A life long love of horses has taken Shannon many interesting places and given her the opportunity to meet a wide range of people. Having started riding lessons in England at the age of six,then moving back to the U.S. in 1981. After years of showing Hunters and in All-Around divisions on the Quarter Horse Circuit she started trail riding, judging open horse shows and teaching horsemanship at 4-H camp.
A desire to try something new led her to mules and she has been hooked on the long ears ever since. Today she owns three Belgian Draft Mules and one Mammoth Donkey. She trail rides, shows English and Western, rides in parades, packs, drives and will try anything at least once with her mules.
Yesterday Dressage Trainer and Instructor Claudia Coombs came out to help me and Seven get ready for some Dressage Shows we are going to attend. She gave me some things to work on with him and we rode till we could not see each other anymore because it was so dark! FUN! I met Claudia when a mutual friend of ours put us in contact because she wanted to learn more about mules. So we are helping each other out!
Thanks so much for all your help Claudia! Here is a neat photo of Claudia riding Seven:
Sounds like a cool Bar or Restaurant we would like to visit, doesn't it?
I saw this Very Blue Mushroom while riding Seven in the Uwharrie National Forest with my mule club in the Fall of 2008. I found it very interesting and so I took a photo of it and did some research on the Internet. I found Dr. Tom Volk, Professor of Biology at University of Wisconsin.
I had a great Birthday, had fun all weekend, taking Seven to two mule shows.
Friday night we left and tried to beat the sun going down and the rain starting. We did and I got all settled in my bed when the rains came. Seven stayed mostly dry because I let him camp under the awning. He kept standing with his rear end sticking out and got that part of him soaked!
Denton Farm Park in Denton, NC holds a nice Mule and Draft horse day the end of October. They have crafts for sale, demonstrations of wood cutting, singing, dancing and of course plowing and a mule show. They also have a full sized steam train and 3 miles of track. It is a very relaxing and neat place to be. There were some really nice mules from Ohio there so the competition was deep. I was pleased with Seven’s rides especially since we had not practiced very much. Seven got a third in the trail class!
At Noon they had a planned robbing of the General Store that was about 200 feet from where we were having the mule show. We stopped the show but most of us just stood around with our mules. The mules did great with all the gun fire! I jumped more than Seven did! As the actors moved towards the Church at the end of the little “main street” a little rabbit came running out from under the church. Of course that caught everyone’s attention. He ran right in front of me and Seven and under Karen’s horse trailer and then darted across the arena and into the woods. Poor thing was scared to death! The whole crowd laughed and watched the rabbit rather than the show!
I did get to play with my friend James McLamm’s trick mule's toys on Sat afternoon. With me on the ground Seven jumped up on a pedestal about 2 1/2 foot high and put his front feet up on a small dinner plate sized one too. I was very proud of him. That Chris Cox "Direct and Drive" and the words Load Up did the trick! He also crossed a teeter –totter bridge for me several times.
At the State Fair show on Sunday, we lost steering before the Ranch riding class and then the Right lead went out before the reining, but it is all good because we did not, but came close, run over the Judge!Seven gets tired and wants to go home and things the out gate is much more appealing than what ever we are doing in the ring. Need less to say we did some schooling on right hand turns and right leads after the last class. I got home around 8:30 and got mostly unpacked! Time to clean the trailer out, get some wash done and start packing for Leatherwood!!! YEA!!!
The first weekend of June, 2007 I went to a place called Fire's Creek in the very western corner of NC near Murphy. It took me 7 1/2 hours to drive home! I stayed at a friend’s place (THANKS Dr. Jim!) the night I left and finished the drive the next morning. The directions were ok but the road signs were really bad! I turned on to the wrong Forest Road, which ended a mile down a one-lane gravel road. There was no place to even think about turning my 24 foot trailer around! First I wanted to cry, then I was wondering if I could get a Ranger to help, then I thought about setting up camp and riding my mule to find help! But decided I wanted out now so, I had to start backing! I backed a long way and the road started going back down a little hill. The trailer would slide about 2-3 feet down the gravel hill each time I hit the breaks! That was scary because at the bottom of the hill and around a corner was a little bridge that I had just barely driven over going forward! Somehow I made it across the bridge and also made another sharp turn to the right! Once I got most of the way backed out of the road I found place to pull in and try to turn around. I backed on to the second bridge and took a hard turn to the left. Put the trailer in a ditch but I made the turn. The truck could not get the trailer out of the ditch. I had to take poor Seven out of the trailer and walk him down the road and tie him to a tree. (I wonder what he was thinking about all this!) I was able to pull back and forward about twenty times to get the trailer moved over onto the road. Then I walked down to rescue Seven, who jumped right back on the trailer for me. I was then able to make it back the road I incorrectly turned off. Unfortunately, that turn could not be made either so I had to go several miles back down the one-lane Forest Road to a place where I could turn around! The whole thing added two hours to my trip! Boy was I glad to find the horse camp! Needless to say, my trailer and I are fully bonded and I feel as if I can take it anywhere now!I had a wonderful ride and met a lot of great (horse) people! So it was well worth it! Seven and I went to test for the American Trail Horse Association (www.trailhorse.com) 7 levels of trail training. We passed all 7 of the levels! There is a pretty trail called the Rim Trail that goes all the way around the mountains in that area. We rode about a 1/4 of it. There is a nice primitive campsite and a very nice horse club who would be willing host us! I would love to bring the CMA back and to do some riding or a pack trip around the whole Rim. I promise that I will hang some signs or ribbons if we host a ride here so no one else gets into the kind of trouble I did!
Skid marks from sliding down the hill! Small bridge I had to back over! Many waterfalls on the trails! Mountain Laurel in full bloom!