair’s journey east. And while at some points the miles didn’t unfold as Jesse hoped, others yielded unexpected events that changed his perspective—and quite possibly, his future. Written with honesty, grit, and grace, On the Hoof captures an arduous voyage that broke a man down and built him back up, with the help of one special horse.

It’s invigorating to be disconnected from the mundane… So, it’s become a pattern that every couple of years, I take off on a long trek to recharge and find grounding. To re-align with what’s important. I travel away from my coordinated life to re-establish it again–and refine as necessary. And discover what’s next.

Jesse Alexander McNeil

About the Author

Growing up exploring the mountains and rivers of New Hampshire kindled Jesse’s adventurous spirit and inspired his long-distance journeys, from thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail to coast-to-coast trips by bicycle, small airplane, moped, and horse.

After years crafting wood as a carpenter, he’s now shaped words into his first book, On the Hoof, Pacific to Atlantic, chronicling his journey across the country on his Tennessee Walker, Pepper.

Jesse and Pepper live in the San Juan Islands of Washington State where they continue to explore hills and fields and daydream of new journeys ahead.