Why Cloverhorse? Hungarian Cloverhorses have been part of Nicole's life since she was two years old. Her mother, Elly, trained with Countess Gyurky (Aunt Judith) at Port-a-Ferry Farm in Crozet, Va. Countess Gyurky imported the Hungarian Horses during WWII. She wrote a book about the horses and her escape from Hungary called, "The Mark of Clover."
Aunt Judith was an amazing horse-woman. She won the 1936 Olympic try-outs on Clover mare Igezo, and she did it side saddle. Despite her win and exceptional abilites, she was not permitted to compete in games - woman didn't weren't allowed. But she didn't get much time for dissapointment.. Shortly after the 1936 Olympics Countess Gyurky was forced to flea war torn Hungary. After many mishaps, She and the Clover horses eventually found passage to United States and settled in Crozet, Virginia.
Elly met Countess Gyurky in 1969. She was hired to ride, train and show the sales horses. She rode with Countess Gyurky until moving to Colorado and starting her own riding and training business. Elly and her band of students were well-known and very successful in the Colorado 'A' circuit. Unfortunately, a schooling ring accident ended Elly's professional career. While Elly she was jumping a triple combination. She called, "Heads up outside line." She jumped the first two elements but when she jumped the final element, another rider (on a horse) walked in front of it. The fence was 5'0 and Elly's mare was already in the air. There was nothing she could do. The two horses collided. When the dust settled Elly had a broken back and would spend the next two years in a body cast.
Countess Gyruky died in 1985. The horses were farmed out to various people and eventually the heard was disbanded. Some horses went the Countess's cousin in Montana. In 1995 Elly was able to locate a young stallion and three mares in Canada. She brought them home and started a breeding program.
Elly has two daughters, Carolyn and Nicole. Both girls were raised in the horse business and both are very accomplished riders. Nicole planned on competing the young stallion at the international level. Unfortunately... fate stepped in. Nichole was accidentally shot in the knee cap. She had nine surgeries, including an arterial by-pass. Her leg remained intact, but it was significantly diminished.
Shortly after Nicole was shot, she moved home. She couldn't ride, walk, or run. She was 24 years old and life (as she knew it) was completely destroyed. She became depressed and withdrawn. She loved watching the horses, but doctor's warned her that riding wasn't an option. Her leg was stuck in the toe-drop position. She couldn't keep weight on it and traditional therapy was ineffective.
Then... one night... Nicole's dad was doing research on muscle memory. He said, "Elly, what's the one thing Nichole has done her whole life?... ride...with her heels down." Dad theorized that by putting Nicole on a horse her muscle would remember the heels down position and maybe, just maybe, her leg would start working. The next day five people got Nicole on a horse. When she was finally mounted she laid in the mane, and cried.
At first, her leg just hung. The stirrups were dropped five holes. Nick (Nicole's dad) would make her stand in the stirrups and push her heels down. In the beginning, her toe was pointed down, and her ankle wouldn't bend. But... everyday it got a little better, and, after six months her foot was flat in the iron. Once her foot was flat, Nicole started walking.
A few years later, Nicole started riding her Mom's Hungarian Stallion. She was still awkward in the saddle but had managed to regain most of her strength and range of motion. She spent everyday in the barn, but was still withdrawn. It was during this time that she started writing Destiny and Friends. She spent hours with the horses, and watched their personalities develop. She watched their response to various situations (like Night of the Cougar) and wrote about it. She showed the stories to her mom, who started drawing pictures for the stories.
After awhile Nicole decided she needed an education. She stopped writing the books and started attending school at The Evergreen State College. She earned a BA Degree then a Master's in Public Administration. In 2009 she was accepted to Thomas Jefferson School of Law and moved to San Diego, Ca. The books were stored in a filing cabinet and all but forgotten.
But... the winds of change never stop blowing and Nichole found herself in uncharted waters. She started realizing the little books were a huge part of her life and decided to finish them. Nicole felt she had enough education and experience to publish the books herself. So...In January 2011 she applied for the Destiny and Friends Trade-mark and Copyright, she established Cloverhorse Publishing LLC, and began implementing a marketing and distribution plan. The books were officially released on June 10th 2011 at Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento, CA.
In 2012 the books were revised and released as hard-cover reading and activity books. They were approved to be a kick starter project in 2014. We are currently working on the kick starter video. Ideally, we will raise enough money to get all five titles on IPAD, NOOK, and other devices.
In the meantime...enjoy the pics. More stories coming soon.