Mark and Cathy Fallon
He asked my opinion, and where do I start?And I said that I...just want horses with heart. I said, I want heart above all the other. I don’t care if he’s Smart Little Lena’s full brother. Or how much money that his grandmother won, or whether he’s roan, palomino or dun. But give me a horse with grit and some try, and some heart and some guts and that’s the one I’ll buy. And I’ve found it’s the same with a woman or man...the good ones won’t quit you when [it] hits the fan.
Mark and I believe horses are meant to be shared. In the beginning we had no plans of offering a year round horse camp. We started with one horse and more came along as did the children who really wanted to ride. In the beginning we donated our time to teaching children who would not have had the means in which to pay for riding lessons or their own horse. On a daily basis we teach about the whole horse from stall cleaning to vetting, hoof trimming, horsemanship and riding. We use gentle methods and take our time with our horses. We are in hopes that future generations will preserve the horses both wild and free.
Before Mark and I moved to Paradise I got this idea in my head that I wanted a horse. When I was looking for properties I wanted to get some land so that I could have that horse of my dreams. I saw an ad for this particular property and it said “perfect for horses”. When we looked at it, Mark drove in and drove out. No one had lived there for fifteen years and it was all overgrown, Still I liked it and we ended up buying it.
Now for the dream of the horse. It took five years to clear the land. Mark kept telling me that horses are not pets, they are a lifestyle. Of course I didn’t know what that meant. He had a history of horses since growing up and I did not. I don’t even know how I got this crazy idea to get a horse. Anyway, I had seen an ad for quarterhorses in a magazine and they weren’t too far away, in Red Bluff. These were Camiseta Badgers. When Mark gave the okay for a horse I immediately called them.
The woman I talked to said they had none for sale at that time. I couldn’t believe that because I knew I was supposed to have a Camiseta. I talked to her a little more and she said they did have this one mare...I had to talk to her husband and he did not want to sell her so I talked him into letting my husband (with the horse experience) talk to him. He finally agreed to let us see her. Well needless to say I did fall in love with her over the phone. When we did see her I completely fell for her. When I purchased her I felt like I had won the lottery, a million bucks! I couldn’t believe she would be mine!
I have loved her ever since and have had no regrets. She was only four when I brought her home, now she is seventeen this year. Through the years we have bought a few more horses and taken in a family of Arabs who really needed us. These feral horses were at the bottom of a canyon with a creek, left on their own to survive. We have worked all these years with the help of the children to turn them into riding horses. None of the Arabs were started before the age of eight and their minds are wonderful.
Yes, it is a lot of work! I like being outside and I guess I just like being around horses. I have some that can’t even be ridden due to their age or physical issues and I’m okay with that. They can still be used for children to love on and brush and lead around. Every life is precious, whether grade, mustang, or registered. I have a mission to save the horses and I’m doing as much as I can and I know there are others like me. Here at the ranch we have Quarterhorses, Spanish Arab / Morgan cross and Mustangs.