Brittney grew up in Winona, Minnesota near Big Valley Ranch*. At the age of ten she packed her suitcase and headed for horse summer camp. The ranch stretches over 165 acres providing plenty of trails perfect for a young girl to explore on horseback. By the end of summer Brittney found herself hooked on horses; beginning an equine habit which escalated into a lifetime passion.
At twelve, Brittney began working at the ranch mucking out stalls and leading trail rides. Her parents surprised Brittney on her thirteenth birthday with a special gift; Austie a bay Quarter Horse/Saddlebred cross with a white heart on her forehead. The mare loved to run fast. She tolerated braids and ribbons woven into her mane and nickered for treats when she saw the young girl.
Brittney boarded her new horse at the Big Valley Ranch which became her home away from home. Each summer ripened into a horse lover’s dream of long trail rides and camping trips with friends amid nature’s tranquil beauty. Winters provided another type of adventure; riding bareback through the snow covered landscape.
Typically, those bit by the horse bug leave horses behind after graduating from high school, entering the age of young adulthood and college. No way was that going to happen to Brittney. She and a close horseback riding friend decided to take their horses to college. Austie walked into a horse trailer and arrived at her new home across the street from the equine facilities at the University of Wisconsin in River Falls where Brittany attended classes in animal science and marketing communications.
When Brittney graduated from college, she sold Austie to a local family with two young girls and bought an almost two year old filly name Stella. Stella and Brittney moved to Oregon. Time marched on, Brittney married, became the mother of two wonderful step-sons and of course continued owning horses. Brittney competed in horse shows; Western Pleasure, dabbled in reining and jumping in college and Western Dressage last summer. Recently, Brittney joined the American Competitive Trail Horse Association and began competitive trail riding.
There is something about horseback riding which brings out the artist lurking within us. Perhaps it’s the immense beauty of riding through the countryside or the thrill created by racing up a hill astride a living locomotive hell-bent on speed. Whatever it is, many people involved with horses turn to writing or painting. Two years ago, Brittany sat down and began writing her first novel; a dream she had since high school. An avid reader, she was inspired by her experiences as a young girl riding horses and the Thoroughbred Series written by Joanna Campbell. As of this date, Brittney has written two novels in the Red Ranch Series: Lucy’s Chance and Showdown. The novels are written for teens and pre-teens. If you love horses and stories about them you can find her novels on-line at Amazon. You can also read more about Brittney Joy on facebook and her website.
Happy trails to all those who love riding horses or just love reading and dreaming about them.
*Footnote on Big Valley Ranch: The ranch was threatened by urban expansion as much of the surrounding acreage has been turned into housing developments. The owner, Gayle Goetzman, enrolled her ranch with the Minnesota Land Trust; a non-profit organization that oversees approximately 29,000 acres in the state. The ranch is now protected from development.