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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Two families say their kids were giddy about going to horse camp this summer when their plans came to a screeching halt. Because of a sudden change in location, the neighbors say carpooling wouldn’t even change the distance problem. Now, they say they just want their money back.

Pat Clark and Trish Salvant were all set to send their kids to Shady Paddocks Stables in Wilmington for horse camp when they found out from the camp’s website that the facility had moved to Burgaw.

When the two families decided to enroll their five kids in the camp, the barn was just down the road from their homes on Murrayville Road in New Hanover County. The night before their camp was scheduled to start, they found out the camp had moved to a stable in Burgaw.

“Sunday, the day before camp, my friend Pat called me and asked if I knew the camp had moved to Burgaw,” Salvant said. “She found out on the website, and that’s when everything went wrong.”

Salvant says she understands the hardships facing small businesses during the tough economic times that we live in today, but she just wants her money back.

Camp owner Sharon Rooks says she offered both families many options so that the kids could still participate in the activities they had been looking forward to.

“I’m willing to give Saturday, Sunday, whenever people can come if they have a special need,” Rooks said.

Salvant says although she appreciates the accommodations, they did not suit her and her family. She says Rooks told her she would return the money. Later Salvant found out it would not be. She says this is not acceptable.

“A week and a half went by. I didn’t receive my refund, so I called her, and at that point she told me she was not going to give me my refund,” Salvant said. “So that’s what brought us to you. We want to get our money back.”

Rooks says she has still been holding camps this summer with many happy clients. She says although she knows the change of venue was unexpected, she does not plan to return the money because she still offered the camp.

“I had to have a change of venue unexpectedly, however, we’re still open for business,” Rooks said. “We’re still providing the same services. It’s a short drive from Wilmington. It doesn’t take long to get here, and I’m about to open a new barn a couple of miles down the road.”

Both sides have talked with lawyers. They say they plan to go to the legal system to settle the dispute.

Comment on this Story

  • Deidre

    I used to ride here and I found out soon after my first ‘Camp’ lesson that it was just a scam- I rode for only 15 minutes one day- And am now a part of Circle K Stables. Shady Paddocks has a lack of horses, too many riders, and quite the large ego on themselves for just a little riding stable. Circle K has many horses and it is clean and there are actually instructors out giving the lesson quite conveniently, instead of in a house or…. ‘Out’. The stables I now ride at also provide horses, NOT ponies of 14-10 hands. I ride a half percheron gelding now, from a small pony I cannot even name the breed of. I rode for a few amount of months, and when I did I found that Mrs. Rooks also FAVORED other children over the others, and let them ride all day- And made us give up who we where riding- just so they could ride some more. I was very, very, VERY unsatisfied. If I could get a refund, believe me, I could really use it.

  • windy

    You should have made the refund IMMEDIATELY … not “when you had the funds.” What did you do with the money when they gave it to you, besides use it to rip them off? What you did was wrong and criminal, plain and simple. No one should have had to wait to receive their refund. Had this not made the news, you probably would have never refunded anyone at all. As for your comment that you did not “intentionally” do anything wrong, keeping their money until you felt like refunding it was rather “intentional,” don’t you think?

  • Sharon Rooks

    This is the third time I have addressed this issue and my comment hasn’t been posted or responded to. I refunded Pat Clark and Trish Salvant the money they had paid for horse camp back in October as soon as I had the funds. I had told them before this story aired I wasn’t sure when I could give them their money back, however I still would do anything I could to accommodate them as I could not discuss the problem at that time that led me to a very sudden change in venue. I still refuse to tell other people’s problems or business to the public even if it harms me. This news channel and the parties involved have not updated this story to reflect the payment was made a long time ago. Would someone please correct this error? I did not intentionally do anything wrong, and still managed to offer a horse camp and deliver it to many happy children, overcoming circumstances beyond my control. I have called and written several times now. Please correct this error. Thank you.

  • anne

    This is now old news but one question did come to my mind about the whole thing – which cost more – repaying the money up front or the bad publicity that you caused yourself? Just asking!

  • Guest215

    no comment here on that place

  • Guest82

    I agree that this is bad business. Is it really that hard to be honest? I’m so glad I board at Shingleton; no drama or fear of getting ripped off, just good honest people.

  • burned by rooks

    I can count about 5 barns that she has been to in the past 5 years. she just screwed over a good friend of mine who owns a barn also. she can not stay at one barn for long as she just screws everyone. i know many barns that she has asked to get into that have just said NO to her. I feel bad for the owners of this new barn that she is at cause she will just screw them also. plus in my opinion, she does not teach good horsemanship or riding. having seen her horses and riders at local shows, they are just dangerous to both themselves and the other riders in the ring. do your homework. there are many reputable trainers in the area and sharon rooks is def not one of them

  • Guest242424

    Give those parents there money back Mrs.Rooks. What kind of business are you running not telling them you would be relocating to anther place. Was it because you KNEW you wouldn’t get as many campers due to the new location (Burgaw)? It looks like you hid it to get money to help out with the move. Wow that’s good for business!! I guess you thought nobody would mind the extra money they would have to spend on gas since it’s so cheap these days! What you are offering them now is NOT what you where offering them before you took there money !!! Do the right thing GIVE IT BACK!!

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