Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sara's Law

A few years ago Sara Law got a hold of a copy of one of my books. She read it and enjoyed it enough to see if the gal she had just learned so much about on the page was active on the screen? So she looked me up on social media. I am very active on Facebook and Twitter.

Through Facebook we chatted and she signed up for some workshops and events here at the farm (Arrows Rising and Antlerstock). I saw a lot of Sara last fall and was so impressed with her smarts, bravery to travel and try new things, and her passion for the Simple Life. We became fast friends. Now she is seriously considering her homestead dreams and changing her life from Toronto-based designer to homesteading-based designer... exciting stuff I can relate to! So why am I telling you about Sara? After all, her story is like so many of the friends I made through this little website. But I'm talking about Sara this morning because yesterday I got to see that girl interact with her dream horse - the Gypsy Vanner. And how could I not share the story of a fellow dreamer looking in the eyes of her own happy future!

Sara's from Ontario, but a few times a year house sits for good friends of mine here in Veryork (folks she met through the CAF scene), watching their 40+ acre Farm and animals as her own haycation when they go on away. She loves it. A quiet farm with rolling hills, a lake, trails, horses and sheep to herself while she works off her laptop. All of us can get that appeal!

Well just recently I saw that Sara had a crush on the Gypsy Vanner, an Irish breed of horse that is hard to not love. These animals are sturdy, easy keepers, with the kind of hair that makes my 14-year old self squirm with joy. If you know me at all, you know that the Fell Pony is my dream horse and always will be, but even my Dark Horse leanings can't help but fawn over the Vanners. They are built and sized just like a Fell Pony, but with a temperament like golden retrievers. After all, these animals were the family cart horse - needing to be around children and the elderly as well as experienced horsefolk.

There are at least two Gypsy farms around here, and one is small and sweet and just an eight minute drive from my barn. Thanks again, to Facebook, I got in touch with Sugar Hill Acres. I told her about my love of small drafts and my Fell and how my friend Sara was visiting and this was her dream horse. Misha, the farm's owner, was happy to oblige and so we set up an appointment time.

Yesterday was a lovely day, sunny and mild. In the afternoon we got to visit Sugar Hill, as planned, and both Sara and I were excited. We arrived to the mountain-top farm and the view was breathtaking. And if the mountains weren't lovely enough, the fact that these horses were waiting to greet us, that was icing on the carrot cake. There were two mares and one of their foals (the other mare is pregnant!) and they were so gregarious and sweet. The little foal walked around us with that Great-Dane-awkwardness of a 6-week old and charmed my socks off. I can't say I wasn't a little smitten at the whole thing.

If I was smitten, Sara was in love. Seeing her touch those manes, look into their eyes, and be nibbled on by the little filly was so touching. I can't speak for her at all, but I know Barnheart when I see it, and she had it BAD. And if you already have a bad case of this wonderful disease, going out and getting your fingers in a mane is only going to make the condition worse.  Which is wonderful.

Sara, Misha and I talked for a while. We talked horses and homesteads and she was so welcoming and polite. I may have discovered another local trail riding buddy. Can you picture Merlin and a Gypsy Vanner Mare riding through the Autumn forest, be still my heart! Misha had a baby monitor with her to listen in on the newest addition to the family that wasn't a horse, her three-week-old newborn in the house. I was extra glad I brought her a bottle of wine when I saw she had fillies and babies to care for  going into fall. Suddenly Cold Antler Farm felt a lot more manageable! Thank you Misha, for letting us be a part of your farm for a little while and meeting your lovely mares.

This is what I love about the Homesteading Dream in 2015! You can pick up a book written by a stranger and through the amazing powers of the internet, end up looking your dream horse in the eye. I'm rooting hard for Sara's homestead and future Gypsy horse. She'll find a way to turn that hope into something real like as all of us will who are more stubborn than we are practical. Those are traits I admire.

That might be a very "pony" way of looking at this world but it got me this far, and I'll take that over practicality any day.

middle photo from


Blogger Amanda Weber said...

AH! This gives me goose bumps and makes me want to cry all at the same time! I can totally relate to Sara. My dream is a Friesian but I definitely have a soft spot for any long-maned, feather-footed pony or horse. And what awesome neighbors you have to welcome you like that! It really restores your faith in people. I love it!

Thank you also for your books. I'm still a 9-5er for now (a web designer/developer) but someday maybe I can make the switch full-time. I actually close on my mini-farm TOMORROW. An 1801 farmhouse with just over 3.5 acres and a barn... and I couldn't be more excited! :) We already have chickens and want to expand our flock, are getting rabbits this fall and already have reservations for dairy goat kids in the spring. I am THRILLED to be finally living the dream, and your books were definitely instrumental in the "shove" I needed to do it!

- Amanda (

August 6, 2015 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Amanda that is amazing, congrats! And of course you can work from your farm in the web world!

August 6, 2015 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Cheryl Lang said...

We have Gypsy horses. They are the. Best. They come in all sizes and are great for all ages. At any given time you can see 3 generations of horse lovers and riders heading off to the trails. or maybe to a show.
We are in NH and visitors are always welcome!

August 6, 2015 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Alyssa said...

Jenna, Just thought I'd pipe in.

Back in 2009, we owned a Suburban Chicago house on a postage stamp lot, and it was there that I lived vicariously through you. I dreamed of having my own wood stove, my own horse... something more than our little square-box garden.

In the Winter of 2010, we decided to up and move to New Hampshire sight unseen (I quit my job, yikes! My husband transferred with his company to give us some stability.) No family, no friends... Nothing, except for our two dogs and a hankering to renovate an old house and *finally* get some horses.

In 2011, we closed on an former dairy farm built in the 1800s and quickly added two horses to our 'family' - a draft cross (riding, for me!) and a Haflinger (riding, driving and farm work, for my husband.) It's been a blast... lots of work, but a total blast. My husband now shows the Haflinger in farm shows, and we take trail riding vacations with them. I could never imagine returning to an office, working from 8-6, commuting 45 minutes each way.

So, in a way, thanks for the inspiration. I'm sure you hear that a lot, but another story never hurt, right?

August 7, 2015 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Montero said...

Another thumbs up for the Gypsy horse from me. I have a 17 year old Gypsy Vanner mare called Kitty who I ride, who is also ridden by my partially disabled husband, and is now teaching my 13 year old niece how to ride. Kitty stands patiently while my niece brushes every fat inch of her, and braids and re-braids her mane as only pony mad girls can do. I have never had a more honest horse in my long life of horsemanship. Saying that, I'm really hankering after a Fell pony now.

Oh yeah, and you know how you always remind us to live the life we want? Well, I finally bought my first milking goats today, and I thank you for that.

August 10, 2015 at 2:24 PM  

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