By TIFFANY RONEY
At some cutesy bed and breakfasts animals are not allowed. At one local bed and breakfast, doors swing wide open for animals large and small. Dwayne and Julie Darsow are the owners of Pretty-Horses, a horse motel and bed and breakfast just outside Abilene.
Darsows broke into business through ice.
While most of the Darsow’s guests bring a few horses and maybe their family, Pretty-Horses’ first guest was a single woman who brought not only horses but also goats, cats, potbelly pigs and five large dogs.
On top of all her pets and livestock the woman came during the ice storm of December 2007.
The woman had hired a man to drive a trailer from her hometown in Ohio and go past her into Oklahoma to pick up another horse.
“He was going to come back here the next day, pick her up and continue the journey, but because of the ice storm he couldn’t get back up here, so she was stuck here three days,” Julie said. “Luckily, we suspected the electricity might go out and we filled all the water containers that we had because all the horses had to go in the pens and we luckily had enough water for three days for them because once it went out, you couldn’t pump any more water.”
During those three days Wayne said he, Julie and the woman sat in the kitchen, cooked on a camp stove and got to know one another. He said she is Pretty-Horses’ longest guest to date.
“So, that was our big introduction to doing this business,” Julie said.
Horse draws words from boy
Another memorable guest was a couple from Kansas City and their recently adopted six-year-old son, Bogie, from Romania. When Bogie arrived at the Darsows, he barely spoke. After he spent time with the horses though, his conversational abilities became a different story.
“He didn’t speak English very well and they said, ‘When he’s around horses, he can speak English,’” Julie said. “So they wanted to spend the weekend here and they did and it was fun. We gave them rides on the pony.”
Bogie had spent the first part of his childhood as part of a people group called the Roma, also known as gypsies.
“They primarily travel by horse and buggy or horseback, so his dad here in the U.S. thought it was kind of in his blood,” Wayne said. “It was amazing to see. He just loves horses.”
Guest supports owners
Julie said she finds “horse people” to be friendly, good people. The Darsows received support from one guest when Julie’s dad was terminally ill with leukemia.
“We had a nurse (visit) whose mother had acute leukemia and she was able to explain the process of how much a blood transfusion can help and things like that,” Wayne said, “In addition to being customers, a lot of times those people have given us advice. They’ve kind of become friends.”
When the nurse came to spend the night at Pretty-Horses, Julie’s dad had just been hospitalized with acute leukemia, and she and Wayne did not know what to expect. I
“(The nurse) said, ‘Yeah, my mom just passed away from this, and this is what we faced,’” Wayne said. “Then she even – she was traveling with some cousins and they were in two vehicles – and she even stayed late the following morning so that she could pray with Julie.”
The nurse continued to stay in contact with Julie via Facebook and phone, asking how things were going and if there was anything she could do for their family. She also offered to go out to lunch with the Darsows anytime they were in the Denver area.
The Darsows agreed that their favorite part about running the horse motel and bed and breakfast is meeting people from across the country.
“That’s been a surprise to me. I thought, ‘Well, it’s going to be nice to see the different horses,’” Wayne said. “We’ve always enjoyed that, but the people have really been the best part.”