Contemporary Legend – Hoofbeat Ridge Camp, Mazomanie, Wisconsin

When I was younger I would go to a sleep-away camp called, Hoofbeat Ridge.  The camp was about horses; we rode them, cared for them, and learned about them.  However, within the first day of arriving at camp I learned of Goliath.

On the first day of camp, the counselors and the owners took all the kids up to the barn, which was high on a hill.  They sat us down on the dusty benches.  Behind them were tons of horse bits.  Horse bits are the medal contraptions that are connected to the horse’s bridle in order to control them.  At first, they started by explaining the different types of bits; “this is a Snaffle, this is a D-ring”.  Then they pulled out the largest bit I have ever seen.  It was easily three times the size of all the other bits.  All of us children gasped in surprise.  Even the people who were familiar with horses had never seen anything like it.  Then they told us the story.

“Years ago when the camp first started, there was this young adventurous girl.  She was not scared of anything.  One day she was taking out Goliath to ride him in the fields.  She saddled him up, and put on his huge bridle.  The girl mounted him and rode off into the forests and meadows. Something excited Goliath in the forest.  He bucked the girl of and started running as fast as he could.  The poor girl returned to camp later that day without her horse.  She was all scratched up and crying.  She explained to the owner what had happed.  Then all the counselors got on their horses and began to look for Goliath.  He was no where to be found.  All they found were his bridle under some bushes.  To this day Goliath, the enormous horse, has never been found.  However, it is said that he still roams the forests on the outskirts of the camp.  Many people have claimed to have seen this giant creature in the distance, still wearing his saddle.”

I heard this story was I was in camp and so did my sister many years later when she went to the same camp.  I had forgotten parts of the myth because it has been so many years, but my younger sister did not fail to remember anything. She gave me all the details.  Obviously this story was meant to leave an impression on all the campers.

This myth was probably invented by the owners of the camp to prevent the children from going into the forests that surrounded the camp.  It was very easy to get lost in those forests and extremely dangerous to ride horses in them.   The forests where full of fallen trees, and poison ivy.  Therefore, this story was probably created to scare the children, and from experience it definitely worked!