Freedom Farm’s Hoof Beats club members ride horses on the beach at the farm’s annual Horsemanship Camp in Ocean City. The riders, from left, are Lily Robertson, Mary Gallagher, Elly Dam, Elise Dean, Grace Niemeyer, Grace Mitchell and Maddie Niemeyer.

Freedom Farm’s Hoof Beats club members ride horses on the beach at the farm’s annual Horsemanship Camp in Ocean City. The riders, from left, are Lily Robertson, Mary Gallagher, Elly Dam, Elise Dean, Grace Niemeyer, Grace Mitchell and Maddie Niemeyer.

HORSEPLAY: Horses and their humans enjoy beach ride

SUNSET WAS FALLING outside my home when I heard the clip clop sound of horse hooves on the road.

My dogs heard it too and went barreling out their dog door to investigate.

When I heard the horse’s neighing and whinnying I decided I needed to step out to see what all the fracas was about.

There was neighbor Kris Phillips trying to calm her nervously prancing white Icelandic horse.

Standing on my back porch I yelled out, “Hey Kris.”

As her horse turned a little circle I heard her mumble, “the horses running, the dogs barking and the elk are a little much for him to take in right now.”


She motioned to my neighbor’s pasture across the street. There stood eight male elk.

“Wow … they are so majestic. Look at those racks,” I said, referring to the size of their antlers.

We both agreed a very special part of living in Happy Valley is getting to see an elk herd up close.

Phillips recently returned from camping and riding on the beach on the Long Beach Peninsula with her sister and their horses.

Coincidentally, she was in the area about the same time Mary Gallagher took her advanced Hoof Beats Team and their horses to Ocean City for a special Horsemanship Camp.

Beach ride

There, the team fed, watered and cared for their own mounts.

Mornings started off with ground work sessions to advance their skills in liberty and online horsemanship skills.

That was followed by rides on beach where the group would play games designed to improve their riding skills.

“There is always a game that requires a short gallop down the beach, which is, of course, everyone’s favorite,” Gallagher said.

“After the beach we return to camp and make lunch and nap or quiet down. Horses get lunch and rest, too.”

Once rested they learn and work on health and hoof care, equipment care and more.

“All our students are learning to trim and maintain their own horse’s feet,” said Gallagher.

She and husband, Jerry Schmidt, offer hands-on classes on horse hoof trimming and care at the farm.

This camp is special and reserved only for Hoof Beats students and has become an annual event for the past 14 years.

Gallagher lauded Cindy Floor for, “so generously hosting us every year.”

Horsemanship clinic

Heron Pond Farm, on Green Way in Port Townsend, will be hosting a Greg Eliel Horsemanship clinic Tuesday and Wednesday.

Eliel is a fourth-generation cattle rancher who worked with Buck Brannaman from 1989-93.

Throughout his lifetime of experience refining his training techniques, Eliel has mastered a very successful step-by-step program to educate both human and horse that is easy to assimilate and user-friendly.

For more information, visit his website at Grege

He will be teaching two three-hour group sessions each day.

Group one starts at 9 a.m. and group two starts at 1:30 p.m.

The cost for both days is $250.

Auditors are $25 a day or $40 for both days.

There is a family discount of $10 per day for each additional family member.

The price for PonyClub and 4-H members is $25 for both days.

To register, contact Christine Headley at 360-286-9256 or [email protected]


• Layton Hill Horse Camp’s 2018 Ride the Hill — Aug. 24- 26 at 2514 Layton Hill Road, Sequim

Camp sites (dry camp; water is available), a barbecue and all the riding you want.

Meals will be provided and there will be live music, a wine and cheese tasting, and an outdoor movie.

To register or for more information, call Anna Neal at 425-737-7404 or email [email protected]

There is also more information at www.laytonhill

• Annual Littleton Horsecamp and Mount Mueller trail ride — Hosted by Back Country Horsemen Olympus Chapter from Sept. 21 -23.


Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears the second and fourth Sunday of each month.

If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at [email protected] at least two weeks in advance. You can also call her at 360-460-6299.

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