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Belgian Visitors to Mid-South


By Tommy Brannon

Summer horse camps have been in full swing this season with many happy campers getting new horse experiences. One camp, Oak Hill Stables in Oxford, Mississippi, is not just a day camp, but also offers bunkhouse accommodations for long-term horse campers.  This allows participants to come from near and far. Far, perhaps, is the operative word here.

Sisters Elis D’Echallens, age 17, and Charlotte D’Echallens, age 12, came from Lasne, Belgium to the Mississippi hill country to enjoy the camp at Oak Hill Stables. Laura Sale, director of Oak Hill Stables Bed & Breakfast, said that she often gets summer campers from all over the United States, and this is not the first time she has had international guests.

Elis said she has taken five years of English in school and, thus, is able to help translate for her younger sister, who does not speak English. This is not her first trip to the United States either, but it is her first to Mississippi.

Lara said that Elis’ and Charlotte’s father owns a boarding stable in Lasne, so that both have had plenty of time in the saddle, but neither had previously competed in a horse show. She explained that in Belgium, they do not have small schooling shows as we have in the U.S. One has to be almost at the “A” level of horsemanship to get into competition. So, Laura has a solution for that problem. Each year she takes her campers to the horse show at Oak View Stables near Olive Branch, Mississippi at the end of the camp session. Here, the sisters got an opportunity to show over fences, riding Sherlock and Chip.  

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