Little Heaven Ranch
Jane Read has taken her love of horses and horseback riding and made it into a family-run business. She, along with her husband, Ron Janus, and their children, Melissa Read, Lindsay Read, Robert Read and Jesse Janus own and operate the Little Heaven Ranch. Little Heaven Ranch is located off Highway 125 in Marion County in the small community of Bruno, Ark. “Little Heaven Ranch is geared toward training and trail riding. We do specialize in trail riding; that’s what we do most,” said Jane.
Even though Jane grew up in downtown Chicago, she learned to ride at a very early age. “I learned to ride in the basement on a bouncy horse. I was a devout bouncy horse rider. When I realized I couldn’t have a horse in the backyard, I had to have a dog,” said Jane. From there she and a friend rode weekly at a stable. “It was the time I spent riding at the stable that I realized how nice it was to share your horses with other people,” said Jane.
Little Heaven Ranch is open to guests wanting to experience the Ozarks beauty on horseback. “You can ride right around here and see turkey, deer, bear and bald eagles right in our backyard. We are very fortunate in this area because there is still a lot of wildlife out there. I can take riders on trails according to what kind of ride they want or the time of year,” said Jane. There are enough horses to match the personalities and abilities of her riders. She has had guests from all over the United States, as well as a soccer team from England.
Most of the horses at Little Heaven Ranch have been raised and trained by Jane. “I started out years ago with a quarter horse/thoroughbred mare and bred her to a King quarter horse. A lot of our stock branches from there,” said Jane. The pedigree or registration papers are not that important to Jane because she looks for her trail horses to have good dispositions, intelligence and good health. Some 15 years ago, she adopted a mustang in Green Forest, Ark., and is very pleased with the results of the mix of quarter horse and mustang. Jane feels the mustang traits provide added endurance and sure-footedness to her trail horses.
Jane trains horses for others, as well as her own trail horses. She has a small arena with different obstacles set up in a controlled area. From there she has designed different trails and obstacles to match the skill level of the animal she is working with. She begins with halter breaking and then graduates to riding with experienced horses that will set a good example for the younger horses. “There is also a lot of alonetime. I find this establishes a trust between horse and rider instead of them just learning following other horses around,” said Jane.
In addition to training horses, Jane offers riding lessons at Little Heaven Ranch. One of her student success stories is nine-year-old Allison Swanson. Jane says she has enjoyed watching Allison’s confidence, self-esteem and assertiveness grow as she maneuvers her way through trails and obstacle courses under Jane’s watchful eye. “It’s been neat to see Allison’s progress in just one year,” said Jane.
The horses on Little Heaven Ranch are not shod. Jane keeps Swiss boots available should any of the horses need them. She also believes in keeping internal and external parasites under control throughout the year. One of the best fly control methods she recommends is rubbing the horses down with peanut oil. “The flies do not light on them,” said Jane.
Jane Read and Ron Janus are proud to live in the Bruno community and to be able to share Little Heaven Ranch with visitors. “Riding is a healthy exercise. It is really good physically and mentally. It is also a great time for conversation with your family. I really love that our family works together and plays together,” said Jane.