Monday, June 16, 2014

Mules at the UHCA

by Lenice Basham
Belle, Mo. - PairADice Mules

Pat Keck on Sandy
At an Ultimate Horsemen's Challenge Association event held in Collins, Mo., there were mules in almost every class.  According to the coordinator, Josh Rushing, this was the largest number of mules they had ever had in attendance to compete.  The event was held at Eagle  Ranch which is a beautiful campground outside Collins, Mo., with nice camping and box stalls.  There were two courses set among the creek and rolling hills. 
The UHCA has eight division of riders and the divisions are split between the two courses.  Their website indicates that the challenges, ".... challenge both horse and rider to maneuver through a series of obstacles, while demonstrating skill, finesse, horsemanship and speed."  (  I believe this is an accurate description of the type of event that was held.   The challenges are designed with the age group of the competitor in mind.  The Buckaroo class is for youth riders 5-11.  There are very specific challenges that can be used in this course.  The riders in this division are tough riders and easily completed the four or five obstacles that were on the course.  There is also a novice division to this association which is for riders who have not previously earned performance points or money. 
Loren and I headed to the event on Friday evening and spent a nice evening in the campground.  Some of the other mule competitors arrived a couple days early and had been spending their days riding the beautiful trails available at Eagle Ranch.  The walk throughs were held bright and early Saturday morning and the event was over by 5:00 that evening. 
The mules all did very well, with the highest mule placing going to Pat Keck from Springfield, Mo on her young mule, Sandy.  She placed 2nd in the Novice Division out of 13 riders.  Wes Coffel of  Mound City, Kansas placed 4th in the Classic Division.  All of the other mules placed in their classes.  The event is a nice family event that allows all level of riders to compete.
The challenges in the various events were imaginative as well as allowing the rider to demonstrate their skills.  The courses held those challenges that you would expect to see - bridge crossing, crossing sticks/logs/timbers, raincoats and loading in a trailer.  The classic, intermediate and open course had a dummy in a jail and the rider had to pull a rope while backing while pulling the rider out of the jail into the air and then going forward and lowering the dummy.  I was surprised that this did not effect any of the horses or mules.  The same course had a large ball in a round pen and the rider had to get the mule to kick the ball in a circle uphill through a space along the round pen.  (The heavy wind did not assist in this activity.) Marsha Coleman, Fulton, Mo.,  and one of her mules did it quickly and with little effort.   The riders also had to drag a barrel through pylons and for some this was easier than others.
There are events in this association all summer long.  If you are interested - check out the website.  Rushing had indicated that a mule division may be able to be added if there is a continued increase in the number of mules in attendance.  I think the mules are doing great, however, competing with the horses.  Hope to see you at the next event!
 Loren Basham on Sandy
Judy Coffel
 Marsha Coleman on Sophie
Wes Coffel
Pat Keck on Sandy

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