Posted by: ranchomontoya | December 15, 2010

AT&T Team Builder

Yesterday,  We had a Team of Co-Workers from AT&T come over to Rancho Montoya to do a company team builder. Sally, was originally contacted by Charlie Wilson, Sr. Technical Director, Engineering, AT&T WI- FI Services, and asked if there was an opportunity to do some community service and help with this Non-profit organization? They were interested in the great work we do in this community with at risk Youth and adults.

They all showed up at 1 pm and were anxious and willing to pitch in and help out. We got all the boundaries of the property cleaned, the pen, and the Minis shelter.  After we were all done cleaning up we saved some time to work with the horses. We groomed them and cleaned their hooves and then took them for a nice walk on a beautiful Winter day. The horses were excited to find some patches of green grass to munch on.  When we put them back into the field Rudy did his usual drop and roll as if to show off for them. It is funny because on the walk I was telling them about him rolling around after each visit and then he did it! Then, all three of them took off running, playing, and bucking up as if to say Thank you. It was awesome. We all watched them play and run around at phenomenal speeds. We were going to place a bet on who would win back to their home base!

Posted by: ranchomontoya | November 19, 2010

Dell Corperate Team building helps Minis

On Wednesday, November 17, 2010, a team came from Dell came to Rancho Montoya to do their corporate team building.They had found us through Volunteer Match.  It was an absolute beautiful day outside and the team led by Melissa Boatright, showed up at lunch time and surprised Rocky, Rudy, and Bravo with a friendly visit. The three guys were actually ready for their afternoon siesta, but they were even more excited to have some company. I could see the little guys wheels turning in their brains, when they realized the company was here to see them and not me!

Besides having such an enjoyable time with the horses, we did have a goal set and wanted to accomplish it in a few short hours. All four of the workers from Dell – Steven, Trish, Melissa and Megan  dove right in and really worked as a team to clean up the pen where the horses can get exercise and practice running and lunging. They raked the whole area and cleaned it free of any debris such as rocks or sticks the horses could possibly trip on and hauled many wheelbarrows towards the woods.  They even got down the hedge cutters and trimmed a tree which had overgrown into their area.  Trish, did an awesome job mucking their shelter and the yard where they lay and hang out. After all of the work was done, we had saved some special time to spend with the Minis. They all worked together as a team once again and groomed and brushed the horses as well with plenty of petting and hugging and loving on the Minis. Let me tell you these little boys were just sucking up all of the attention (the horses, I mean). Lastly, we haltered them all up and went off down the driveway towards the road to take them for a walk and truly spend some quality time with the Minis. As we started down the driveway, all three of these horses just got so excited  and spunky that they were now going to get to go for a walk with their newly made friends. They all just picked up their little heads and were full of themselves as they took off trotting down the road. Steven and Rudy, really picked up the pace, as Steven recently ran a Marathon, so he showed Rudy he could run just as fast as a horse!

Everyone enjoyed their time away from and out of the office immensely, as they kept telling me what a great day this was. Once again, I can’t thank them enough for all of the help around the ranch. I was really far behind, due to traveling and my husband hurting his knee, with this on-going pain. So I am so grateful to Volunteer Match – that they found our opportunity – such wonderful caring people to give up their own personal time and effort for the benefit of our Minis. I truly am Thankful during this time of year for special people like these.
A funny tidbit of information: When they first arrived I was explaining to them what the Minis do in our community and how at the shelters in particular, the Children might bond with any one of our 11 minis and two donkeys we have. It’s just so strange how one kid will bond with this horse or the other. By the end of the visit when we went to groom and go for our walk, Melissa was commenting to me how I was right that each of the persons who had come out for the day had bonded with either rocky, Rudy, or Bravo and how they each sort of had their favorite little horse. It was so cute.

Posted by: ranchomontoya | September 28, 2010

Mini’s visit Dell Children’s Hospital

This Sunday, four of the Austin’s miniature horses visited Dell Children’s Hospital to help support Garrett’s

KidStrong celebrate the 4th Anniversary party of The Childhood Cancer Coalition.  Gil, Sally, Paul, Sherry and plenty of volunteers were on hand to visit with the kids. This was the first official visit that SeanMonet and MasterCard’s new little brother Remington or (Remi), as he’s known for short,  attended. The little guy was so great and mellow and just wonderful with all the little kids visiting with him.  He just did great at we are all so proud of him and looking forward to many more visits throughout the Greater Austin area.  There were plenty of games and treats for the Children to enjoy, as you can see from the pictures.  Bravo has been away for a short time since my car accident and our van getting totalled and this is his first time to jump up into the new Montoya Mini-van.  Little Remi also made a debut appearance and showed everyone outside The Dell Children’s Hospital how  he could jump up into the van all on his own, like a big boy.

Posted by: ranchomontoya | August 7, 2010

Rocky, Rudy, and Bravo get their own Mini shelter

About 25 or so Eagle Scouts and parents showed up at Rancho Montoya to complete the work on a shelter they began yesterday. The summer project was one taken on by Greg Tully of Round Rock Scouts, Troop #27. All of his fellow Scouts were all there to lend a hand with his project. The young Scout drew up the plans and got the materials all donated by Viking Fence Co. Although it was quite hot outside, they managed to stick to the task at hand and complete the project on time with a quick break for lunch which was provided and barbecued by Paul Montoya.

Rocky, Rudy, and Bravo instantly took to the new shelter to investigate and have a little privacy. After the shelter was complete, the Scouts enjoyed running and trying to catch Bravo and Rudy all over the property. Rudy and Bravo thought it was a game of tag and they didn’t want to be IT! The boys gave it their best shot, but still couldn’t catch them, as they flew at a very high rate of speed. Rocky, smelled barbecued Hot Dogs and chips and stayed out of the chasing game and investigated the leftovers!

Many Thanks go out to these fine dedicated young Eagle Scouts for their diligence and dedication to this project. We, and the horses, couldn’t be happier. Thanks again to all who participated in this project.

Posted by: ranchomontoya | August 6, 2010

Eagle Scouts building shelter at Rancho Montoya

Today, bright and early, one by one and truck by truck, The Round Rock Eagle Scouts, from troop #27 began arriving at Rancho Montoya to begin work on a shelter for the horses. The summer project is being taken on by Greg Tully, an Eagle Scout and he was supported by fellow Scouts and their Father’s to lend their hands to get a huge project done.  Today as seen in one of these photos, there are three generations of Tully men, as Greg is accompanied by his Dad and Grandfather.


Today the ground was broken  using a post-hole digger.  But as true as the Texas heat, so was the ground as  hard. At one moment it seemed as the hole digger would never progress past a certain spot in the  dry hard ground, but finally it did manage to dig a proper hole.  Cement was  poured, poles were placed and they will return tomorrow to work on or perhaps finish the job.

Many Thanks go out, from The Montoya family and on behalf on Minis and Friends,  to these dedicated young Scouts for their fine efforts,  tolerating the blistering temperatures and helping our Non-profit organization Minis and Friends, as we help with these  special trained therapy horses in our community with  Children and Adults who need the minis and the friends the most, for free. The working Minis on property  are Rocky, Rudy, and Bravo, who will surely appreciate this shelter from the storms and environment  or just to crash in at night for a little privacy and R & R 🙂

Posted by: ranchomontoya | June 27, 2010

Early morning Training session at Petsmart

As many of us who could gather together at our local area Petsmart at Sunset Valley on Saturday morning did so. With eager new volunteers on hand  ready to start their training and a few faces we haven’t seen in a while, we all gathered in the parking lot for some quick instructions from Sally Iwanski, Co-founder of Minis and friends. The manager and staff of Petsmart welcomed us to do a walk through with the Minis for some practice walking on the slick floors and being indoors without a potty accident.  Glad to say all went well on that end! After their training the Minis were on hand to visit with all of the Children and Adults. As soon as the training at Petsmart was concluded the training continued for our staff and Minis, as they had a brisk morning walk through the trails at Sunset Valley. It was a great morning and many many thanks go out to the staff and management at Petsamrt for allowing us this opportunity. At the conclusion, Rudy did his usual spectacular drop and roll right in front of everyone , right in the Petsmart parking Lot, much

 to the amazement of all who were there visiting with the horses after their training.

Posted by: ranchomontoya | June 26, 2010

Fundraiser BBQ at Sam’s Club

On Saturday, June 19th, we had a Fundraiser BBQ at Sam’s Club. It was a huge success, thanks to all of our Mini Owners and volunteers generosity with donations and time. We served up Brisket/Sausage plates with rice, beans, pickles, and bread for $7.00.  Many thanks to Paul Montoya for staying up with little or no sleep to smoke our delicious briskets

, which were purchased from Sam’s Club with donations of gift cards from area businesses which support us. Many thanks to Olivia at Wal-Mart for her continuing on-going support, and other area Wal-marts. We couldn’t have had such a great profit if it were not for them caring about our work we do in our community. Thanks to Randy and Marie at Sam’s for letting us have this event in their parking lot. We made a total of $ 865.00.

Posted by: ranchomontoya | April 24, 2010

Visit to Safe Place

SafePlace Team

SafePlace Team


This morning we all loaded up our Mini herd of miniature horses   and headed over for our first official visit to Safe Place. Plenty of Children were on hand and instantly greeted and made the horses feel welcome.  Seven horses made the trip to the shelter SeanMonet, MasterCard, Diego, Jax, Rocky, Rudy and Bravo and they were all ready to be walked, groomed, and loved on. The horses were a huge hit with the Children and Adults as well.

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Although the weather was very hot , it didn’t slow down the boys any as they were willing to make several long walking trips with each of the dozens of kids. A lot of excercise was had by all horses and people. Some of the younger Children were ready for a nap and so were the horses. The Children said Thank You and see ya next time as they bid a farewell to the Mini’s!

On Thursday April 22, 2010, The Black Stallion Literacy Foundation hosted the “2nd Touch” after completion of the 1st book “Little Black, A Pony”, a reading program with six AISD elementary schools, primarily from East Austin. The event was held at the Travis County Expo Center and was an all day event. It was a field trip for the children and a day to get out of the classroom and participate in the 2nd touch phase of a reading program.  In this phase the kids would go through different stations on horse care activities covered such as, grooming, tack, shoeing, feeding, and so forth. Then the kids were able to sit on bales of hay and read from one of two the books  they were given to 2 horses available at the Reading stations that represented the horses in the book – Big Red and Little Black.  The children were allowed to touch the horse after they read to them.

Sally Iwanski, co-founder of Minis and friends and Sherry Montoya were there to lend support and volunteer to this wonderful cause of reading education of these East Austin schools. Sally was a guide and directed the children where to go and taking them successfully through all aspects of their equine experience. Sherry taught the grooming class and really had the children wanting to learn more as it was a very interacting hands-on class.

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The children read the book “Little Black, A Pony” and were deeply touched by the story of Little Black and Big Red and their adventures on a little boy’s farm. Little Black had such a heart and strong will he wanted to be just like Big Red. But in the end when the boy was in big trouble – it was his dear friend Little Black that came to his rescue. Minis and Friends will be using the BSFP’s model for the reading program only using miniature horses during reading instead of big horses.  Sally and Sherry were there not only volunteering but there to observe and learn everything they could in a day and how we may incorporate it into our own program as we bring books and the love of reading to the kids at the shelters.

Minis and Friends is very honored and proud to be a beta model for adding to the Black Stallion Literacy Foundation a new program entirely with their miniature horses.  Sally contacted the Florida based Foundation in February 2010 to see how we could bring the program to the children we visit at the Shelters and Residential Treatment Centers we visit on weekends. These kids attend charter schools or on-site schools and are not in the public school system.  We are already scheduling with our contacts and in the next 2 weeks will visit with them to explain the program and how another unique equine experience can be brought to these children as an alternate learning source for reading – the basis of all learning starts with reading.

Our special program with the Black Stallion Foundation will entail a summer camp program. This is a partially funded program through the Black Stallion Foundation in which the child will receive two books by the author Walter Farley, “Little Black, A Pony”and “Little Black Goes to the Circus”.  The shelters will be asked to fund the remaining $10 per child which covers the books and a curriculum of educational activities.  There are two stages to the program the second ending in a field trip to a ranch as a hands-on educational field trip.  Minis and Friends would love to find corporations to sponsor this program to provide a grant so that we could gift the children at the shelters these 2 books and some horse related encouragement awards (such as horse coloring books, bookmarks, t-shirts, etc.) during the Camp timeframe. ( Interested sponsors – please contact us at

To Donate to Minis and Friends for the Shelter Reading Program – please visit our website for PayPal link or mail to: Minis and Friends, P.O. Box 91704, Austin, TX  78709

Posted by: ranchomontoya | February 23, 2010

Mini’s at Rancho Montoya playing in the Snow

Boy this is the  first time we have really seen the snow in our short Horse lives. As you can see by the pictures, it’s fun running around and chasing each other in the snow.  I’m

Rocky, and I think I am having the most fun of all with Rudy. Bravo joins in a little but he is not quite sure what to make of all this cold white stuff. Rocky takes time to stop and lick his salt block in the snow.  Even our Mom came outside and romped around and played with us in the snow. I wonder if we will get enough to have her help us build a snowman? That would be so much fun and then we could have a huge pile of snow to eat. As you can see, Rocky likes eating the snow! We are so glad we don’t have to go to school like all of our Children friends do. We just get to stay home and play all day!

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