Pretty close to the highest peak in Missouri, ”the Pilot”. We´re on top.
Jean, hitting the sack after a long day of riding.
Why the orange hunting vests? This was deer hunting season and our horses can look just like deer when conditions are right. It insures our safety.
One week earlier and it would have been bright reds, rust and yellows. Next year we wont miss peak foliage
Kirby riding Peter´s personal mule, Fidus.
Course we had to play cowboy and round them up.
On our way home we spotted a band of mares and foals.
We started our ride in the valley directly in front of the last ridge at the horizon. Marinated sliced vennison cooked on a flat rock and sandwiched between 2 crackers. Washed it down with cold beer. Doesn´t get better than that!
We´re on top of Missouri. This is Peter´s favorite place in the world. A place where he has taken a horse and a dog alone, 2X per year for the past 15 years.It´s the fuel he needs to be in front of so many people per year. He calls it ”Sam´s Rock”. In 1985, he watched an old mountain man named Sam take a whitetail buck from the rock behind him, all the way to the open patch of ground at the top right corner of the picture.
Peter´s ride is ”Shug” a sure footed Tennessee Walker who is extremely quick and responsive in the event that someone gets in trouble.
Once across the river we steadily headed uphill for close to two hours with a destination of ”the PILOT”. The highest spot in Missouri.
The Beaver Creek was up pretty high. Towards the middle, horses almost had to swim. The current took Peter´s dog, Chaka quite a ways down the river before he crossed.
Peter´s shoulder had him in the RV´s bed on night two instead of a cot. That night at about 2AM a few cows walked through our campsite.Before turning in, Peter told a true ”Deliverance” story about Doc, a man who Peter saw shooting down deer stands on his property.It was fall the man was in his boxers and using a machine gun. Jean slept through the tromping of the cows…but Kirby knew it was Doc and got absolutely no sleep!
Peter just had shoulder surgery and Ed and Dean came down a day earlier and set up camp for the group. We arrived to a warming bonfire.
Kirby Butler…who incedently, made Ralph Loren look weak.
Bacon, eggs, biscuits & gravy
Hildalga getting honery.
Peter & Ed, been riding partners since 1995.
Peter on a Missouri foxtrotting mule, Power. As usual Chaka waiting for instructions.
…and on muleback.
Peter demonstrating jumping (Power) a mule in hand, when the brush gets thick.
This was the Posse (from left to right) Kirby Butler from Tampa, Peter, Jean LaMore from Dallas and Ed Grey, KC. Students from South Africa and British Columbia, Canada cancelled last minute. So the group was small but we had a blast.
High tech cowboy on the cell phone checking stocks…Ed Grey riding Hildalga.
Cindy and her best friend Robbin.
The Frosty Mug´ll never be the same. We arrived at 11pm, took over the karaoke machine and DJ by midnight and stumbled out for fried egg sandwiches by 3am.
Ed…Peter…don´t give up your day jobs!
From left top: Jason Ayers of Admark International, Hawaii, Peter Leffkowitz Jerry Hellebusch of Morgan Hunter, Kansas, Jacqui Nabat of Bryant Bureau, Michigan, Paul Hare, Michigan. Bottom: Ed Grey of Red Rock Ranch, Missouri, Robbin Ratcliff of Tall Pony Ranch, MO, Cindy Leffkowitz, Jennifer Spicher of MSXI, Michigan and Monte Merz of High Country Executive Search, Colorado.
We had as much fun in the RV as we did anyplace else. Everyone was so compatible. Life long friends are made on this trip.
This was kind of a special moment. About 5 miles into our ride a micro burst hit the area. Torrential rains turned the trails into white water streams. Lightning hit the ground 50 yards in front of us. Some saw it touch down. We made it back with a great story to tell and hung out in Bryan Moore´s barn drying out and eating wet sandwiches and cutting up.
Primitive camping Morgan style.
Pay attention now…The horse that Monte is riding is not a western (cowboying) broke horse. He is a show jumper that we use for fox hunting and competition jumping. Peter coached Monte through a few how to´s and we let ol´ Maybe do his thing country style. ´Bout a 3 footer. You go, Monte.
Flipping deer steaks with a stick.
Although it may not look appealing, this is flat rock cooking at it´s best. Thinly sliced venison tenderloin marinated in brown sugar and seasoned salt for 2 days. 30 seconds on each side, throw it in a tortilla with jarlsburg cheese and you got yerself some gourmet vittles. Big chunks er´ spam!
About every 2 hours we´d rest the animals. This is where you see the difference between the stamina of a mule in comparison to horses. Mules hardly break a sweat, can carry 20% more weight than a horse, more stable in tight spots on a trail, won´t drink water when they are hot. I have had good horses of all breeds for a long time…but once you ride a well trained well bred mule…you won´t go back to a horse.
This picture was taken on top of the Pilot, the highest elevation in Missouri. This was our destination. Once up there, we cooked up some lunch, rested a while and then made the 3 hour trek back to camp.
Wild Jacqui Nabat, Snellings´ top producer of all time and honored member of Pinnacle Society..also 2005 winner of the ”fall off your mule” award!
These are actually 2 polished professionals!
Not a bad place for a break
Jason Ayers, CEO of Admark Asia, offices in Hawaii, Manilla, Tokyo and Shanghai, was a first time rider on this trip. Poor guys´ maiden trip was a 22 miler! He was a real trooper. Peter stayed close.
Peter and Monte trying to get into Hollywood!
Monte Merz from Denver, riding Maybe, big Quarterhorse that doubles as a hunter jumper at home.
Watering up before 22 miles of dry.
Peter keeps this little mule as a hunting/pack mule/babysitter for the grandkids. We call her Guzzler. She got her name because she can slam a beer in about 3 seconds.
The Moore Ranch, where our trip begins. The knob on the left is the Pilot, one of our destinations.
The Ozark Mountain Mule Ride Posse. From left: Jacqui Nabat, Paul Hare, Jerry Hellebusch, Jennifer Spicher, Monte Merz, Robbin Ratcliff, Ed Grey and Jason Ayers
This is Peter riding ”Pete”. His 4th ride out. ”Pete” is part of a wagon horse team. Peter is breaking him to be his own personal riding horse. The gray is a 7 year old. 3/4 Quarterhorse, 1/4 Percheron draft horse.
Jacqui Nabat was ass-igned, Fidette, a quick 4 year old mare mule.
Paul, got our biggest and baddest mule, Power
Jennifer Spicher and her fast steppin Tennessee Walker, Shug
People were assigned horses and spent some time with them when we arrived.
Heading south to Southern Missouri. These are the foothills of the Ozark Mountains.
She wasn´t more then 6 years old
We stopped in an Amish community to visit Joe Beechy,Peter´s friend who built the log cabin at Tall Pony. We had permission to take photo.
In the RV on the trip down. On the right is Jerry Hellebusch from Morgan Hunter Corporation. He was Peter´s 1st and only boss in the biz.