Meet The Animals!
"Maddy" is a Jerusalem (specific markings) donkey or burro (a burro is the same thing as a donkey, BTW) and was born in the Year 2014. She was completely feral and afraid of humans when I purchased her in May 2019, and I have been training her since. Maddy is now halter-trained, can be lunged in a circle, loves to go on long walks and her groundwork continues on a daily basis. She is very patient and loves everyone that she encounters. She walked down a local church aisle to portray Jesus' donkey in a pre-Easter celebration recently, sporting her "poop bag" for indoor use and applications. She is available for parties and for games like "Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Live-Donkey"!
MADDY (October 2019)
"Lucky" is a non-registered Shetland pony and has tons of great personality. He will do anything for attention and loves going everywhere! He can also "bow" his head and do other tricks. He loves to climb on things and jump. He is rather small in stature, so he can only carry children that weigh up to about 60 pounds so as not to injure his spine or back. He was also born at the same farm where my sheep came from, in May 2016. I have done all of the groundwork and other training myself for Lucky, and his training is continuing now to teach him to pull a cart, which he seems to have a great aptitude for because he has such a nice temperament and willingness to learn new things.
LUCKY (September 2019)
"Ivy" is our newest addition to our sheep, and was born in late December 2019. She came from a hair sheep farm in Clermont, Florida. It took about 2 months of constant socialization and training, but she is now pretty well bonded to me now, thankfully, and is listening to me in order to keep her safe when she is out of her stall, enjoying the world around her. She can jump up on command, loves to climb and loves to eat her grain, hay, grapes, tangerines, apples and green beans. She is still concerned about strangers, but she has been taken to PetSmart and other stores and public areas already (on her training harness) to get her used to people in her new job and life being part of a petting zoo. Stay tuned and watch her grow!
IVY (March 2020)
"Blue" was born in January 2017 and is a hair (not wool) sheep breed known as St. Augustine. This breed was developed by a shepherd right here in Florida whose farm still actively produces this breed. Blue knows how to "give her paw" and backup on command and is very docile and loving to everyone. I bought Blue when she was one month old and have had her ever since. She is the very first sheep that I brought to our farm and I have learned so much about sheep behavior because of her patience, kindness, intelligence, curiosity and overall great personality that makes her "Blue." In the flock, Blue is the leader and most dominant ewe.
BLUE (February 2017)
BLUE (May 2018)
"Bell" is Blue's mother and we believe that she is probably about 2 years older than Blue. She was essentially feral when I adopted her a few months after I bought Blue from the same place where Bell lived and she has come light years in her ability to trust people and allow people to touch her now. I can see a lot of personality traits that she and Blue share obviously, and both ewes are very chilled and happy. Bell is third on the hen-pecking totem pole of the flock as a whole, after Dixie (her other daughter).
BELL - Taking a bath! (August 2019)
BELL - Enjoying life (Nov. 2019)
"Dixie" is Blue's sister and Bell's daughter and I acquired her from the same place that Blue and Bell came from in exchange for rehabilitating the owner of that farm's Paso Fino stallion who was very gaunt and suffered from ulcers. So, the funds spent rehabilitating this stallion and giving him some basic groundwork training was the price of acquiring Dixie. Dixie came to me at about 5 months old and was suffering from parasites and worms and was very skinny. She had to have special injections and multiple dewormings to save her, but now she is the largest in size of all of my sheep!! (Big girls have big appetites and she certainly loves her food). Dixie is second on the hen-pecking totem pole, after Blue, and is about 6 months younger than Blue.
DIXIE (July 2017)
DIXIE (November 2018)
"Savannah" also came from the same farm and I believe she shares the same father as Blue and Dixie. She was born on Thanksgiving week in Year 2017 and her mother had twins and ended up rejecting her, so she was brought to me to save her life because the owner didn't want her and she would have died at his farm from neglect from her mother. I offered to take her once I knew the situation and because of the cold weather events that occurred that Winter and because she was too young to leave in a barn with no winter coat of hair, she lived inside our home for the first 3-4 months of her life.
SAVANNAH (Thanksgiving 2017)
SAVANNAH (June 2019)
She wore diapers while indoors and had to be fed bottles of milk every 2 hours when we first took over her care. It was a very interesting Winter at our house, to say the least. Our indoor cats accepted Savannah right away and became friends, believe it or not. Because I couldn't leave her in a vehicle when she was a lamb, I actually snuck her into our credit union (to conduct business), into the Sam's Club in Apopka (wrapped in a towel and riding in the child area of the cart) and Home Depot when there were errands to run and keep her warm and protected. Funny story about Sam's Club -- as I left the store with my groceries, the Club employee spotted Savannah and didn't even give me a hard time about it, which was nice of that person. I know the tellers in our credit union very well, and they all went bananas when they saw Savannah in my arms that day. You would think that Savannah is the most domesticated and attached sheep that I have due to all of the very early human attention that she received, but she is actually very independent and spends a lot of time by herself away from the flock and me as I am working at the farm. Go figure! She is the lowest one on the hen-pecking totem pole, probably due to being the smallest in size and Dixie loves to "T-bone" her at times, but sheep are sheep, I guess. That is how they communicate dominance to each other.
"Secret" is one of the first horses that I ever bought and has been with me the longest. She and I both learned to ride and be ridden at the same time. Secret was 10 years old before she was formally trained and is now 17 years old and can be ridden by all levels of riders and is very safe. So, even older horses can be trained if you have enough dedication and desire to train them. She is an unregistered Quarter Horse mare who is very spoiled. My nickname for her is "the Princess," because she won't let me leave the barn for the day unless she has had her soft peppermints.
SECRET (July 2019)
"Mink" is the first horse that I did much of the initial training with when she was about 2 years old. She is a striking looking registered Tennessee Walking Horse who can rack, which means she is a gaited horse whose natural movements include the "racking" gait. This is a 4-beat gait that not all gaited horses can do since they have to be born with this ability. As of Year 2020, she is 9 years old now, and is still in training, though she trailers well and loves to go on new adventures. She can "bow" on command and also loves her peppermint treats daily. Mink even has some GWC (Grand World Champions) in her ancestry.
MINK (March 2018)
"Dollar" is a non-registered Quarter Horse who is about 17 years old. I got him as a rescue from a woman who couldn't afford to keep him anymore, and, even though he was rideable, he needed more regular training to be able to use him in public on a regular basis safely, so I did all of the groundwork and rode him to get him back where he needed to be in his abilities. Now, he is great for beginner to intermediate riders because he is patient and reliable. His training, as with all of the other animals, continues on a daily basis, and he loves meeting new people and going on adventures in the trailer with me. He is great in that he is slow and steady, so that anyone can ride him, and he stands well with children around him so that they can enjoy him and learn about horses in general.
Dollar (September 2019)
Ellie (June 2021)
Ellie is a halter-trained Hereford beef cow crossbreed who is very silly, playful and still young (about 2 years old as of March 2022), so she is still learning how to be disciplined and behave well in public for safety, and we hope to train her to actually be rideable by children (always lead with a handler for safety) in the near future.
Ellie came from a farm in Lakeland, Florida and loves attention, our other livestock (especially “Ivy,” our sheep) and going on mobile petting zoo jobs to meet new customers. She helps us out with many of our local churches’ live nativity events annually in December, together with our donkey and all of our sheep.