by Molly Shakespear
It’s May 4 and Bob had loaded Libby, Jazz and myself into the mule trailer. We were headed to Stampede Run Horse Camp (which should be called a “mule camp”) near Whitley City, Kent. We left my human, Brenda at home in Almo as Bob wanted to arrive early to get all the decorations up before Brenda arrived for her big 55th birthday party and ride.
Shortly after getting there Bob had us in our stalls and camp set up. Others arriving not too long after us were my former owners, Bill and Helen Eyre and friends from Shelburn, Ind., with Herbie in his trailer, then Bob’s sister Mary Ann and her daughter Pamela Frasure from Cleveland, Ohio. Everyone got busy getting the pavilion decorated with balloons, streamers, pictures and banners.
Early the next morning campers started rolling in; Ray and Kelly Morrin with their daughter Jamie Coleman, who was immediately named “Probie” due to this being her first ride at Stampede Run. Dave Hueing (a.k.a. Smiley, the one-week mule trainer) was with them. Jimmy Ray (aka Toady) and Mona Doolin, of Lancaster, Kent., Micheal Allen and Barbara Westphal, accompanied by the guest of honor, Brenda, Danny and Donna Dunn, and Jeff Jones, and many others soon arrived. The campground was filled up rapidly.
Following a BBQ, Brenda opened her gifts. I’ll just skip to the best present she received: a blue heeler, Foxy, presented by Stampede Run owners, Ricky and Darelene Hensley. Foxy had been the camp mascot for about three years and had ridden with us each time we had been at the camp. Brenda loved Foxy from the first time she saw her and had always wanted her. As for me…I saw Foxy as a new target to stomp if she got under my left hoof.
Thursday morning it was time to hit the trail. Darelene led us out for a great day, the scenery was even better than I remembered with streams to cross, rock ledges to follow, and overhangs to stop under for lunch.
When we arrived back in camp after Friday’s ride, and all us mules and horses had been cared for, fish cookers were fired up. Much to everyone’s dismay Saturday morning arrived too soon and we made our last ride on the trails. Following another good meal that evening, and sitting around a campfire, it was unanimous that everyone had a great time helping Brenda celebrate her birthday, seeing and riding with old friends, and making new ones for future trail rides.
Happy and safe trail riding to all!
(from the top) Brenda plays frisbee with Foxy. Bill Eyre riding Herbie. The campfire. Jamie Coleman (a.k.a. Probie) with her mule. The trailriders