It all started when I was old enough to know what a Horse was and there the love of this amazing animal was conceived! I remember those Sunday drives… my eyes would be looking out the window to catch a glimpse of any horse we might pass by. At the age of 13 my parents told me… take a summer of riding lessons and the following year we would begin the search for a horse of my own! I answered an ad for a saddle for sale out in Hopkinton, across from the fairgrounds, and there she was standing in a couple of feet of manure looking sad and shabby! My Dad asked, “is the horse for sale”? The answer was yes… and there my search ended!

My First Horse

The next four years would be filled with a lot of riding and showing at local fun shows with Honey! We did everything from trails, racing down the street, playing in the corral, swimming at Broad Cove and Camp Fatima to showing gymkhana, western pleasure & trail classes, to jumping bareback (in a show)! Looking back at that time in my life, with that incredible horse, has brought a couple of tears to my eyes realizing the true gift I had in this little Mare named Honey!

To California

At the age of 18 I decided to venture off across the country to San Diego California with a girlfriend in a green Camaro with my pillow, bedroom lamp and some clothes! The hardest part of leaving was leaving behind my beloved Mare, but something inside was drawing me to go. This is where I would meet my husband of 28 years! We did return to New Hampshire shortly after we were married and lived here for 10 years… and then again San Diego was calling our hearts! We are gypsies at heart, as we have moved more times than I can admit! This time we returned with two boys, 8 and 12 years of age, a dog, cat, lizard and a hamster, a car and truck and a little bit of second hand furniture! About 4 years later I decided to find a place I could rekindle my passion!  I found a Ranch where, for about 1-1/2 years, I rode taking lessons & trail riding with an incredible French Thoroughbred named Wahoo. This inspired me to own my own horse again, but it would still be about 7 years before it would become a reality!

PBR is Founded

In 2002 we moved to Northern California, and purchased a ranch in Auburn where “Painted Blessings Ranch” would become a dream come true! It all started with the support and encouragement of my Husband, Butch, and the purchase of Ellie, a 2-1/2 year old APHA Paint Horse. She was green and so was I, after being away from horses for so long, and not having the skills or knowledge of working with a young horse. So the challenge began, and I became a student of horsemanship! I was surrounded by seasoned horse people, which was priceless, and I began reading, asking questions, and watching RFD, videos on horse training and, of course, on the job training! Then a call came…would I be interested in a 6 month old colt as a gift? Oh… Wow! I don’t usually take on more than I can handle! With much consideration, and the colt capturing my heart, I decided to accept the gift. This began a more challenging part of MY training in horsemanship! I have to be honest with you there were a few times I thought…maybe I should sell him (Cuervo). Then, the right person would come along and help me overcome the lack of confidence and knowledge to get to the next stage of training. Today Cuervo is 5 years old and amazing! He has taught me more than any of the horses I have today. He is the first horse I have had the privilege of starting under saddle, and it has been a very rewarding experience. Knowledge is everything, patience is a must, and gentle as possible but firm as necessary, builds trust and respect! Since then I have bred two of my mares, foaled out and raised four more babies, and have started two of them under saddle. I also worked with a 6 year old Quarter Horse mare and her owners for 2 months teaching them ground work skills, gaining respect and alpha position with the horse, as well as refreshing the mares training. They are now showing her with success and enjoying her at home in their round pen, arena and 100 + acres of open spaces!

PBR Comes to Webster

How did I end up here in Webster, New Hampshire?? We decided it was time to return to our roots, since none of us were getting any younger… wanting to be closer to the family & being gypsies at heart! Everything began to fall into place indicating it was meant for us to move back to New Hampshire . We put our property up for sale, bought a six horse trailer and truck equipped for the trip and packed up 12 chickens, 4 cats, a dog, and 5 horses (two of which were in foal) enough feed, and a few items we would need for the trip, and off we went! Thanks to the many prayers that went up for us we had a very smooth trip across the country driving straight thru to Kansas, where my Husbands’ family live, and spent 2 days there. After a much needed rest for us and the horses, we set out for the last part of the trip, which we made in about 48 hours. 

So here we are about 1-1/2 years later…things haven’t slowed down much since we have built a garage, a barn, two run in sheds, a round pen, started the arena, fencing, had two ponds dug, 6 acres cleared, and two fillies born Spring 2007. After all the preparation in 2007, we can now open up “Painted Blessings Ranch” to the public…offering Boarding, Training, Riding Lessons, Sales and Leases in 2008 and… We look forward to Sharing Our Blessings!

 
Donna and Honey
Honey's first day at home.
 
Honey After
Honey after some TLC.
 
DonnaThornton_Wahoo
Me riding Wahoo!
 
Excited after my first ride on Cuervo.
 
DonnaButchThornton

Butch, Blessing (at just 2-days old),
me, and Ellie.

Painted Blessings Ranch - Webster, NH