Steve and Laverne Harris
began Friendly Horse Acres in 1984 on a small farm in Auburn, Washington.
The farm began with Jodee (April Star Jodee), and Splash (Sadie's Splash), and
kept growing as more horses and ponies came to join the original two.
Laverne had always been
interested in horses. In fact, her mother informed her that her first word
rather startled her city-bred parents. It was "horse."
Laverne was involved
with riding lessons by the time she was eight. She saved until she was able to purchase her first horse, Nifty, a British Columbia, Canada, mustang. Laverne was 14; Nifty was two. Laverne added another horse when
she was 17. Dusky Babe was a frisky little Quarter Horse. A few
years later Laverne sold her horses to begin life in the "real" world.
Steve grew up on a farm
in Renton, Washington. He was familiar with pigs, cows and sheep but he
was always interested in horses, although it wasn't until he married Laverne
that he had first hand experience with that particular animal.
After Steve survived a
life threatening operation, the couple decided it was time to stop waiting.
With the enthusiastic encouragement of their then nine-year-old son, Mark, the
couple went searching for those first horses. Jodee and Splash came home.
Other horses, then ponies, followed.
Eventually, the Auburn
farm became too small for the number of animals and that is when the family
moved to Buckley.
Steve tried racing his homebred Quarter
Horse, but he eventually settled on a passion for draft horses. He is the
jack-of-all-trades around the farm.
Over the years the
horses and ponies of Friendly Horse Acres have been favorites at parades,
birthday parties and visits to retirement and nursing homes in the community.
Laverne's passion for
equines has never diminished. Her primary concern has always been
appreciating the horse on the animal's own terms. She was able to pass
this love on to the youngsters in the neighborhood who began to hang around the
farm. These impromptu lessons eventually evolved into a more structured
schedule of lessons.
Laverne stumbled across
TTEAM, and she embraced that system of handling horses since it is so
consistent with what she has always believed. Horses must be respected as
Out of the Harris'
Quaker faith, the idea of a family camp for people who are not experienced with
horses and who might be a little timid about such a large animal, began.
In 2004, Friendly
Horse Acres became incorporated as a non-profit organization. Now
everyone, no matter their circumstances, can enjoy the horses and ponies.
welcome. Sponsorship programs are also available.