Goal Met...It’s About Time

by Bob Ammons, Almo, Ky.
It has been almost nine months since I had a massive stroke while camping/volunteering at Wranglers Horse Camp in Land Between the Lakes in western Kentucky. The stroke left me paralyzed on my right side, unable to talk, and it affected my eyesight. It has been quite an experience and one I have discovered never ends. Thanks to my wife Brenda and to our many friends the journey has been much easier. Every time I start to get depressed I get a card from one of the readers of Mules and More or one of our friends stops by and that has been all I have needed to get up and keep trying.
Having enjoyed good heath for all my 63 years, it was hard for me to believe how happy I would be over just being able to move my toe or a few weeks later to raise my foot a couple inches off the bed. I will never again forget to be thankful for my health or to take my health for granted. One of my goals from the beginning was to be able to ride again.  During my physical therapy we would sometimes focus on exercises that would enable me to raise my leg high enough to clear a saddle.  I just never thought about all the muscles and brain control involved in riding my mule...riding just seemed like a natural thing to do, I was wrong.
Returning to Wranglers Camp this spring has made my recovery faster and more enjoyable. The down side was watching everyone ride out of camp and not being with them. I have written many articles about Wranglers Camp over the years but one thing I never mentioned and never thought I would need is the handicap mounting ramps in camp.  In my mind those mounting ramps were there because the government required them, never to be used but required none the less. Well I'm here to tell you the mounts work and I am glad Wranglers has them. The time came for me to try my luck at mounting and riding again. While several of my friends watched, Brenda led Molly Shakespear to the handicap mount and with some trial and error I got in the saddle and rode, IT WAS ABOUT TIME. Just like taking my first steps again, Brenda was quietly watching with tears streaming. I could not have got on Molly S. without the handicap mounts.
After I experienced how well the mounting ramps worked I asked Jamie Thweatt, assistant manager at Wranglers, "Where did the design come from to build the handicap mounts?" Jamie told me he had used the best features of several designs and combined them into the ones built at Wranglers.  I am so grateful for the chance to ride again. The mounting ramps and Molly Shakespear were the combination that I needed. I can always count on Molly S.
Now that I know I can stay in the saddle, I am ready to hit the trails. Brenda has agreed that I get Molly Shakespear back as my mule. Molly is the mule we depend on for any task no matter how difficult. Libby is a well trained mule but she likes to make sure you are awake when out on the trails. Also, Libby is the mule you want when you have a long way to go and a short time to get there. I am pretty excited to have Molly Shakespear back.  Now all I need is for my buddy, Bill Eyre, to get better so that we can get Herbie and Molly back on the trails together.  All in good time my friends...