Richard and Mary acquired what is now Mountain Magic Ranch in 2001, eight years after they began what became a serious passion for Gaited Mountain Horses, including the Rocky Mountain Horse, the Mountain Pleasure Horse and the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse. It was their vision then to have enough space to allow horses to run “free” as they had done for thousands of years, to breed and foal naturally, and to give the offspring the confidence and sure footedness that comes from open space. So, what began as a family idea in 1993 with three mares and a stallion, grew to a herd of over 200 choice Rocky Mountain Horses.
Horses were not always a part of Richard’s and Mary’s lives, although Mary was one of those fortunate few who not only dreamed of, but had a pony when she was a child. It was only when they got actively involved in a therapeutic riding program for disabled and disadvantaged children – Horsepower– in Castle Rock, Colorado that they saw and experienced what few people ever do. They learned first hand that the gentle spirit and guiding ways of a powerful animal can break barriers, giving the gift of speech to some who could not speak, and the gift of independent walking to some who had previously been restricted to wheelchairs, and confidence, self esteem and independence to all others when riding. Mary was recognized for her work and received the National Volunteer of the Year Award from Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH).
Richard and Mary began to ask, if horses could do that for people with special needs, what could they do for a family that wanted to play together and teach their children responsibility along the way? It was then that they visited a professional acquaintance of Richard’s in Kentucky whose family had been raising these breeds for five generations, Al Prewitt. As a piece of history, someone borrowed one of his family’s horses to “ride the country for five months to tell people President Lincoln had been shot.” When he returned he was so impressed with the ride he wanted to buy the horse. The same thing happened to Richard and Mary. One weekend, not five months, of riding these smooth, gentle horses and they were sold. They bought four, then four more and…
Eight years later Al and Richard became partners as Richard bought into Al’s love of the breed, and Al thought Richard’s dream of letting horses grow up naturally would produce a better riding horse made sense.
Unfortunately within a couple of years Al passed away unexpectedly, but his dream lives on at Mountain Magic Ranch. Richard remembers sitting with Al in his car in the middle of a pasture one morning and watching the whole herd of mares and foals running in a huge circle around them. Out of nowhere Al said, “This is just what heaven is going to be like.” Richard thinks Al was right.
Over the years, Richard and Mary have enjoyed a wide variety of activities with their Mountain Horses. Some of the most memorable experiences include: rounding up cattle, endurance riding, showing, trail riding in national parks and forests such as Grand Teton, Redwood, and Black Hills, riding on the beach in California, the annual horse round up at MMR, initial handling and gentling of foals, putting miles and miles on horses that have recently be started under saddle, and trail rides and camping trips with family and friends.
Since starting the dream of Mountain Magic Ranch, Mary was diagnosed with a debilitating disease. She is now unable to spend time with her beloved horses, however, during the course of her debilitation, the horses provided her with comfort, care, and companionship. The horses sensed her needs, just as Mary had observed them sensing the fragility of the children she worked with at Horsepower.
Today the goal is what it has always been – to raise a horse naturally with a great temperament, and match each to an owner or family who wants an incredible riding experience and a deep personal relationship.
In addition to the ranch, Richard works in his business in Denver, AUCTORIS. He is fortunate to work with owners of large private businesses and other very successful families throughout the country preserving the business and wealth from loss through estate taxes, and allowing it to remain in the family for multiple generations in the future.
Tamara is the daughter of Richard and Mary Hartmann. Her interest in gaited Mountain Horses began in 1993 when her parents purchased their first mares and stallion. In 1997 she and her husband, Dan, established Stone Bridge Farm, a family-owned and operated Rocky Mountain Horse farm in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. The focus of Dan and Tamara’s breeding program is to produce family, trail horses with outstanding, smooth natural gaits and willing, friendly personalities. They have produced fantastic trail partners that can now be found across the United States and around the world.
Tamara loves working with gaited Mountain Horses and has been an avid student, soaking up information and determining what works best for her and fits with her natural approach to horsemanship. She has been a gait Examiner for the Rocky Mountain Horse Association since 2006.
In 2010, Tamara began to pursue her interest in Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning. In 2011 she completed Linda Kohanov’s Apprenticeship Program with Epona Equestrian Services in Amado, Arizona. Tamara is now an Epona Approved Instructor and works in partnership with her herd of Rocky Mountain Horses to offer unique vacations from her farm in Minnesota via Equine Connection @ Stone Bridge Farm. The vacations integrate daily riding with introductory Epona activities focused on building awareness and developing skills to succeed with horses and in life.
Tamara is an excellent communicator and facilitator; has worked in the field of Organizational Development; has managed numerous teams; has bred, trained, and sold Rocky Mountain Horses since 1997; is an avid trail rider; is trained in the healing modalities of massage therapy; and is an Epona Approved Instructor for Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning.
Tamara is a consultant for Mountain Magic Ranch; assisting with sales, training, management, and administration. To learn more about Tamara’s farm and Equine Connection, visit the Stone Bridge Farm website.