Thursday, July 23, 2009

WWE Wrestlers at the NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine?

At work I was contacted by Make-A-Wish Foundation in need of an equine and a location for a photo shoot for three kids to meet their favorite WWE Wrestlers.
I only knew one equine for the Job -Sadie Mae!

On July 20th the Equine Health Program (whom I work for) hosted the kids from Make-A-Wish for a photo shoot and lunch with two WWE Wrestlers at the NCSU CVM. Clothes for the photos were provided by Wrangler who is a sponsor of WWE.
It turned into a magical day. The rain stopped just in time and the kids were truly surprised by WWE World Champion Wrestler Kofi Kingston and WWE Wrestler Diva Mickie James. She is a horseback rider and sat on mule Sadie Mae for part of the photo shoot.

Kofi had to be talked in to getting on Sadie Mae and it was quite funny. He held his World Champion WWE Wrestling Belt while he rode her.
Sadie who was looking like a Diva herself, was like a rock the whole time. She put up with a microphone on a pole, snapping, popping and flashing of big light bulbs, 25 people all around her. At one point a camera man tripped and landed, camera and all right in front of Sadie. She hardly blinked an eye at it all.
We are honored to have been able to make this event happen for the kids and also to share with the Make-A-Wish, Wrangler and WWE group the great things that go on here at the CVM. Several tours where given and the kids got to see the skeletons and other displays in the school.

For more information on our Eastern North Carolina Chapter of Make-A-Wish visit:

Photo of the beginning of the photo shoot!

One of the Make-A-Wish Kids got a ride and gave us a BIG SMILE!

Navarre Baby Pictures

Navarre born Oct. 26th, 2007 - My Birthday too!
Navarre and his Mother Gigi -two days old - Check out how his ear is bent under her chin.
Here is another one of him at two days old, check out that coal black hair and knobby knees!

Sue sent me this photo of Navarre when he was about 5 month old.
Can you even tell there is a donkey under all that hair!
People are telling me he looks like a Donkey/Alpaca cross or a Donkey/Poodle Cross! I agree!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ladies Leatherwood Weekend!

Stacey, Donna, Holly, Jane, Bev and me! Four Mules and One Short Ear!
It was a little hot when we first arrived to unload and tack up but as soon as we got on the trail things cooled off. Riding along the side of streams and in the shade we just picked which trails we wanted to ride as we came to them!
That evening we made our way up to the cabin and met up with Stacey who was already moved in and was cooking! We moved in and checked out the new addition on the Palomar Cabin. Some took a dip in the hot tub and enjoyed the view. Soon we sat down to a wonderful meal of steak burger, potatos, squash and other goodies. After a trip down the mountain to feed and check on the mules, Stacey had her home made Cheese Cake ready for everyone!
Early Saturday morning we had some fresh bagels, fruit and packed a sandwich for lunch. We rode out at 8:30AM after some photos taken by Lizzy from Leatherwood. We took the Ambush Trail in the hopes of spotting a Mountain Lion that was sited there a few days ago. No such Luck! But it was a pretty and cool (in the 60's) for most of the morning. We got to our lunch pasture called High Pad but barely got our sandwiches down before some guys showed up to mow the pasture. We spend the rest of the afternoon winding down the mountain. Saturday night at the cabin, another wonderful dinner from Stacey, more cheese cake and some hot tub time! Sunday we packed up but not bare to leave the cabin until check out time! So we sat and talked and enjoyed the wonderful views! Another short ride before heading home to the Hot Land!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Magical Southern Mule Adventure!

By Guest Blogger: Judy Reynolds, Oregon

Thanks to Shannon, I just experienced a Magical Southern Mule Adventure that I will never forget! We have been emailing for a year or so, about mules, Shannon has given me some good tips about mule behavior and training – I have a nine year old Molly mule named Ruby. We got introduced, via email because Shannon now works for Dr. Mansmann, whom I used to work for when his practice was in California.
I had to fly from Oregon to Nashville for a radio interview for the book I wrote ( and Shannon invited me to join her for a mule adventure – turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

My flight came in around 10pm at Raleigh Airport—but the luggage decided to hold back, so we had to stick around until nearly midnight to retrieve it before heading to Shannon’s little farm. Up with the birds the next morning to load up Shannon’s two wonderful mules, Sadie and Seven, for the five hour dive to Tryon, NC, in an area called the Foothills because it is hilly and at the foot of the Smokey Mountains. There sweet Holly and kindly Bruce hosted us as their guests for two days of trail riding.

Tryon is true horse country. With a population of just 1300, it has 250 miles of private trails. These trails are open only to residents and their guests. They are for horse travel only. During the two days, we covered quite a bit of territory. We crossed creeks and sat by waterfalls. We rode high ridges with pine trees and rust red soil. We rode past huge, historic mansions with vast, rolling green pastures and picture perfect scenes of equines at play. Our mules traversed deep forests (including a stand of bamboo!), rode past cross country jumps, saw the backside of a big horse show and met only three other riders during two days.

Our first day we set out from Holly and Bruce’s place, down a big hill and through a creek, then up into the woods. Shannon’s mule Sadie was my first ride. She’s a lady, a kindly packer who would make anyone feel comfortable on a mule. She knew her job and was polite as can be—although she’s a big girl with an appetite and just couldn’t resist grabbing at a passing leaf or grass clump from time to time! Her trot was like riding in a Cadillac, though her canter is such a rolling event that you need to ride it in the two-point position. At the end of that ride, Shannon put me on Seven, her big dressage mule. He rounded up so nicely I could tell right away this was a very well trained character who had all the bells and whistles if you took a bit of time to find them.

The next day, Libby Johnson of Tryon (who writes a newsletter about the community) joined us for her first mule ride ever (on Sadie). Shannon rode one of Holly’s mules, Holly rode another of her own, Bob the trail master (a neighbor and friend) was on his spunky Tennessee Walking Horse and I got to ride Seven. He was as much a gentleman as Sadie was a lady and didn’t make one false move during the entire nine hour ride. Yes, you heard that right…nine hours in the saddle we were, getting off occasionally to walk helped relieve some stiffness. Libby was an absolute trooper about the extending ride time, as were all the mules. Shannon rode through a buck, all the more impressive for it being on the steep side of a hill, her mule got punched with a sharp stick.

Kudos to Bob and Holly for not getting us lost…we barely crossed the same path twice…and my deepest thanks to Shannon, Sadie and Seven for this incredible mule adventure! Mules are more than just sure footed—they are really fun!