Thursday, December 15, 2016

My First Memories of Sweetbrier by Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

Sweetbrier Farm

My First Memories of Sweetbrier

What did you want to do when you were little? I wanted to be a champion rider, like my sister. But I never seemed to do things at the same rate as other kids. I arrived a couple months early, tipping the scale at a whopping three pounds. At first, the doctors said it would take me time to catch up with other children, so my parents didn’t fret about it until I was nearly four years old and still not walking. They decided it was time to visit a specialist. I still remember that day because it changed everything in an instant.
My dad carried me into the office. Guess what happened a few minutes later? The doctor had the nerve to tell my dad I’d never walk, due to cerebral palsy. It’s something caused by damage to my brain at birth. I’m very lucky it only affected my legs. My dad scooped me up and stormed out, after he told the doctor where he could go with his opinion.
Of course, neither of us were pleased, but my dad said, “Don’t pay any attention to what the doctor said because he’s wrong. I’m going to teach you to ride horses and you’re going to be fine.”
We lived on a riding school called Sweetbrier so we already had ponies and horses to ride. Our farm was named in honor of rare flowers called Sweetbrier Roses. People came from far away to admire the roses and take pictures of them.
Smiling as widely as possible, I couldn’t wait for the big day when I’d ride the chubby little speckled-gray pony, Little Man. When I first started riding Little Man, my dad led me around the riding ring while he rode another horse. My arms weren’t strong enough to use the reins. I liked listening to Little Man’s the slow clip-clop of Little Man’s hooves hitting the sandy soil in the ring. Just to keep things interesting, I’d slide off whenever my legs got tired.
“Why did I fall off, Daddy?” 
“Your legs got tired, but eventually, they’ll get stronger and you’ll stay on.”
I hope I learn that little trick quickly, I thought.
 What happened when I rode Little Man by myself? “Now I can ride by myself, Daddy,” I said, grinning. Every day before my ride, I’d give Little Man a sugar cube, thinking he wouldn’t dare misbehave. But bribery wasn’t always helpful. I was so busy steering and trying to stay on top of Little Man, I didn’t notice he got so bored he’d lie down and roll while on was still on his back, yikes.
“Are you okay, honey?" Daddy would ask, brushing the sand off.
“Yes,” I’d say, sniffing back tears.  "The Humphrys don’t give up,” he’d say, giving me a hug and kiss.
Little Man and I spent a lot of time together before I figured out the secret to success. I’d pay close attention to Little Man and I noticed he’d walk slower and slower, just before he’d lay down for his nap.
You can see all I’d have missed if my dad hadn’t made the decision to teach me to ride. We had good days and not so good ones at Sweetbrier, but I learned to go after my dreams because nothing is impossible if you persevere.
My dad always said, “You never know what you can do until you try.”  Isn’t that great advice?
I wrote a book about growing up at Sweetbrier. You’ll find out lots more about what happened during my childhood. It’s an award-winning story called Tails of Sweetbrier. I hope my Dad would be proud of our story.
Here is the closing statement from Tails of Sweetbrier.
“You have the power to make your dreams come true so reach for them and don’t accept anything less!”
About the Author
Deanie Humphrys-Dunne is an award-winning children’s author with four books published presently: Tails of Sweetbrier, Charlie the Horse, Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes, and Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog. All of her books are beautifully illustrated by her sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj. Deanie’s true story, Tails of Sweetbrier, won the silver medal in the Feathered Quill Book Awards, finalist in the CLIPPA, honorable mention in the Purple Dragonfly Awards, and the silver medal in the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards. Deanie’s fictional stories are told by the animal characters.

Deanie believes the message that perseverance is the key to accomplishing amazing things is one that can benefit every child. Through her inspiring, real life and fictional works, children will learn that anything is possible if they refuse to give up on their dreams. We can attain much more than we ever imagine by never quitting. Children will be reminded that tenacity is the key to success. They will see proof that obstacles can be overcome and that quitting only guarantees failure.

Deanie wants to be a positive influence to children. She loves to write entertaining stories that emphasize important values such as; never giving up, setting goals, and working together to realize great things. Her goal is to write books that build self-esteem and confidence in children. She works tirelessly to write books that would appeal to children and also teach them valuable lessons, presented in an engaging manner.

Deanie is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. She has been featured on several author websites and received top billing for one of her interviews with renowned author, Amb. Claire Power Murphy.  She has been honored with numerous blogging awards and nominations. Deanie was recently featured on Style television program to discuss her books. Additionally, she has been featured on with JD Holiday and Annette Rochelle Aben.

Connect with Deanie…


Deanie Humphrys-Dunne said...

Thank you so much for posting this, Gina. I just found it. Hope everyone enjoys my thoughts on growing up at Sweetbrier.

Gina said...

Hi Deanie! Love your story, the horses, and your memories! Keep in touch!

Cyn Seco said...

When was this picture of Sweetbrier taken? I think I can see my dad's car and I wonder if I'm one of the horse's in the ring?

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne said...

I'm not sure about the date this picture was taken. There wasn't a date on it. We sold the farm in the late 70's so I know it was before that.