“I haven’t known Wendy or the Fjord horses for very long. If I’m being completely honest, I had never even heard of the Fjord horse until one random day mid-fall, Wendy emailed my fiance and I when looking for caregivers to watch over her little farm. I didn’t know it then, but that email was going to completely change the direction of my life.
The first time I stepped foot on Sunnyside Farms, I was intrigued. The picturesque little red farm nestled comfortably at the bottom of the small hill next to the creek looks like it hopped straight out of the pages of a fairytale book. You can feel the love the moment you step out of your car. Little cowboy boots that have been converted into birdhouses hang from the trees, and everywhere you look a small sign or a wonderful piece of art is hidden between the pines, aspen trees, and out buildings. It is very obvious how much work, time, and love Wendy has put into this little hidden gem.
If you know Wendy personally, then you know she holds high standards for her nonprofit, her farm, her life, and her animals. The Fjord horses are the most well-behaved horses I have ever had the pleasure of working with. They may be smaller in size but they make up for it with their hardy bodies and enduring personalities. Their calm and stable demeanor can turn any bad mood into pure happiness.
For the past few years, I have dealt with terrible anxiety and depression. I have felt very stuck in my life and didn’t have any motivation to find a way to get unstuck. I was sad, I disliked my office job, and I felt like I had lost myself. Deciding to be a caregiver for Sunnyside Farms was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Waking up everyday, and forcing myself to go outside and care for the animals has changed my perspective on life. For the first time in years, I don’t have to try to force myself to smile. For the first time in a very long time, I am truly and effortless, happy and in a good place mentally. Six months may not be a long time but a lot can change in half a year. Sunnyside Farms helped me find myself again. Fjord horses are magical and I can honestly say, I have changed for the better since they have been in my life.”
-Hannah S., Bozeman, MT
“I met Wendy Bauwens few years ago in Wickenburg and became intrigued when she told me about her Norwegian Fjords, the name alone sounded magical. I didn’t grow up around horses and was thrown off as an adult. I had been wanting my grandchildren to have some early exposure to horses, so they would grow up comfortable around them and the Norwegian Fjords at Sunnyside Farms seemed like the place to start. The bond grew quickly between the grandchildren, Ms. Wendy and these gentle steeds and was heartwarming to observe. It wasn’t so much about the riding as it was about the interactions between the mares, their foals and the patient and thoughtful instructions from Ms. Wendy as the children brushed and groomed the horses and discussed their qualities and gentle temperament. From a distance, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Ms. Wendy answers to the young ones’ questions about horse anatomy and the ways of things: “how do you know when the baby will come; why do we braid the tail; and how does the baby know which one their mama is?”
Our grandkids are ages 12, 9, 7, and 9 months and they have had to face some challenges, but when my husband and I see them with Ms. Wendy and her Fjords our hearts are full of happiness. And, there is no happier time than when there are new foals…that is when the real fun begins. There is petting and cuddling with furry white newborns followed by some rambunctiousness, like getting a foal to play with a giant soccer ball around the pen.
When the kids do ride, it isn’t like anything I could ever have imagined! They start bareback, sitting forwards, backwards, and sideways, with hands in the air. This has helped them gain confidence and balance on the horses. They are now starting to trot in English and Western saddles with nice straight backs. They look so self-assured and focused. The children’s time at Sunnyside is so fun to observe that we often end up with an entourage of friends and family who just want to come watch, and of course pet the Norwegian Fjords. I feel like there is something medicinal that happens for all of us, even for the older visitors who join us. Warm smiles light up our eyes and we tend to linger until sunset to give that one last caress of love to one of Ms. Wendy’s Fjords. Thank you, Ms. Wendy!”
– Grandma P., Wickenburg, Arizona
“My children have fallen in love! Wendy is a remarkable trainer.” – Lyndsey B., Wickenburg, Arizona
“Spending three-plus days at Sunnyside Farms was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the entire Dix O’hana and one that Hiro in particular will never forget—mahalo nui loa for making us feel so much at home with you, your friends and, of course, all of your wonderful four-legged, three-legged and two-legged companions.”
– Chris D., Honolulu, Hawai’i
“…I have been on the Sunnyside Farm website a lot and its amazing. It is so beautiful, organized, easy to get around, informative, everything from the photos to the music and many many other really great things. Whoever did it and updates it, has done an amazing job. It’s fresh and present.
Your program with the horses shows such a dedication to the breed, to using your beauties to their greatest potential as the beautiful creatures they are and their capacity to change the lives of so many people thru your amazingly compitent guidence. They are lucky horses to be in your care. They are lucky horses to be living with you.
Your dedication to children, exposing them to your talents as a breeder, a teaching, the kindness and love for your animals shows in your website. It’s beautiful.
It’s so impressive. Wendy is are a force for good if there ever was one. She lives what you teaches. It’s a lot of work, that’s obvious. I love her energy and commitment to everything she does. I love that she touches so many in a loving and good, positive and kind way. You go girl!”
Patricia L., Clyde Park, MT
“I discovered Wendy after searching for a female driving trainer. She was gracious, informative and friendly so I made arrangements to work with her at her winter farm location outside of Wickenburg, AZ. She introduced me to her Norwegian Fjord Horses and I fell in love. We hitched up her stallion, Smedsmo Gråen and went for a drive. I soon realized the magic of the Fjord. They are such beautiful, wonderful, calm, gentle, and easy going horses. Wendy and Smedsmo showed me the basics to driving and it wasn’t long before I was able to take the reins. Wendy’s focus in on safety which is very helpful when you will be driving solo. She is knowledgeable, approachable, prompt, and hard working. Her programs are something that I can support and her horses are outstanding.”
– Sunny T., Kaycee, Wyoming
“I met Wendy 5 years ago when I purchased my first Fjord from her. I have never looked back! Wendy has always been there for me and my horses! I email her with questions and get back quick responses. She is like a sister to me. She has helped me thru good times and hard times. What I admire most is her passion for therapy work through horses and her ability to communicate so clearly her passion. Wendy has an unbridled love for helping folks through therapy riding and driving. She is the best!!
I also admire her deep love for the Norwegian Fjord Horse. Wendy respects the need of “new blood” coming directly from “The Old Country” in Norway. She traveled to Norway to purchase Fjords just for that.
The equestrian community desperately needs more Wendy’s in it’s world!”
– Carol L., Sebastapol, California
“Wendy is definitely doing things right! She creates excitement and makes BIG things happen! Most people don’t have the know how or the energy to even consider this type of program. Fjords are her life!”
– Karen L., Appleton, Wisconsin
“…As a nurse that sees life and death every day, I am truly inspired by your dedication to helping others. Not many people like you out there!”
Kelly M., Eu Claire, WI