January 2017 Team Member Highlight: Anne-Marie Hallman


Like Mother Like Daughter

What’s a mom to do when her daughter wants a horse? GET HER ONE!

Brianna was relentless. This tenacious 13 year old read about Red Bucket Equine Rescue in the Orange County Register and was determined to become a part of this group. She didn’t care that they had a minimum age of 18 for team members. She made contact over the internet and scheduled an orientation meeting. What happened next for this precocious teenager and her mom was amazing!

Anne-Marie Hallman knows her daughter is special and understands her love of horses. She supported Brianna’s quest to join Red Bucket and committed to serve with her daughter due to her being under the age requirements. “Since she was only 13, I offered to volunteer with her and support her,” Anne-Marie explains. “In the process, I ended up rekindling my love for horses, and it became my passion almost as much as hers! We volunteered to start doing buckets on the feed crew in Huntington Beach twice a week together and have volunteered ever since in almost every capacity possible. We were on the feed crew for almost 5 years until she went to college.” Here’s where it gets interesting.

“In June 2013, Brianna adopted Kingston from Red Bucket (with my support and financial backing since she was only 16), and he now is at college with Brianna at the University of Findlay in the English Equestrian Studies Major. Kingston has become such a special part of our family, and I miss both of them greatly!”

For all that Brianna helped bring out in her mom, Anne-Marie has herself become a shining star within our organization. According to Red Bucket team member Linda Rose, “Anne-Marie is a joy to know and a pleasure to work with! Every month she helps me with our New Team Member Orientation. She always has a big, welcoming smile for our guests as they check in, and I would be lost without her assistance in keeping everything organized and running smoothly. New Team Member Orientation is our first opportunity to showcase our ranch, our horses, and our passion for this work to our potential new team members, and Anne-Marie is a shining example of what it means to be Red Bucket Red! This year Anne-Marie was also a member of the tour guide team for our annual Ruby Red Event. Her sweet, friendly personality and her obvious love for our horses and our work made her a perfect choice for this important role. She made our guests feel special and valued, and I know they appreciated her knowledge and her passion for our work. Anne-Marie is a treasure and I am honored to know and work with her.”

Susan Peirce has a soft spot for this special team member, “I distinctly remember how Brianna pursued me, trying to convince me to let her do volunteer work although she did not meet our age requirement. She was relentless, and a tribute to the adage ‘persistence pays’! I finally agreed to let her help out ONLY if her Mom was with her the

entire time. The duo agreed to this arrangement and they worked the feed crew 2 nights a week. I figured this kid MUST be serious to recruit her Mom to help! Together they embraced their role and have always been right as rain, and it became a sweet family affair. That young girl is super lucky to have such an amazing Mom!”

When Anne-Marie adopted Kingston for Brianna, she instilled in her daughter exactly how much responsibility and accountability would ensue. Now that Brianna is off to school WITH Kingston, Anne-Marie has actually become more involved at the Ranch since her daughter is gone most of the year. Susan explains her current role: “She helps with orientations because she is intimately entwined in our culture. She is a great example of someone who joined our group in a certain role, and over the years has evolved into various roles, some of which were created just for her. She is the ideal team member and is aware that as relationships change and grow, so must the individual. Anne-Marie has a great presence, is warm, intelligent, and really gets it. She has a great perspective on life and about our mission. She has seen our evolution though her child’s growth. Brianna was the heart behind their volunteer work; they both grew into their roles and saw first-hand what our work is all about. They witnessed Kingston when he arrived emaciated and worn down and watched as he blossomed. They know our story start to finish, and although it is sometimes a painful journey, they have great respect for our outcome. Anne-Marie has been there by our side on this journey. She is a role model for our team members and epitomizes our culture. She has a servient heart and makes it real.”

Jenon Mathes says, “Anne-Marie sometimes laughs looking back at how her daughter’s love for horses re-kindled her own desire to be a part of the horse world. She often talks about how cautious Susan was to add any direct handling of the horses to their duties due to Brianna’s age. Persistence and dedication paid off, and they both became a huge part of the Groom Team as well as the Junior Reds. Anne-Marie helps with our orientations, events, grooming, and just about anything else that we might need her for. I am always grateful to see her and know that I can count on her to help with whatever we need.”

When asked what drives her, Anne-Marie had this to say: “We fell in love with our horses and with the people who volunteered. Susan Peirce has been a mentor to Brianna and supported us in so many ways. Red Bucket became a very special family for both of us. Over the years there have been many challenges with ups and downs, but Red Bucket and all of the team members seem to rally and continue to grow and take in horses, donkeys and mules, even when the ‘inn is full!’ Being a part of the transition to the Ranch the Horses Own and being a part of it growing is so rewarding and personally memorable.”

“Seeing the horses that have experienced the worst come in and blossom and recover is so special and rewarding,” Anne-Marie goes on. “I feel privileged to care for and love them and watch them get adopted. For our permanent residents, I often have adopted them into my own heart and into our own family. We know personally how amazing these horses can be as we live it every day with our Kingston. I often tell people that I worry more about him at college than I do my daughter! I feel such a commitment to making sure his life is the best it can be after all he endured and survived. Watching him

with my daughter at college has been indescribable! I love hearing from people that they cannot believe he was a rescue and close to death and slaughter. You would never know seeing him now! He is our Red Bucket royalty!”

Red Bucket is blessed with the dedication and selflessness of Anne-Marie, and we are honored to have her family unite with ours to serve the horses.

Story by Roni Raczkowski