ONLY ON 3: Families want money back from horse camp that moved

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Submitted: Mon, 08/01/2011 - 9:10pm
Updated: Mon, 08/01/2011 - 10:26pm

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.


  • anne says:

    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!

  • Deidre says:

    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.

  • Sharon Rooks says:

    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.

  • Guest242424 says:

    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!!

  • burned by rooks says:

    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

  • Guest82 says:

    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.

  • windy says:

    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?

  • Guest215 says:

    no comment here on that place

  • mello says:

    What idiots. Murrayville isn’t far from Burgaw. They want the money back so badly they will sue, costing more money and taxing a strained system. Great strategy and American stupidity at finest.

  • SUSAN says:

    Why didn’t Rooks tell the parents she was moving? It would have taken more than 1 day to move horses and set up at another barn, so if she thought it wouldnt have been a problem for the parents to take their children she would have told them and not let them find out on their own. The parents are looking at least 80 miles a day to drive their children to and from camp I agree with the parents they should get their money back they didnt pay for a camp in Burgaw.

  • Guest4396 says:

    The location was implied if not guaranteed when the parents planked down the money. If the riding program was going to move to a different location, the parents should have been told. They deserve to get a refund. Also, where is there any cost to the taxpayer if it does go to court? Maybe you need to find out how things work before you refer to someone else as “stupid”.

  • GuestLee says:

    Although I do side with the parents on this issue, it does bring to mind the phrase…..”Buyer Beware!”

    It would be interesting to know whether they had a written contract or a verbal agreement.

  • Nay says:

    I side with the parents on this. A full refund is in order. I would want to be close by and in Wilmington in case of an emergency.

    The Murrayville location is what they paid for. If the business can not deliver on that part of the agreement, then they need to refund the customer’s money.

  • bGuest says:

    No, they paid for horse camp, not the location.

  • Morgan says:

    The parents definitely deserve a refund. With gas prices being what they are, it would be prohibitive to drop a kid off in the next county and then drive all the way back to pick them up after camp. Murrayville Road is a good distance from Burgaw.

    As a horse owner myself, I’d urge anyone considering instruction or lessons to do a thorough check on the reputation of a potential instructor or camp.

    It sounds like “Shady” Paddocks is appropriately named….

  • M.M. says:

    The distance between Murrayville Road and Burgaw is great enough that the parents deserve a refund. I cannot believe the previous commenter is turning the parents into the bad guys here. Rather than condemning the parents, perhaps the person defending Ms. Rooks should ask themselves why the camp was suddenly moved. Has Ms. Rooks been forced to move her horses/camp before due to her failing to meet her obligations? People who plan well do not suddenly change the venue of a camp and then only give families a one day notice.

    Parents expect to drop their kids off at camp and pick them up later. To expect parents to drive from New Hanover to Pender in the morning and then again in the afternoon to pick them up is wrong. I can understand why the parents want their money back. I do not understand why Ms. Rooks is refusing, unless, of course, she’s already spent it and no longer has those funds available.

    All around, this is bad business. Very bad business

  • Guest111 says:

    sounds shady indeed.

  • WilliamSmith says:

    By your logic, I can collect money for any camp saying it will be here, then at last minute say “um by the way its moved to California.”


  • Challengetheworld says:

    Deal with all the negative advertising for your horse camp or give two little families their money back? Hmmm…struggling small business, wonder why?

  • JohnWayne says:

    As a rule of thumb, people who want to crawl on the back of another animal and ride it, I don’t trust them. Off the subject, I also don’t trust gingers – anyone who has red hair and freckles, I don’t trust them.

  • One Guest says:

    I think people should do their homework and find out if Rooks has bounced from barn to barn. It’s not just parents who should take heed, but potential boarders. She will sully the name of any farm she uses as her base of operations. Just sayin….

  • susan says:

    Definately take the advice of the last person. I am familiar with Rooks and she does indeed bounce from barn to barn and has been forced to leave several. Be very careful about the barns in this town, there are several “shady” ones. know the reputation before giving your money and your children over to their care. they are out to rip you off and take your money and have no qualms about it, with limited horse knowledge as well. beware!!

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