2020 Year in Review!

How do you start recapping a year like 2020?


Covid-19 put a “käpp i hjulet” loosely translated as “to put a stick in someone's wheel”, this is a Swedish saying, which means everything comes to a STOP! Despite us starting 2020 with grandiose plans and hopes for the year ahead, I feel we managed ok. With the help from everyone at the barn, we used our creative minds to get a lot accomplished, despite issues we faced. Thank you to you all!


I would like to wish all the best to our existing long-time boarders and horses for 2020. Thank you for your continued support; Calvin, Chief, Julius, Hudson, Apache, Cherokee, Chantilly, Trent, London along with all your owners! Thank you to our dedicated veterinarians Dr. Robertson and Dr. Sachar-Ostrom, for always being here when we need them. Thanks to Pat Phillips, who takes care of all the hoofs.


·Since March, our therapeutic riding program has been on hold except for a few independent riders in Cassie Hurlbut’s care. Cassie has been instrumental in horse care during these stressful times. Like her, I feel we were able to give our horses a well-deserved break and allow them to just be horses. We massively appreciate her hard work and a big thank you to her!


· Sherri, our Danny’s Farm manager, moved away from the area, still involved in Danny’s Farm and the barn from a distance. She now resides in Big Bear with her family and her horses McCoy and King. The horses love the snow, they have settled into their new environment nicely. We miss you and your horses.


· Valerie Stern our in-house therapist and EAP facilitator moved up north with her horse Mack along with Aidan and Carly. Based on her Facebook Posts, it looks like they are doing great and Mack, her horse, is now back to normal after a freak accident. Best wishes for 2021 to Valerie and her family.


· Nancy Kenyon Psy. D came to the rescue when Valerie left and Nancy is now in charge of our EAP programs. Nancy, a member and rider at the Sullivan Canyon Riding Club, was instrumental in getting Special Spirit an invite to this facility. Nancy will direct the SSI programs offered in Sullivan Cyn. The Sullivan Canyon Preservation Association’s charitable mission is to maintain open space in the Sullivan Canyon area of Los Angeles, with an equestrian use, education and community outreach. Until all details are ironed out with SCPA, our Westside riders will be offered lessons at our Shadow Hills location on Sundays. Nancy also brought her personal horse Debonair aka Danny, a 21 –year old Mecklenburger to the barn. Danny has some medical issues, so please keep an eye on him.


· Cowboy, a 7-year old donated quarter horse, thanks to a generous grant from the Herbert Kean Foundation, will be boarded in Sullivan Canyon, once he feels better. Nancy is supervising Cowboy.


· During the year, we welcomed Helen & Marcie, Christopher Pine & Linda, and Toby & Melissa. Helen, a 21-year-old Holsteiner, is living in the retirement area with Pumpkin; Christopher Pine a 7-year old Saddlebred, with his own Instagram, www.instagram.com/asb_christopherpine/ and Toby a 7-year-old quarter horse on a maintenance diet, please make sure not to give Toby any treats.

Toby is from the same sales barn as Monty.


· Monty started doing cow sorting, at Gibson Ranch, with Harrison, and they were in the running for the first-place spot, missed it by a “horse hair”. Look out for them in the next season.


· We would like to give a big shout out to our long-term volunteer Kim, who helps with our horses a great deal. Unfortunately, we will now be seeing him less, as he was fortunate enough to land a job. We congratulate Kim and seriously appreciate all the amazing work he does here. Kim, the horses will miss you!


· We hosted an EAGALA Fundamental Training, using Covid-19 guidelines. Around 25 participants finished the clinics and their certification. The weather was perfect, horses behaved fabulously, making it a remarkably successful clinic.


· Oliver, our expat from London, showed up just when Covid-19 started, and became a huge help with ranch duties. He became Danny’s job coach. Danny is the marketing director of Danny’s Farm. Oliver and Danny are working endlessly to raise funds for the farm. They are in charge of all our on-line virtual farm tours.

· Another expat from London, Sam, is in training to fill the role of director of fundraising. If you have any ideas to help fundraise, please let him know.


· 2020 has been a hard year for all non-profits, finding new ways of locating funds is a challenge. With the help of a supportive friend, Rachel, we received a surprise donation from Macy’s of about 300 prom dresses. Tapping into our creative souls, we decided to make a calendar with all girls wearing prom dresses taking care of the animals and working around the barn. Each girl participating got to keep their dress, and the remaining dresses were donated to programs helping foster youth and challenged individuals. Thank you Ashley for the beautiful pictures, Rachel & Macy’s for making this possible, Foxfield for a great location and all models for your hard work and patience!


· We completed several construction projects during the pandemic. The red barn structure is now completed, and under the initiative of Sam and Oliver, they have an ongoing fundraising campaign to raise funds for an art & crafts classroom. We finished the bunkroom in the old feed room, and upgraded the bathroom. Danny’s Farm fundraiser raised the funds for all materials to complete the shade structure up front, for our farm animals.


· The Danny's Farm family are currently in the process of moving to the all-new covered enclosure at the front of the ranch. This area will now be the new home for our farm animals. The animals living in this new home will be Pixie, Jasper, Onyx, Glitter, Valentine, Charlotte, Rosie, Sunny, Dodger, JoJo, Mama, and Heartley. The shade means they have a place to stay cool in the summer and dry in the winter.


· YouTube filmed the first episode of Living the Lopez Life at the ranch, an episode of Blippi was also shot at Special Spirit and Danny’s Farm. You can find them both on YouTube.


· On the downside, Isabella, our beloved goat, broke her leg and we could not save her. Gidget, our donated mare, met with stallion Contefino, with the hope of having a baby. It did not work, but we are trying again in March.


Please mark your calendar for January 17, Robert Gonzalez, https://rgonzaleslivestock.com/, is coming back to work with some of our horses. Robert has an Equine Development Program for horses (Labeled Problem Horses); he helps get horses out of their DARK place, to become mentally, emotionally and physically balanced.

Please contact Marcie for any available spots, marceolson@yahoo.com .



Good Bye to 2020!

“I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I have been.”

Winnie the Pooh

Best wishes for 2021!









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