Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Horses, Goats and Piggies, Oh My!!

When I was a child, I loved horses. I dreamed about owning a horse someday. I collected Breyer models and even participated in “showing” them via snail mail and photos (no email in those prehistoric days!) I even won a few ribbons.
I nagged my mom to get a horse—so much so that when it came around to my younger sister nagging for a horse, Mom gave in! Amy was a member of the prestigious Westernaires riding team that exhibited at the yearly National Western Stock Show rodeos.


And she got a horse. Which, apparently, is extremely contagious. I am warning you now—get one horse and you’ll want another. And another…. Well, you get the picture.
If you get lucky.

I ended up living in a small town with a pack of dogs (some of which are grand-dogs “temporarily” living at our house, according to my daughters, who keep NOT taking them home.) The Home Owners Association would have a cow if we ever—erm…got a cow—or any other kind of livestock, for that matter. Otherwise, I would definitely own a horse. <<cough—horses—cough>> And a pig.


But alas, it is not to be. This little glimpse into my childlike heart may help you understand why I love writing Western romances so much. Ranches have horses. Goats. Piggies. And even, in the book I’m currently writing, sheep. Thankfully, I have a vivid imagination. I'm all about living vicariously. 


But I get to go one step further. My sister, who owned her first horse in high school, now runs an animal sanctuary called Happy Haven Farm & Sanctuary. She has horses, goats, donkeys, piggies, a llama, dogs and a whole host of kitties, among other things. Thanks to her, I have the privilege of accompanying her on an occasional trail ride into the gorgeous Rocky Mountains on beautiful horses. And since I also have a certain affinity for piggies, I’m a piggie sponsor.


Happy Haven has a unique mission: To provide a safe place for struggling individuals, both human and animal, to find love, compassion, healing, and confidence. Happy Haven Farm & Sanctuary (HHFS) is a dual purpose non-profit, serving as both an animal centered healing & educational ranch for children and military as well as a full time sanctuary for a number of unwanted animals. Aside from minimal adoption fees, HHFS is completely funded through donations.
ON THE SANCTUARY SIDE WE ARE FIRST AND FOREMOST A SANCTUARY NOT A RESCUE. THAT MEANS THE MAJORITY OF THE ANIMALS AT HHFS ARE HERE FOR LIFE.


Amy takes on the animals who can’t be rehomed and give them permanent lodging and loving. Really cool, right?


But horses need hay, and hay costs money. HHFS is currently running a hay drive. You can help horses who would otherwise be abandoned to a kill lot to have a happy home with my sister. I'll bet if everyone who reads this donated only $5 it would make a huge difference.

So as you read my current release, The Cowboy's Baby Blessing, I hope, if you love animals the way I do, that you'll think about how you can help real horses make it through the next winter. 

You can donate to Happy Haven's Hay Drive HERE.

Awesomesauce!

And now I want to know--what is your favorite ranch animal? 

22 comments:

  1. I always wanted horses to, but we lived on the edge of the city, one neighborhood behind us, and then all the farms and ranches. We'd have had to board. Since we rented the house, boarding a horse was not going to happen. So, I dreamed through books.

    Someday I'd like to tour your sister's place. Sounds like the place to be :)

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    1. We still live in a semi-rural area, so we drive by horses every day. I keep saying I ought to have a mid-life crisis. Guys get their new cars. I want a horse!

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  2. When I was in elementary school, our neighbors had horses. My grandpa had horses on his farm.

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    1. My grandpa also had horses, but he lived in Oregon while we lived in Colorado. When we used to visit them you could always find me out with the horses.

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  3. I was blessed to own three wonderful horses when I was a kid on our farm and later we owned a wonderful gelding named McDuff when my daughter was growing up. Fond, fond memories.

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    1. Oh, how fun. And I love the name McDuff! Have you used it in a book?

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  4. I wanted a horse too. My best friend growing up had a horse so I often went with her.

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    1. I'll bet you have some wonderful childhood memories!

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  5. Horses are such beautiful animals. Graceful and full of power. My 14 year old, Sierra, loves horses and has been taking lessons for the past three years. She has begged me for a horse, which is a nice idea but not practical. So, she'll keep riding her favorite horse, Romeo, and loving all things related to horses and horse back riding. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. She's blessed to be able to take riding lessons! And another great horse name.

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  6. I always wanted a horse too. But we lived in the city. When I was twelve, we moved to rural Arkansas. It was major culture shock for me, but I finally got my horse. It wasn't what I thought it would be - taking off on my horse whenever I wanted. He was big and I was afraid of him. My dad had to lead me and hold the reins. Eventually, I got to where I rode by myself and held the reins. It all came crashing down when I came crashing down. I got back on, but I never did get to where I'd ride that horse alone again. Since then, I've ridden older, really calm horses alone. And horses are still my favorite.

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  7. I've done my fair share of flipping <> off horses, but it was always rider error, not the horse. And for some reason, falling hasn't dampened my spirits one bit! I'm still as eager to ride as I was as a child.

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  8. Lovely post, Deb! I grew up in a suburb of Chicago, so dogs and cats were the extent of pets. Now, though, living in rural PA, my three kiddos have helped me to expand my horizons. Still have dogs and cats. But we have also had, or still have, chickens, rabbits, rats, and horses. My youngest wants a snake. That's where I draw the line. *Shudder*

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    1. My sister also had a snake, when she was in college. She's had a bit of everything over the years. I tried to hold it to get over my phobia, but...no. That's a big NO for me. I am terrified of snakes.

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  9. I'm a lifelong horse lover, but--sadly--never had the chance to have one of my own. I finally had the chance to take riding lessons when in my 40s and 50s, thanks to some "horsey" friends I made through a therapeutic riding center where I volunteered. Even rode in my one and only dressage schooling show! What a thrill!

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    1. Dressage! Oh, that is too cool! My sister did a little dressage and trick riding in Westernaires. Even Roman riding--standing on two horses. How exciting that you finally got the opportunity to live your dream.

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  10. Deb, thanks for sharing. My best friend in middle school was a horse person. I always wanted to be around horses. Girls always love horses, don't they?

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    1. I think so, although none of my girls ever really caught the bug. They were all more interested in singing (and some in acting.) Another hobby of mine, as well.

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  11. I love horses but I've never ridden on one. Maybe one day. I write about horses. I grew up on a farm so animals were a natural part of my life. Great post!

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    1. Oh, you should! A once in a lifetime experience.

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  12. What beautiful horses! Like many girls, I grew up loving horses but had no occasion to ride one or even be near them. Lovely post.

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  13. I grew up on horseback, so I understand the fascination well. What a lovely thing your sister is doing. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

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