An Equine Dream Come True

With an attractive coat of white and black, this curly yearling shows off his curls very nicely.

Sunnybrook, Leduc County – When she was a little child living in an urban world, Deanna Johnson (now Deanna Jean) dreamed of horses. It was her passion; her family knew that any horse-themed gift or activity would be a hit for this intense, cheerful child. She lived a full life, eventually established a career in accounting now at the Thorsby Farm Center.
    Since she had begun to give riding lessons to children at the Pony Club in 1985, Deanna noticed that many kids –and their parents- had serious allergies. She was introduced to, and fell in love with the rare breed of “Curlies”: a breed that is hypo-allergenic, a precious quality for a horse and an ideal option for horse-lovers with allergies! 
    Deanna, a fit, curly-haired blonde and outgoing lady, created Sunnybrook Stables, where she continued to give riding lessons in several styles, including dressage and proceeded to increase her herd. With a sweet disposition, the “North-American Curlies” have a coat that supports their breed name; it is soft but intensely curly, with a mane that has ringlets to match. The inside of their ears is also curly: even their eyelashes are curly, compared to other breeds’ straight eyelashes. Black and white, pure white and tan are common colors for this extraordinary breed. Some have blue eyes that go well with their quiet and friendly nature. 
    In the late 40s, in the midst of an historic snowstorm, a Nevada horse farmer by the name of Damele saw wild horses with a curly mane and coat. He captured a few, bred them and officially started a new equine breed. The first Curly in Canada was ‘snared’ by a white man who in fact stole it from the Indians’ trap. 
    What started as a farm hobby for Deanna Jean, this “dream come true’ became an intense labor of love and an official Eco-Tourism business.  Not only would Deanna open her doors to international visitors, rural neighbors, elderly groups and school children, but a natural progression was to breed these horses and export them. When she started Sunnybrook Stables in 1988, there were several Curly breeders and exporters in Canada: today, only three good-size commercial farms of this nature remain in the country. Sunnybrook Stables was a vital and successful gem of Alberta Tourism for nearly fifteen years. 
    Deanna has travelled to countless horse shows all over the world, and has showcased her horses at Western Canadian exhibition events.  She added the Gypsy Vanner breed to her Curly herd when she purchased her first Gypsy mare Sally in Ireland. That mare is now a matriarch at the Sunnybrook Stables. A unique feature is that as they get older, Gypsies develop a sizeable moustache on their upper lip. 
      Interestingly, an accidental coupling created the first Curly-Gypsy colt on Deanna’s farm. With their hooves covered in long hair, their thick coats and long manes only slightly curly, these are not a recognised breed (yet) but they are sweet-natured, beautiful and an exotic-looking horse. 
    Another breed that joined Sunnybrook Stables was the “Missouri Fox-Trotter”, a tall horse with a sleek coat that caught Deanna’s attention when she attended a horse show in the US. Most of the horses on this farm have a real friendly disposition, and Deanna was happy to explain that not only her daily attention and work with the horses, but also their involvement in public events has created this enviable disposition. Every year, she takes several horses to the Parade of the Breeds, a popular event at the Calgary Stampede.  
    These horses are also the lucky recipients of their owner’s special training. To be better equipped to deal with her horses and their breeding program, Deanna worked hard for several years at a training that eventually got her certified as an “Equine-Assisted Psycho-therapist”. This helps her deal with various equine dispositions, and it certainly shows in her herd! Sunnybrook Stables has now exported thirty (yes, 30!) horses to various countries of the world.
    A few years ago, Deanna met her knight in shining armor: Roland Jean was an urban man who adapted quickly to the busy country life that kept his bride happy for so long. On the Sunnybrook property where she had lived for many years, Deanna and Roland built their dream home, a magnificent log home they designed together. Deanna Jean is a woman who knows how to drive a bobcat, lay tile, design blue prints, break a horse, landscape – and much more! 
    The unique Curly horse is creating a new dream for Deanna and Roland: a very tall Curly has joined their equine family, and his physique and disposition has encouraged its owners to train him to become a jumper. Dreams of Canadian competitions and Olympic glory are now in the horizon for this hard-working couple.
    Not content with this fabulous accomplishment in life, Deanna is also a passionate musician, a talent and hobby she shares with her husband; they both love playing the guitar, collecting beautiful instruments and constantly developing their musical skills. Deanna is now learning the violin, and she is proud of another skill she acquired a few years ago: she learned to design websites and has designed her own, www.sunnybrookstables.com.  She has placed there thousands of photographs, and it is quite a site to visit and enjoy! 
    As an animal lover herself, Deanna has a heart for those who cannot enjoy and own animals due to allergies. She has now added one more hypo-allergenic pet to her family: the Siberian Forest cats, also called the “Kravchenko Cats” are a long-hair, large bodied, extremely affectionate and loyal, with an interactive behavior resembling that of a dog. Www.siberiancats.com is an attractive and informative website.
    From the late ‘80s promoting Agricultural Diversification, things have certainly developed here in Alberta’s farming industry… Organic products and markets, bee products and plant exports, Curlies, Elk and other unique breeds have become acceptable and viable options on Alberta farms: this province is rich in opportunities and interesting lifestyles.  Sunnybrook Stables and its owners are the proof that with hard work and a clear vision, dreams can come true!  

 

More Stories:
  • Lions' International Life Membership Award The shiny metal Lions’ International Life Membership Card received by Wetaskiwin Lion, Isabel Peters, on November 24, 2014, is a symbolic recognition of her long time, dedicated service to the Club. The card was presented ...
  • Piatta Forma Singers Perform With The Black Gold Community Band Leduc choir Piatta Forma Singers joined the Black Gold Community Band in an outstanding concert held at Peace Lutheran Church in Leduc city’s downtown core, on the evening of Saturday December 6th. Piatta Forma Singers, a ...
  • Ben Turner - Liberal Hopeful A local man wants to change the face of Parliament. Twenty-two-year-old Ben Turner is vying for a Liberal nomination to run in the newly created Edmonton-Wetaskiwin riding in the next federal election. “I’m not too pleased ...
  • 600 & Counting For Telford Singers On a recent snowy and cold winter night, the Telford Singers celebrated an iconic milestone as they presented their 600th performance to a large crowd of appreciative residents, families and staff of Planeview Place. This ...
  • Millet Winter Carnival On Sunday, December 07, 2014 Millet held the second year of its Winter Carnival. At 10:00 am, the Millet Agriplex was filling with participants, volunteers, families, friends and Santa. The day started with a Carnival put ...
  • Leduc Fundraiser Welcomes Danielle Smith Wildrose members and ‘politically-curious’ residents gathered on Wednesday, December 3rd for a fundraiser hosted the Leduc-Beaumont Wildrose Constituency Association, promoting the Wildrose candidate for our region, Sharon ...
  • The Ash Girl The Wetaskiwin Composite High School (WCHS) Drama troupe performed Timberlake Wertenbakers’ ‘The Ash Girl’ running December 46, 2014. During the first couple of minutes of the performance, one was surprised by the sophistication ...
  • Twas The Night Before Christmas (Almost) Submitted by T.A. Phillips Recreation Coordinator, Town of Calmar After two years in the waiting, the residents of Calmar finally had their very own Christmas in the Park last night, December the 4th. Poor weather over the ...
  • CP Holiday Train 2014 The Christmas spirit swung into full force in Wetaskiwin at 5:30 p.m. on December 8th, 2014 with the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train 2014. The train began its journey to raise awareness of the issue of hunger ...
  • A Memorable Ride For the first time this year, Food Bank executives were invited to ride aboard the CPR Holiday Train from Millet to Leduc, representing the Leduc and District Food Bank, Gert Reynar, executive director and Nadine Leming, ...
  • Check Stop On Highway 2A Amid a vast array of flashing lights on Highway 2A in front of the Super 8 Lodge in Wetaskiwin, vehicles were ushered through a Check Stop on December 6th, 2014. Only this time it was a Charity Check Stop where motorists ...
  • 15th Concert In The Country Pig Roast When you combine good food and good music, you have the delightful kind of evening that Millet’s Concert in the Country held for its 15th annual fall Pig Roast. The succulent pork from a whole roasted pig with all the trimmings ...
  • Thorsby Curling Club Donates $27,338 Submitted By Sam Kobeluck Thorsby Curling Club, which has been inactive since the late 80s, has turned over $11,000 to the Thorsby Elementary School for the purchase of a set of handbells for the music program, and a total ...
  • Annual Rotary Cruise Raffle On the bitterly cold morning of Saturday November 29, the exit lobby of Canadian Tire in Leduc saw a table set up with cheerful Rotary Club of Nisku-Leduc members selling tickets to the Annual Cruise Raffle, a popular fundraiser ...
  • CHIPS Went Shopping And Found Wetaskiwin Mall The 2014 CHIPS (Children’s Indoor Play Society) Winter Carnival was held on November 29th, 2014 in the Wetaskiwin Mall in the old Canadian Tire / Western RV space from noon till 4 pm. There were many squeals of excitement, ...
  • Danger At Highway 21 A heartbroken mother wants something done about the deadly intersection that took her daughter’s life. Using the opportunity for the public to speak to Leduc County Councillors on any topic at their Nov. 25 meeting, Shelley ...
  • 7-Year-Old Hero A seven-year-old boy continues to receive accolades for his heroism. t the Nov. 24 City of Leduc council meeting, Brandon Irwin was presented with a Leduc Achievement Award for the actions that saved the life of four-year-old ...
  • Local Woman Needs Community Support Imagine that you’re facing brain surgery, with an estimated recovery time of up to six months. Now imagine that you have $800.00 a month to do it on. This is the reality for one Wetaskiwin woman. Tracey Schmidt’s health struggles ...
  • 50 Years Broadcasting The Gospel The annual Far East Broadcasting Banquet in Wetaskiwin celebrated 50 years as a Canadian organization; brought news that Bob Bowman, founder of FEB Radio International in 1945, had passed away on March 12, four days before ...
  • Lakedale LightHorse 4-H Club By Kate Harink, Club Reporter And we’re off! The Lakedell Lighthorse Club has re-united for the 2014-2015 season. We have come to use our heads for clearer thinking, our hearts for greater loyalty, our hands for larger service, ...




 
  • Leduc Radio Ad
  • Industrial Netmedia
  • Industrial Netmedia
  • Industrial Netmedia