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:
  • Helping African Grandmothers Wetaskiwin Grands 4 Africa held a tremendously successful luncheon and program in support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation in its work to support grandmothers and community recovery in 15 of the African countries most affected ...
  • The Terry Fox Run Rocked the City of Leduc On average, 500 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer every day, making fundraising and awareness events like the annual and nationwide Terry Fox Run critical. This year marks the 32nd annual Terry Fox Run for cancer research. ...
  • Keep On Learning Foundation Launched In Maskwacis Submitted by Felisha Crier Hosein My name is Felisha Crier Hosein, the founder and president of the ‘Keep On Learning Foundation’, a non-profit organization created as a way to make a difference in the lives of First Nations’ ...
  • Meet N' Greet Summer Party Summer vacation is over, kids are back to school, gardens are cleared, lawns are mowed, and you don’t know your new neighbour. Well, have a Meet N’ Greet - Show N’ Shine. On Saturday September 13, 2014, Pat & Jean Trottier ...
  • Manluk Centre Officially Opens Although Wetaskiwin’s Manluk Centre Wetaskiwin Regional Aquatics & Fitness has been in operation since June 26th of this year, final touches such as the Donor Wall had to be completed. With great anticipation and careful ...
  • While You’re Making Plans, Life Happens — The One Welcomes A New Face That pretty well sums up Leduc’s 93.1, The One, radio station’s new morning man, James ‘Gruff’ Gushnowski. Gushnowski was born and raised in the small community of Innisfree, located about an hour and a half east of Edmonton, ...
  • Kimto Stage At Waterworks Theatre Brings In Kevin Roy Wetaskiwin and region is whirling in first class entertainment this summer; Loonstock, the RCMP Musical Ride, NASCAR racing, Jay Semko and Punchdrunk concert, Tour of Alberta, Wetaskiwin’s Summer Showcase, the RAM Harvest ...
  • Playhouse For Fun The Millet & District Lions Club of Millet, like many other non-profit organizations in our area, raise funds for community projects. Over the past few months, the Lions Club has been at various events selling raffle tickets ...
  • City Of Leduc More Dynamic Than Ever! The Annual Leduc Community Registration Day is an informative and fun day for the entire family. This year was no different. Hundreds of Leduc and area families converged in the Leduc Recreation Centre (LRC) on Saturday, ...
  • Parade Of Programs Kick Starts Fall And Winter Season On Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 the Wetaskiwin Drill Hall was a flurry of activity as community groups representing athletic clubs, arts, culture and educational opportunities were displaying their products and services. ...
  • Edward Wolfe Leduc can trace its earliest roots to individuals looking for a new start, and as a place that opened its arms and welcomed people from all over the world. At first, it was a refuge for early homesteaders seeking an opportunity ...
  • Salvation Army Outdoors The Wetaskiwin Corps of the Salvation Army held its church service as well as its annual BBQ and Corn Roast in the beautiful outdoor setting of the Lions' Campground on the last day of August. It was well attended by Salvation ...
  • Calmar Burger Bar - Gone For Now! The Burger Bar has been an icon on the main street of Calmar for decades and is known far and wide for its delicious burgers, green gravy (yes green!) and favorite fast food eatery for many of Calmar’s local residents. Fear ...
  • Sears Kids Cancer Ride Comes to Leduc On Sunday morning, September 10th, a little before 9:30am, a group of cyclists were greeted by Shawn Nawaz and his family, owner of the Leduc Sears Hometown store. They were part of the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride that ...
  • New Sarepta Demolition Derby On Sunday, September 7, 2014 in New Sarepta, a demolition derby in support of minor hockey entertained 1600 spectators despite Mother Nature’s grumpy mood. They were prepared for hard fun and did not care about a little rain. ...
  • Adding the Personal Touch to Healthcare The Wetaskiwin Healthcare Auxiliary provides many of the personal and homey touches and equipment that add to the comfort of mind, heart and body of hospital patients, especially those in Long Term Care (LTC). The funds it ...
  • A Unique Country Fair – Fusion Of Rural And Urban The Lakedell Country Fair is unique. The event is billed as the, “Join us for a fun-filled day at our 38th Annual Lakedell Country Fair, August 31st, Alberta’s Largest One-Day Fair”. This title becomes easier and easier to ...
  • Al Lund Memorial Bike Ride Supports Museum “The ride will be starting at the Wetaskiwin Fire Hall (5940 – 40 Avenue) on Highway 13 again this year”, stated Kathy Lund, widow of Al Lund and Chair of the Wetaskiwin Museum Board. “The riders and spectators will meet ...
  • Mayor Krischke’s Ice Bucket The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has swept across North America, found its way to Leduc and several area mayors took up the challenge— including Leduc’s. “I had seen it happening and was anticipating making a donation then Don ...
  • Leduc Farmer's Peach Festival The outdoor Leduc Farmers’ Market held its Peach Festival on Saturday, August 30th to large crowds. The Festival was one of the best attended this summer. Part of the reason, may have been, that the Farmers’ Market and the ...




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