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Kids, critters get together at SpringVale Farm

Pumpkins and Ponies is annual family event

October 13, 2012
By HANS MADSEN, , Messenger News

HUMBOLDT - Toddler Callen Johnson was having a great time Saturday morning going from an orange pumpkin to a bumpy orange pumpkin to a green speckled gourd and then onto a gray one, pointing to each one and laughing.

It was his second year attending the Pumpkins and Ponies event at SpringVale Farm south of Humboldt.

His mom, Heather Johnson, said it was a bit different in 2011.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Tucker Ollinger, 1, of Granger, tells his dad, Cole Ollinger, all about the donkey they are looking at during the annual Pumpkins and Ponies event on the SpringVale Farm, south of Humboldt Saturday.

"Last year he cried and cried," she said, apparently a bit startled by the gourds.

SpringVale Farm lives up to its name. Not only are there a multitude of pumpkins on display, but visitors can ride horses, pet calves and donkeys, and check out a Norwegian fjord horse and an assortment of fowl.

Ryan Ettinger, 4, of Eagle Grove, had a look of utter terror on her face as several adults helped her get into the saddle on Lucky, a horse/mule mix owned by Amy Craven.

It only lasted a few seconds before it turned into a big beaming smile as Craven led the horse and its rider around.

"It gives the kids an opportunity they wouldn't get any other way," Craven said.

She likes their reaction.

"It's the big smiles," she said.

Besides the horse ride, the 4-year-old and her mom, Jackie Ettinger, were also going to visit the pumpkin patch for a selection of colorful gourds. Of course, how many was going to depend.

"Two or three," she said. "Or four."

Cole Ollinger, of Granger, got to show his son Tucker, 1, a donkey at the event. As they stood next to it, Tucker told his dad all about it, while pointing and smiling.

For Ollinger, coming out to the farm was a bit like coming home.

"I grew up in the country," he said.

Bob Larson, co-owner of SpringVale Farm, said the idea for the event sprouted from a pumpkin patch he was growing when they were giving pony rides.

His goal?

"We want them to see the animals and experience the farm," he said, "We want to create a memory."

One memory that guests could take home with them this year was Kelly Reynolds, of Hampton, and her horse El Gato. They perform dance steps to music and as a special trick, Reynolds has taught El Gato to sit on his haunches in a large beanbag chair.

"It took me six months," she said. "And lots of patience."



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