People & Place

There’s something about gals and horses — and dogs, and cows, and all the animals we fall in love with. Some have expanded their love for animals into businesses.

 

Jane Heath

Owner, Montana Horse Sanctuary in Simms

As a child in Billings, Jane looked out her front window to see two young girls riding horses past her house. “I fell in love,” she gushes. “I started riding when I was eight and got my first horse at 12.” Later, as a Professional Equine Therapist, Jane discovered a need to expand her rehab services into rescue. “A lot of these horses have lost their faith in human beings, and it’s a joy to watch them gain weight when they were skinny or move better after being lame.” Justin, an Arabian found standing over his dead pasture-mate, rehabbed with Jane’s staff for over two years. “His heart was broken when he first came to us. He would just hide his head in the corner.” Recently, Jane visited Justin at his adoptive home. “He’s this incredibly friendly and relaxed guy now. That’s what it’s all for.”

www.montanahorsesanctuary.org

 

Libby Burr

Owner, Bridger Feeds in Bozeman

Libby’s focus on quality feeds is a natural match for her clients. “I appreciate the caliber of customer in Montana. We care about quality of life and doing the right thing.” She remembers doing right by one Labrador who had become deaf and torn at his foot pads. “Turns out, he had an intolerance to corn. That dog still inspires me to adapt to meet customer needs.” For Libby, the biggest challenges can become her greatest joys. “I think one sign you’re in the right field is when you can’t wait to meet another professional who can teach you something new.”

www.bridgerfeeds.com

 

 

Kavita Bay

Owner, Hindu Hillbilly Apiary near Missoula

Kavita works with her family to turn area foliage into liquid gold. “Beekeeping makes me feel like a kid. Every time I open a hive, the rest of the world disappears. I get to hunt for the queen, search for eggs, and witness bees hatching out of their cells. Not only do we have the opportunity to be stewards of these amazing animals, but we are rewarded with their raw honey and beeswax, which we sell at local markets.” That full-circle concept is also what challenges Kavita. “The learning curve is steep. We have to work hard to prevent disease, and losses can be heartbreaking. Still, being able to make a living doing something I love is a gift.”

www.facebook.com/HinduHillbilly

 

 

Deb Hill

Owner, Cloud Dancer Alpacas in Lewistown

Looking for a way to support the country lifestyle she loves, Deb discovered Alpacas, from breeding to working with their prized fiber. Deb was at a county fair and saw what she thought was a small llama. “Six months later, I bought my first animal. They’re a smaller animal, too, so that makes it easier for women to handle. I can arm-wrestle them into submission.”

www.clouddanceralpacas.com

 

 

Connie Surber and Laura Ginsburg

Owners, The Golden Yoke Dairy in Saint Ignatius

Montana dairy farming has found two fresh faces in Connie and Laura. “We’re learning to run a sustainable farm with grass-fed cows and eventually want to create our own ice cream which showcases area produce.” Think Flathead Cherry, Dixon Melon, or Paradise Peach. Their focus on local food started from different directions. Laura worked on a dairy farm in New Zealand. “It’s really easy to love cows,” she says. Connie originally sought to escape her agricultural roots because she also loved being in the woods. But Laura and Connie found the Mission Valley and decided this is where they want to raise their animal family. “It’s not just your family farm, it’s also the cows’ family farm.”

www.facebook.com/TheGoldenYoke

 

Shelby Humphries writes about health, weight loss, and being true to ourselves at 100 pounds in 1 year.