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Therapeutic riding: Learn how many ways horses can heal you


Deanie and Do All at a show. From My Life at Sweetbrier Have you heard about therapeutic riding? It’s often called hippotherapy. Did you know horses can change people’s lives? If you follow the link I’ll provide at the end of this post, you’ll read about a sickly horse and a girl who hadn’t spoken in a long time. The two connected and you’ll  be amazed what happened next. Horses have been an amazing influence in my own life,but I want to introduce you to the many ways they can brighten the lives of children and adults. Follow this link to find out more about the healing powers of horses. I think you’ll enjoy the stories.  Whether you call it hippotherapy or therapeutic riding, these stories ...
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Sweetbrier: Solving problems


Mom and Daddy at Sweetbrier Picture included in “My Life at Sweetbrier.” Many of you who rode at Sweetbrier knew my dad, but some may not know he was great at solving problems. In addition, he could think quickly in an emergency. For example, one day Princess (one of our horses) fell down the well. Daddy immediately rigged up a rope and pulley to get her out safely. You may remember Daddy searched for ways to save money. For example, he did most of the dental work on the horses himself. Anyone remember helping him float a horse’s teeth? I did. Guess what my job was? I held the horse’s tongue out of the way. If you’ve read some of my other posts you might recall Daddy loved traveling in the m...
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Sweetbrier: the secret to success


Sweetbrier, showing the barns and indoor ring on the hill. Many of us wonder how to measure success. Is it the amount of money you earn? What is the secret to success? As you may know, my family owned a beautiful riding school called Sweetbrier. We were the first in the area to have an indoor riding arena. Although that was an element that added to our success, it wasn’t the whole story. Is the secret to success the little acts of kindness you show? Most people aren’t aware of the little things  my parents did for students. For example, many young riders spent part of their weekend with us to help with farm chores and earn extra riding time. Most people don’t realize Mom often made lunch for...
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The picnics at Sweetbrier


The Humphrys family estate You may  know I grew up on a beautiful riding school called Sweetbrier. My life there was full of adventure and surprise. Of course not all surprises were welcome. For example, my parents loved traveling in their big green motor home we named “The Jolly Giant.” Before leaving, my dad would gather the barn help together and remind them of their tasks. They’d confirm they were willing to arrive at work, no matter what stood in their way. But how about once the Jolly Giant rolled down the driveway, headed to the great unknown? Ah, then came the chance for the troops to abandon the team. If not that, the tractors and other equipment loved to act up at the worst time. S...
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A dream: A blue ribbon for us


Have you ever had huge dreams and wondered if they would come true? I have. I wanted to become a champion horseback rider. But at first, only my family and I believed the big dream would happen. Why? Because I was born with a disability which made walking difficult so every tiny milestone became a stepping stone.  That’s why we celebrated the first day I learned to post on my pony, Little Man. We cheered the first time I didn’t fall off when I was learning to canter. And we practically declared a local holiday when I jumped cross rails without falling off. But it was even more exciting when I got the horse of my dreams. My dad promised to look for just the right horse for me to ride in big c...
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Author and editor: Meet Deanie Humphrys-Dunne


  Recently I had the honor of being interviewed by award-winning author and entrepreneur, Ndeye Labadens. We discussed my books and the importance of good editing. Anyone who is an author, or would like to become one wants to present their best efforts.   Based on your experience after a few books. (specify the number of books with a brief presentation). What would you tell newbies, writer? At the present time, I have published six award-winning children’s books, although my first book, Tails of Sweetbrier, was replaced by a new, expanded version. The titles of my books include; My Life at Sweetbrier, Charlie the Horse, Charlene the Star, Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes, and Charlene t...
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Fun at Sweetbrier: The lighthearted side


My last post, detailing the fire at Sweetbrier, was sad, but this one will show we had fun times as well at our beloved The Humphrys family estate farm.  My sisters and I never went to the circus, but we made our parents chuckle when one of us mentioned we didn’t need to because we had enough ongoing fun without the circus attendance. Today I’ll present the lighthearted side of fun at Sweetbrier. For example, early one morning we heard thundering footsteps outside my bedroom window. What was causing the commotion? A herd of bulls were stomping around, right outside the window, while they munched on the grass growing in parts of the parking area. What could we do now? We opted to call the dog...
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Tragedy at Sweetbrier


A view of Sweetbrier Yesterday I watched one of my favorite TV series.  An episode aired showing  an electrical fire. In this case, nearly all  of the horses died. It brought painful memories to the surface because we had a fire at Sweetbrier when I was a child. My sister Terri, and I happened to be watching from our bedroom window when there was an explosion and flames shot through the barn roof.  At the time, our dad was working one of the horses in the ring. He jumped off and ran into the flames to save as many horses as possible. Our dad was incredibly brave that day when he rescued all but two of the horses. When he ran into the barn to free them, the fire was too hot. Even though his h...
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Great ponies: Sweetbrier


Some of you may know I grew up at a beautiful riding school called Sweetbrier. Today we’ll talk about some of the great ponies who lived at Sweetbrier. As you might imagine, we had many notable ponies.  Let’s talk about my sister Holly’s  great pony, Dark N Fancy. He was medium- sized with unusual white marking. Holly started showing him when she was eight-years-old. What a team they were! She even taught this adorable pony to bow and give her kisses. How cute is that?  Even though Dark N Fancy was adorable, other ponies we owned had charm and talent. For example, we can’t forget my mom’s Arabian pony, Chiefie. My dad taught Chiefie to do tricks like lying down to play dead, count,  and sit ...
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take risks: More about Sweetbrier


Sweetbrier, showing the barns and indoor ring on the hill. Those of you who know about Sweetbrier would likely remember my dad as an imposing man. He was tall and muscular, with huge blue eyes and wavy hair. Everywhere he went, he commanded respect, but most people may not realize he wasn’t afraid to take risks, and he could think quickly under pressure. For example, one wintry day Daddy drove me home from school. The roads were icy because it snowed all day. Suddenly, a car was sliding toward us. It would’ve broadsided us, but Daddy thought fast and steered the car off the road, but going around someone’s mailbox to avoid colliding. On another occasion, Daddy drove the old green Chevy van d...
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horses: Growing up at Sweetbrier


A view of Sweetbrier   Some of you may know I grew up at a riding school called Sweetbrier. Do you know how it got that name? The original owner named the farm Sweetbrier because of a variety of roses that flourished there. Residents of  Easton, the farm’s location, said people came from miles around to see those gorgeous flowers. But, if you weren’t a fan of flowers, maybe you came to Sweetbrier to visit with the horses. There were all shapes and sizes of horses and ponies because we taught children and adults at the magical place called Sweetbrier. Did you know, even the Budweiser Clydesdales came to visit when the Barnum Festival was in town. Generally, nine of the huge horses stayed with...
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Disability: A miracle for Aldrin

What if you were born with a horrible, painful disability that made walking practically impossible? Little eleven-year-old Aldrin was born in the Philippines with severely deformed legs. Was there any hope for him to have a normal life? Things looked bleak for little Aldrin, but the doctors from Tim Tebow’s Cure Foundation had experience in surgically fixing the Aldrin’s disability.  This very complex procedure involved correcting Aldrin’s spinal curvature, and the position  of the bones and tendons in his legs because his knees bent the wrong way. If you visualize a flamingo’s legs, that’s the way Aldrin’s legs  looked. Days before the surgery, the air conditioning at the hospital was sched...
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vision: Mom’s pony, Chiefie


My dad had many natural gifts. One of them was having a vision, or an idea of the way things would turn out. For example, he’d often buy horses in need of retraining, or underweight horses.  He’d often say, “When this horse fills out, he’ll look completely different.” Daddy had an uncanny ability to instantly recognize a horse’s potential. It was as if he could foresee the horse when it reached its highest degree of success. I was very young when my dad bought an Arabian pony stallion named Chiefie, for Mom. Daddy had big plans for him. Chiefie was headstrong at first. In fact, in his early training, he lunged at Daddy and bit him in the shoulder. Daddy recognized from the beginning that Chi...
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My hero: overcoming fears

My dad was my hero in many ways. For one, he never tried to shelter me from new experiences. He wanted me to figure out my own way to solve problems. For example, if I fell, he wouldn’t rush to pick me up. As a child with a disability, I fell often, but Daddy knew he wouldn’t always be there to help. Isn’t it that way when you start a new venture?  You could have trouble at first, but then you sort it out.Another thing Daddy  said was  having courage didn’t mean not being afraid, but acting even when you felt that fear. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a champion rider and Daddy never discouraged me. Instead, he said, “You can do anything you want, if you persevere. Certain things w...
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Horses: A special connection

Have you ever noticed the healing powers of  horses?  For example, did you know horses can help children with autism speak, when no one thought that was possible? Children and horses sense a special  connection; something that helps them beat the odds. What if your child has cerebral palsy? Can riding help her gain muscle strength? From my perspective, I’d say absolutely. How do I know that? When I was nearly four-years-old, a specialist told my dad I’d never walk.He immediately stormed out of the office and told me he had other plans. He said he’d teach me to ride and I’d be fine. From that day forward, Daddy and I set out to prove the doctor wrong.  That single decision changed my life. We...
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the right match: Aiden Horowitz

Have you ever tried to find exactly the right pet for your family? How do you know if it’s the right match for you? If you live in an apartment, you probably prefer a small dog. What if you want a larger dog? What makes a dog the right match for you? Aiden started a website called “Dog Do or Dog Don’t.” Young Aiden Horowitz ha found her passion. She thought of a great project for school. Her website matches prospective adopters with shelter dogs. Isn’t that a fantastic idea? In order to be sure she finds the right dog for you, she has designed a questionnaire. There are questions such as, “What kind of resources can you offer?” Do you have children? What happens after you complete the thirte...
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Perseverance: Cynthia Pettway’s story

What if you were your grandma’s first  grandchild to graduate high school, but you were in the hospital on graduation day. What would you do? That’s exactly the  predicament Cynthia Pettway was in. How could she walk across the stage on that special day? This story will show you perseverance pays off. “Pettway virtually graduated alongside her classmates at Leflore High School this week by rolling an iPad across the stage. With a two-way video stream displayed on the screen, she was able to remotely control the robot from the hospital. The gadget was even dressed in a little cap and gown.” Who got the idea for this amazing use of technology? Stephanie Maddox works in the school system and sh...
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Groundbreaking: Cody Sullivan

Don’t you love when someone does something phenomenal, or groundbreaking? Sometimes they’re pioneers, because they’re the first to do it. Young Cody Sullivan is a pioneer because he is the first person with Down Syndrome to graduate from college? Imagine how proud he and his family must be. Cody has recently graduated from Concordia College in Oregon.  Here’s what Cody’s friend Matt said, “It’s something that’s so normal for us. We see him every day. We don’t see him any different. So it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, he’s graduating; he’s done his four years here; he’s got his degree.” Are you wondering how Cody did it? No doubt he worked very hard to reach is goal. ” Sullivan received a certificate of ...
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Dreams: the story of John Cronin and his dad, Mark

We all have dreams. John Cronin graduated from high school in 2016 wondering what to do next. John has Down Syndrome, but he was searching for an idea that would break stereotypes. John loved crazy, cute, unique, socks. One day, John told  his dad, Mark, I want to start a business with you. They decided to start a business called John’s Crazy Socks to spread happiness. Furthermore, their business would employ only people with disabilities. John and Mark wanted to “Make people with disabilities our reason for success.” One thing John’s Dad didn’t want was to be subsidized. He didn’t want to be dependent on the government. Guess what happened next? People loved John’s crazy socks. In fact, the...
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Baseball: Luke Terry beat the odds

Do you love stories where the underdog beats the odds, or where someone overcomes a disability and astounds everyone? I do. They’re my favorite stories. Have you heard about Luke Terry? He’s a fifteen-year-old baseball player from Tennessee. Luke crouches behind home plate, ready to catch the next pitch. He’s so skillful and adept at his job, you hardly notice he only has one arm. When Luke was a baby, he contracted the e-coli bacteria. At first, doctors hoped they could save his arm, but the infection traveled quickly. Little Luke endured several long surgeries. In fact, it’s a miracle he survived because his heart stopped several times during the operations. Excerpts from a newspaper artic...
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