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The trip through Black Mountain, like most locations horses Renegade and Buck will pass through on their cross-country journey with Angela Wood and her chihuahua Schatzie, was supposed to be a short one.

But they soon returned after a siren spooked them in Asheville on Nov. 21, causing them run away attached to the wagon they were pulling, injuring Wood in the process. 

On Nov. 27, mayor Don Collins delivered the horses back to their owner so they could continue on their journey.

The incident the day before Thanksgiving left Wood, who is making the journey from Sunset Beach to the state of Washington to raise awareness for child hunger, with 12 stitches and seven staples in her head.

“I stepped between the horses and the wagon, not even thinking, as I was getting ready to feed them,” she said. “They heard the sirens and took off, pulling the wagon right over me.”

Buck, a 9-year-old American Quarter Horse, and Renegade, a 16-year-old American Paint Horse, ran down Long Shoals Road with Schatzie in the custom-built buggy. The horses ran into Biltmore Park before a WLOS employee, who witnessed the horses running with the unoccupied wagon, was able to stop them.

As Wood received treatment for her injuries, Collins retrieved the horses and brought them to his farm.

“I got a call from (the Asheville Police Department Animal Services) asking me to pick them up,” he said from the parking lot of the Ingles in Candler, where he delivered the horses to Wood. “I’ve been operating a horse rescue facility for about seven years with the county. I get called about people’s horses getting out all of the time.”

As Collins looked after Renegade and Buck, Annette Corriveau offered Wood a place to rest and recover in her Marion home. Corriveau initially encountered Wood as she was passing through Marion on Nov. 24.

“I first met her Saturday when we were going to visit someone and she was passing through Marion,” Corriveau said. “On Sunday I wanted to get in touch with her because I knew she was coming over Old Fort Mountain. I ended up meeting her in Black Mountain for lunch."

Corriveau learned about the wreck on television and reached out to Wood.

“I went to the hospital and picked her up and told her to stay with us until she healed,” Corriveau said.

Wood began her trip in Kentucky, where she purchased her wagon, before making her way to N.C. coast.

“I’d always wanted to do a horse trip,” said Wood, a truck driver for three decades. “But life, as it does for everyone, kind of got in the way.”

In 2015 she started having dreams about going down the road “in a wagon with a team of horses.

“In that dream, on the wagon there was a picture of a hungry child,” she said. “It was a strange dream and it was really specific. Well it came to me the next night, and the next, and so on for around 9-14 nights.”

She began saving money for the trip.

“It was a long journey before I even started the journey,” Wood said.

The Idaho native started training Renegade and Buck for the trip in June before leaving in August. Wood travels and sleeps in the wagon or at the homes of people she meets who offer her a place to stay.

She hopes her journey will inspire people to act on the growing problem of child hunger. 

"If you see a need, step up and help," she said. "If you can't help, think of someone who can help. It's not always about money, sometimes you can help others just by being there." 

Those who do have the ability to support financially, should visit nokidshungry.org, or find other ways to help, Woods said. 

"It's really about doing your part," she said. "You just need to help however you can, there's no reason for children to have to go hungry."

Collins said he admired Wood's passion for the cause, as well as her toughness. 

"I'm telling you, what she's doing isn't easy," he said. "She's a really tough woman and I'm looking forward to keeping up with her trip."

Wood is blogging her trip at challenge-america-equine-trek.com. Her posts feature photos and often mention the people she meets along the way. 

"Honestly, all I've met are good people," Wood said. "I couldn't do this without people like Don, Annette and hundreds of others I've met along the way."

Jacksons Western Store in Asheville donated three hame harnesses and reins to Wood after hers were damaged in the incident. It's encouraging to see people eager to help, she said. 

"In the old days communities knew each other and they knew who the people were who needed help," Wood said. "We need to get back to that; we need to start finding ways that we can help each other."

Wood hugged Collins and Corriveau and asked them to write their names in a book that she uses to keep track of all the people who have helped her along the way. She climbed into her wagon with Schatzie and waved as Renegade and Buck trotted west. 

Follow Angela Wood's trip across the country at challenge-america-equine-trek.com or support her trek at www.gofundme.com/b9qj5-end-child-hunger.

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