By appointment only
Horses are our passion.
I’m not the average horse person, I wasn’t born into horses, I won my first horse in a horse raffle at a rodeo when I was 12 years old! I grew up in a non-horse family, and the only way I was going to get my first horse, was to win a horse in a raffle! And that’s exactly what happened. There’s no way to explain the emotions in this sentence, as I was horse crazy from the time I could speak, all I wanted was a horse, so from the time my mom bought me that raffle ticket, my focus was on winning that horse! I couldn’t care less about the rodeo that day, all I cared about was the raffle, and the draw… My mom, and my sister went to the rodeo just to hear the draw, well, the rodeo too of course, but the draw was really my only focus! Even though my mom warned me from the day she bought the ticket, “just because you buy a ticket, doesn’t mean you’re going to win Lanna” She was so worried!
It seemed like forever, they kept delaying the draw, and finally at the end of the rodeo, they decided to do the draw, and low and behold, they pulled my name, I won the yearling paint filly! She was a malnourished, solid sorrel, cow hocked grade filly full of lice that had been locked in a barn full of cows for I don’t know how long & hadn’t seen the sun, or proper feed for months! But I didn’t care, I was in LOVE! I cried so hard, I couldn’t speak for 3 days, literally, I couldn’t talk for 3 days I was so happy. It was the happiest day of my life. I went door to door around my neighbourhood, as we lived on an acre lot, and didn’t have the space to put a horse! So, I had to find a place to keep her, that I could afford myself! I found a place 2 miles down the road from me, that I could keep her for free, it was a mess, but if I cleaned it up, it was fenced, with an old barn, water, and a really nice, retired lady that enjoyed my company! Perfect! I was set, and so it began, my life with horses.
From there, I started teaching myself how to train, I read every book, watched every video, and took in every bit of training I could afford. I rode my bike back and forth to the barn year round (I grew up in Prince George, BC) so this is through snow in the winter months, to feed, and water my horses before catching the school bus in the mornings, and after school every day, rain, snow, sleet, no matter what the weather, 7 days/week! As we all do as horse lovers! Before I was old enough to get an actual job to pay for my feed, and horse supplies, I mowed lawns, shoveled driveways, rooves, babysat, you name it, I did odd jobs for neighbours, to pay for my horses.
Horses taught me that I had a responsibility, someone always came before me, I’m so grateful for my horses & what they’ve taught me over the years.
There’s not enough space on this page to write what horses have taught me over the years, and I’m sure you don’t have enough time to read what they’ve taught me, that’s another “book” perhaps? Hopefully this will give you an idea of how it all came about at least, and where it all started, from there, it flourished into where it is today; it hasn’t changed much, the end result is still the same, the love, and passion is still just as strong. I’m still learning just as much, I’m still just as thankful.
Each and every horse teaches me new things, each and every horse brings me new and different love, without losing the love I’ve had for the ones before.
You’re probably wondering if I still have that filly I won in that raffle when I was 12 years old? A very hard, hard lesson happened to me only 3 years later, that beautiful filly I loved SO much, was killed by a drunk driver when I was 15 years old & it nearly drove me away from horses, as I didn’t know if I could love another horse after going through the pain of losing Banner that night. Even writing this sentence this many years later, it brings back the smell of the hard liquor on that man’s breath, that will never leave my memory. Drinking and driving, hard liquor, and drinking for that matter, have impacted my life forever after that “accident” happened that horrible, tragic night, that forever changed my life, and took the life of my beloved horse.
Thankfully, after I grieved the loss of my beautiful filly, I didn’t walk away from horses forever. I already had a second horse at that time, thank goodness for that, or I might not have gotten another horse after losing Banner. It was a cross roads for me though, as my palomino mare at the time, was at a ranch being tried out as a lesson horse, because she had bowed both her front tendons & she wasn’t suitable for me any longer, because I rode pretty hard when I was younger. She was a really good lesson horse for beginner riders, but they couldn’t afford to buy her outright, and wanted to offer me a trade! However, they owned an Arabian farm, and I wasn’t a “fan” of Arabian horses, but they mentioned they took this registered Quarter Horse yearling filly on trade for some hay & would I be interested in taking her? I’d just lost Banner about a week prior, and I was still feeling devastated with my loss, so the thought of taking on another horse was feeling pretty useless at this point, as I didn’t think I could love another horse, nor did I feel like I wanted to?!?
But my mom encouraged me to go out and have a “look” at her. And so it began again. We went and picked up Kings Poco Babe, a registered Quarter Horse bay filly 1985 model, she just passed away here on Nilson Farms in October, 2017 at 32 years old. We have 3 of her daughters, and they are amazing mares. “Babe” was also an amazing mare who was a been there, done that kind of horse, who never stepped a lame step throughout her life! She went everywhere with me, including, she came to college with me! I cannot say enough about this mare, what an honor to own a mare of this grit. Words do not express the kind of amazement, the stories, there’s a “book” in itself on her alone! Our upcoming stallion Frenchmans Paint is Babe’s grandson.
I’ll leave it at that, welcome, and enjoy our website!
Lanna & Brad Nilson
Based in Baldonnel, BC
Visits by appointment only