“Oliver’s Green Tree Blossom”
Registered with the American Shire Horse Association
Our first-born foal, Blossom, arrived just before dawn, after weeks of anticipation and long nights spent camping out in the barn with Bella, whose surprise pregnancy came with a surprise due date. Blossom’s birth was celebrated by a spectacular chorus of whinnies, neighs and birdcalls from the surrounding stables and fields. Born into the horse therapy world, Blossom was handled, trained and nurtured since birth. As beautiful as her mother, and twice as adventurous, Blossom was the picture of health. Then suddenly, a year later our happy-go-lucky filly rapidly became critically ill. We rushed her to CSU’s Equine Medical Center, where she underwent an emergency five-hour abdominal surgery. Her prognosis was poor, and she spent many days in “Horsey ICU,” followed by weeks of around-the-clock care at home, and months of constant vigilance, belly bands and vet checks. Now that she’s a healthy three-year-old, the only visible reminder of her medical trauma is a small, white “Harry Potter” marking on her back where the belted belly band she wore for months rubbed against her skin.
It’s clear to all that the many months of compassionate care, love and attention from so many dedicated people, in combination with her beautiful spirit, have only made her all the more loving and sweet.
She is definitely our “Awesome Blossom!”
Registered with the American Shire Association
Bella, our first Shire, captured our hearts before we even met her—all it took was a photo and phone call, and we were on our way to Utah to bring her home. Her stature and size were impressive: 18.5 hands (over six feet at the shoulder!) with a glistening coat…admittedly a little on the plump side, but after all, what horse wouldn’t be after a lazy summer spent hanging out in green pastures? We quickly became fast friends with our “gentle giant,” who meandered pleasantly alongside us as we worked. As summer faded into fall, Bella grew rounder and happier by the day. Turns out, she didn’t just love to eat-she loved being pregnant! To our delight, her daughter, Blossom, was born the following spring. Adding to the excitement was our discovery that Shires are an endangered species. Bella was just the mare to carry on the breed.
Bella was sired by Fox Valley Oliver, champion and reserve champion in the United States and Canada. “Ollie,” who stood 18 hands (about six feet at the shoulder) was the rock star of the Shire breed. He was chosen by the prestigious Breyer Company to be the model for their special edition Breeds of the World toy model.
And one look at his beautiful daughter Bella shows how right they were. Her conformation, think mane and tail and fancy feathered feet make her a model show horse. But she had other plans, and we couldn’t be happier.
She’s a natural nurturer and finds joy in being our “Mama Bell.”
“Meadowlark’s Midnight King Arthur”
Registered with the American Shire Horse Association
Bella gave birth to the newest addition to our family last spring, and what a champ she was! With hands-on assistance from Kirk—who fortunately has delivered many a baby—gentle coaxing from Vandi and the quiet encouragement of our fascinated herd, Bella managed to birth one of the biggest foals of the breed.
The stars truly aligned for King’s much anticipated arrival: he was born a shimmering silver right at the stroke of midnight, under a full moon, on the Spring Equinox! What a magical moment! With such a spectacular birth, he is surely destined for something special—he truly is something else! His loving nature, curiosity and delight in engaging with people give every indication that he is going to be a wonderful therapy horse.
We knew from the moment of his birth that he was going to be big, yet every morning when we go out to feed it seems like he is bigger than the day before. By the time we welcomed the New Year, King towered over Apple, looked Bo in the eyes and was starting to pass up his sister, Blossom. King’s sire, National Reserve Champion Sir William, locally owned by MacKenzie Shires, is easily 20 hands—or seven feet at the shoulder. King, with his perfect conformation and stunning gait, is a beautiful example of the Shire breed.
Registered with the Arabian Horse Association
Ty was bred and raised on a large family ranch in Chugwater, Wyoming by J.W. “Bill” Brown. The Brown Arabian Ranch, bought by JW Brown Sr. in the 1940s, was part of the historic old Swan Ranch and Cattle Company.
Brown’s strong, athletic Arabians were first bred to gather, rope and doctor cattle, and successfully work the ranch—but as the breed continued, their strength, stamina and agility earned many national championships in Competitive and Endurance Riding.
Ty’s Sire is Rae Ferzon, who was an Ibn Ferzon son and his Dam was Brown-R Janel. His lineage traces directly back to some of the great Crabbet Arabian Horses such as Indraff, and Ibn Hilal, and includes the royalty in the Crabbet horse world, Raseyn, Raffles, Sotep, Skowronek and Tut Ankh Amen as well as the great desert horses of the Bedouin.
Our beloved Bo, a Percheron-Quarterhorse mix, was entrusted to our care by the one and only “Original Minnesota Viking,” Rip Hawkins, several years before he passed away.
A steady, faithful ranch horse whose saddle cost more than he did, Bo spent countless hours riding the range in and around Devil’s Tower, where Rip and his wife ran the 700-acre MarryHark Ranch. An old soul who leads the herd with kindness and respect, Bo is a true and honorable friend who has healed many a heart.
His papers are torn and his lineage uncertain, but Bo is absolutely priceless!
Our rescued off-track racehorse was weaned early, gelded and trained to race at a very young age. He started in three races before being seriously injured in a race-track fall that ended his career.
No longer fit to race, Gunner was sold to an outfitter in New Mexico, a poor fit that led to neglect and abandonment. Separated from his herd, thin and weak, Gunner was purchased and brought to Colorado by a neighboring family, who planned to rehabilitate him for use as a polo-cross horse. In between his training sessions, which were made all the more challenging because of his sore back and long legs, Gunner visited us daily over the pasture fence, welcoming the extra attention, pets and treats that just happened to be in everyone’s pockets. It didn’t take long for everyone to realize that Gunner belonged with us, and he has since fully recovered and been happily training and working as a therapy horse ever since.