Meet the Herd

Montana, Homer and April were the first members of Drea Bowen’s herd and became the “Heart of the Herd” – they are also the horses depicted in Roby’s logo, Art of the Herd, which is a modification of Drea’s own logo for the Heart of the Herd Ranch & Retreat Center (courtesy of Drea, and with her blessings).

All but two members of Drea’s herd, Sierra and Johnny, were rescued from terrible living conditions over several years. What follows is the individual stories of each member of Drea’s herd, along with each horse’s “Life Lessons to the World.”

Annie - Chestnut Foundation Quarter Horse Mare

“Don’t ever give up on believing life and the people in it are good...
even when it can feel so bad.”

Annie was with Skye’s herd. She had better prospects as a young sound mare and she went off to be started under saddle in Wyoming. By the time she found her way to Washington she was not the same mare Drea had met over a year earlier. She was afraid, defensive, shut down and had developed an extreme weaving stress response stereotypy. Drea didn’t know if a stress response as severe as Annie’s could be healed.

It took two years of unfailing willingness to see and feel with Annie’s emotional states and to respond to help her before it became clear that she was not only healing but reaching out to work with people and becoming an integral part of the herd.

Annie is a clever, powerful mare who will lead when her wisdom is needed and who knows her fire. She is carefully trusting and exploring life beyond what hurt her.

April - Red Bay Appendix Quarter Horse Mare

“When life seems dark, look for the light...in You!”

April was the first Heart of the Herd mare and started Drea’s deep love and respect for mares. Drea paid a good bit to rescue this near descendant of the famous racehorse Citation. She was a sad, injured, shut down, soft, doe-eyed mare with a vacant stare that neither horse nor human could connect to.

April’s legacy is about the intimacy and healing power of patience and trust. She found her way out of her darkness and blossomed into one of the dearest and most interesting beings Drea has ever known.

Today, in her late 20’s April expresses deep feminine wisdom with flashes of princess ;) in her friendships and in her work with humans.


Holly - Sorrel Quarter Horse Mare

“Your wisdom, grace and feminine fire ground me and light my path.”

Holly came from Skye’s herd. Drea found Holly’s picture among the mares that were at risk and felt drawn to follow her closely. Holly was pregnant, functionally sound with limited possibilities. She arrived in Washington 4 weeks before she gave birth to Sierra Starshine (named by Drea’s kids :).

Holly was born and raised on wild land and lived in a mare band with limited human interventions beyond the heart breaking yearly separation from the foals. She holds the ancestral knowledge of a free lead mare. She is an earth mother. She is wise, connective and nurturing and Drea promised her Sierra would not be taken from her. She is Grace and energetic fire; her physical fire is rarely needed.

She brings lessons to every woman about finding grace, nurturing relationships, trusting wisdom and not being afraid of her fire.

Homer - Sorrel Quarter Horse Gelding

“There are beings that inspire every part of one’s soul;
you are that kind of being.”

The third original member of the herd. Drea tried for 2 years to buy him, sight unseen, before she was successful. When he got off the trailer he was 300 pounds overweight and couldn’t take 4 steps without tripping, but his charisma and presence were intoxicating.

Homer’s love of all beings two and four legged taught everyone so much about the kind of connection that holds social groups together. He was the Rock of Gibraltar for the herd in every way.

Homer passed in October of 2012. An athletic powerhouse, he was full of grace, four-wheel drive fire and humor, and a character whose spirit continues to guide us.


Izzy - Dark Bay Mini Mare

“Thank you for seeing and loving the soul of who I am…even when it isn’t easy ;)”

Drea rescued Izzy from a bad situation with an interesting long story - too long to tell here.

Her arrival in the herd was as unexpected as the lessons she has had to teach us all. The size and shape of your body is irrelevant to living your life. It is all about your attitude, belief in yourself and willingness to show up for YOU!

Izzy believes in her energetic presence and the herd does too. She travels the full spectrum emotionally, physically and energetically and it is always interesting to keep up with her. Though Izzy had her own emotional healing to do (some of it related to being pushed around because she was small versus being seen as an individual), she has made friends in the herd and has become an integral part of the whole.

Izzy is smart, sassy, opinionated and a very wise soul.

Johnny Thunder - Dark Bay Appendix Quarter Horse

“Life is Great when you surround yourself with Great friends!”

April’s first and only baby (born a week apart from Sierra, Holly’s foal), Johnny hit the ground with common sense. He was a handful for an older first time mom and they worked it out together with the support of Holly and Sierra and his second mom, Drea.

Homer impacted Johnny’s development immeasurably and thus, Johnny has a similar charisma and is regal in his presence.

Johnny is a truly gifted social facilitator. He is kind and SMART, creative, and a willing and honest participant when working with people.

Johnny loves his gelding friends and is equally happy with the mares. He is the glue and the fun that brings special energy to the herd.


Montana - Red Dun Morgan Quarter Horse Gelding

“When the choice is giving in or breaking free,
choose courage!”

Montana was the first “challenging” horse who came in 2001. He has been a master teacher for Drea and every human who has the privilege to work with him. His courage to stand up for what called him to earth, no matter what – is a quality that is unmatched in the herd.

With Montana, it is an honor to be in a place of trusted friendship with him because if you got there, you showed up in your authenticity. He won’t do it any other way.

Montana is endearingly called “The Magician” because of the lessons he magically teaches about heart and courage and being Authentic!



Rasa - Red Roan foundation Quarter Horse Mare

“Trust yourself – you know what you are capable of –
listen to your soul voice and dare to dance.”

Rasa is the last of the horses that came from a medical crisis dispersal. Previously known as Playgirl, Rasa went to Wyoming with Annie. She also developed a weaving stereotypy, was lame and sick.

With a commitment to provide the mares a forever home, free of emotional and physical pain, full of love and time to heal with no expectations, they have blossomed. Tabula Rasa in Latin means “clean slate” and Playgirl needed that.

Rasa is a mare that has so much heart and her emotions are at the surface to be felt or misunderstood. As Rasa finds the courage to let her light be seen, she shines mysterious and magical. She is a sentry and a space holder for us all to find our brilliance no matter what our path has been.

Rasa has done her own healing and she is held by the herd. She trusts herself and is careful with her emotional and physical limitations. She expresses her heart and soul and free spirit one unfolding step at a time.

Sierra Starshine - Sorrel Quarter Horse Mare

“Go ahead, be spontaneous and unpredictable…there should always be some things the world doesn’t know about you!”

Holly’s filly Sierra was born four short weeks after Holly arrived in a strange place with a strange herd. It was Holly’s emotional resilience that allowed her to find her feet and connect with the job she had at hand: birthing this foal and starting a new life, one where she will spend her life in relationship with her daughter.

Raised by a confident experienced wild wise mare, Sierra is able to fully live her authenticity...sweet, SPICY, curious, confident and red head hot! Sierra can melt your heart and help you remember to live a bit on your wild side.

Sierra is a delightful and powerful mare who continues to learn and grow and amaze us. She and Holly teach us how deep the bond of love can be.

Skye King - Sorrel Quarter Horse Gelding

“Thank you for seeing ME in the middle of my life’s messy, brilliant, surprising contradictions.”

Skye was just turning two when Drea met him, and was the only gelding within the mare band. He was not for sale and she was not looking for a young gelding. Drea was at the ranch to look at the middle-aged brood mares who were becoming casualties of their human’s health crisis.

Skye arrived in Washington two weeks later (over the next 18 months three of the mares came too).

It is easy to miss the kindness and quirkiness of a soul like Skye’s. It is also easy for him to be taken advantage of.

Skye’s lessons are of slowing down and seeing the soul, setting aside what you want or can take and allow mutual connection so you don’t miss the sweet, quirky, shy, bold, speed demon, energy conservationist that is Skye King.

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