Fork’s Destiny Ashue, 9, was all smiles when she got to touch horses for her first time during the Annual Save the Trails event last month at Littleton Horse Camp. Hosted by Backcountry Horsemen’s Mt. Olympus and Peninsula chapters, she was overjoyed to be able to lead this mini-horse by herself, under the watchful eye of Mt. Olympus BCH Chapter member Wendy Brundle. (Karen Griffiths/Peninsula Daily News)

Fork’s Destiny Ashue, 9, was all smiles when she got to touch horses for her first time during the Annual Save the Trails event last month at Littleton Horse Camp. Hosted by Backcountry Horsemen’s Mt. Olympus and Peninsula chapters, she was overjoyed to be able to lead this mini-horse by herself, under the watchful eye of Mt. Olympus BCH Chapter member Wendy Brundle. (Karen Griffiths/Peninsula Daily News)

HORSEPLAY: Warm weather helps make ‘Share the trail’ a success

I HITCHED A ride with Kim Bues last month to the annual Share the Trail event hosted by the Mt. Olympus and Peninsula Chapters of Back Country Horsemen. It was a beautifully warm and sunny day — perfect weather to drive from Sequim past Lake Crescent to this year’s location at Littleton Horse Camp.

I’ve always found it a fun event, especially with its free crafts, face painting and pony rides for kids, along with educational booths about riding and hiking the Olympic National Park, Forest and Department of Natural Resource lands.

Upon arrival we were immediately drawn to the see the mules (both with beautiful smooth and glistening coats) and livestock packing demonstration by ONP trail program supervisor Larry Lack and Heidi Brill, the park’s lead packer and animal caretaker.

Brill refers to the park’s mules, which is sometimes as many as 40 mules, as “the freight trains of the wilderness,” because motor vehicles aren’t allowed for transport of materials in the national park, so mules are used instead.

A few years ago, they packed about a million dollars’ worth of stuff for a scientific study into Enchanted Valley for NASA, said Lack.

Larry Lack. Fun facts.

And now let me introduce you to Jack, John and Molly Mule. When we spoke with the Olympic National Park’s mule I was reminded intact mules are referred to as Jack, a gelded mule is John and a female is Molly. The mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse.

Incidentally, donkeys are classified as asses. Jacks are male asses, hence the name jackasses.

Lynette Ashur stopped by with her after seeing a flyer advertising the event in Forks. She said seeing horses up close, and getting to pet, love on and lead around a mini horse around the camp ground was a dream come true for daughter Destiny, 9. I have to say Destiny seemed to a natural horseman the way she handled herself with the horse.

Lunch was available through donation. While Kim and I were enjoying our chili dogs we, and all in attendance, were treated to singing and corny jokes provided by the always entertaining Dave and Rosalie Secord. While spying a couple who, after their meal, had fallen asleep in their chairs listening to the music (which is actually quite lively) Sherry Baysinger chuckled, noting, “Pretty cheap therapy — horses and music!”

Horse naysayer

Heads up folks! It seems Clallam County Parks’ Dungeness Recreation Area Park Manager John Graham is writing proposals to fellow Park managers suggesting horses NOT be allowed to ride the trails anymore at Dungeness Park, nor along the beach (The Spit) at the Dungeness Recreation Area.

I have a copy of a letter he wrote to CC Park’s Don Crawford and Tom Reyes, in which he wrote horses sharing the trails with people walking their dogs, as well as bikes, is a “Time bomb waiting to go off with an accident.”

In his letter, it’s obvious he is not a fan of horses in general, as he states horses “rip up trails and lawns we have to repair.”

Boohoo, right? Perhaps next he’ll want to ban bicyclists because they’re faster than walkers, so could be a crash waiting to happen. Or perhaps dogs because a walker could trip over its leash.

To his credit, Graham did send a copy of his letter to Sherry Baysinger, asking her to pass it along to all of the BCH Chapter members who will be affected by this decision.

Both parks are managed by Graham. Contact him for more information at 360-683-5487 or ccpdu@olypen.com.

Layton Hill Events

Several upcoming events for Layton Hill Horse Camp. Privately owned, it has direct access to miles of trails, obstacles an outdoor arena, and camping spaces with corrals. Located at 2514 Chicken Coop Road, Sequim. For more information and costs on all events go to https://www.facebook.com/laytonhillhorsecamp. Book camping reservations at www.hipcamp.com and select Layton Hill.

On Sunday, June 25, attend a Youth Trails Clinic hosted by the Peninsula Chapter of Back Country Horsemen at Layton Hill Horse Camp. Families can have a “Horse Camp” experience close to home for the whole family, and will be included in a Saturday night campfire with s’mores. Geared to equestrians ages 10-18, the Saturday clinic will include five sections: trail riding safety, trail obstacles, Leave No Trace Principles, sharing trails with other user groups, and using basic tools for trail maintenance. Some classes will be mounted, so kids will need to bring a horse and have some riding experience. The cost for each family is $50, which includes classes and Saturday camping at Layton Hill. Up to 4 kids are included in the $50 fee. A parent or guardian must be in attendance at all times for participants younger than 12. Scholarships are available. Email Kim Merrick to register at eloise55@gmail.com or call 253-261-6188.

On Saturday, July 29, at 2 p.m. help OPEN fill its hay barn by attending its third Annual OPEN the Trails fundraiser and campout at Layton Hill Horse Camp. There will be games, raffle prizes, demonstrations by equine professionals, dinner, campfire social and live music. Come for the afternoon and evening or camp out and explore the trails.

“We hope to be able to fill our barn this summer with a year’s worth of hay like we did last year,” said Valerie Jackson, co-founder. Tickets are $50 for adults (kids are free with paid adult) and available at www.olypenequinennet.org.

Click donations and select Event Tickets. Book camping at www.hipcamp.com and select Layton Hill.

Aug. 25-27 is Ride the Hill and Hillbilly Hoedown. Friday includes dinner and a movie in the meadow. Saturday’s events include trail rides and Hillbilly Games in the arena, Hillbilly moonshine, a dinner that includes Possum Pie & Squirrel Gritts and entertainment by The Jimmy Hoffman Band. Registration and payment by Aug. 10. For more information email annasacres@gmail.com.

Sept. 18-19 is a Competitive Mountain Orienting ride and campout. CMO Ride managers are Wendy Brundle 360-808-1503 and Sherry Brown 360-496-4400 or sherrybrown89@msn.com. CMO Web site is www.nacmo.org/ introduction.php.

________

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

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

Mac Wilholm had a blast painting sparking light blue “toe nail polish, “a paint the color of her own cowgirl boots, on Bella the pony owned by Jan Whitlow during May’s Save the Trails event hosted by local Back Country Chapters in cooperation with Olympic National Park and Forest, plus Department of Natural Resources. (Karen Griffiths/Peninsula Daily News)

Mac Wilholm had a blast painting sparking light blue “toe nail polish, “a paint the color of her own cowgirl boots, on Bella the pony owned by Jan Whitlow during May’s Save the Trails event hosted by local Back Country Chapters in cooperation with Olympic National Park and Forest, plus Department of Natural Resources. (Karen Griffiths/Peninsula Daily News)

Olympic National Park’s Trail Maintenance Supervisor Larry Lack and Lead Packer Heidi Brill, shown with gear typically used when packing mules and other livestock in the back country. They offered demonstrations throughout the day at the Save the Trails event. (Karen Griffiths/Peninsula Daily News)

Olympic National Park’s Trail Maintenance Supervisor Larry Lack and Lead Packer Heidi Brill, shown with gear typically used when packing mules and other livestock in the back country. They offered demonstrations throughout the day at the Save the Trails event. (Karen Griffiths/Peninsula Daily News)

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