As soon as you begin to see the Sue and Derrick Olson's ranch in Sarona, you know this place is something special.
The barns are beautiful, as are the magnificent horses that stand in a row with their heads over the fence watching a large beef cow make his way past. More barns, more horses, everything ship-shape.
Sue and Derrick are owners of Rafter Bar D Morgans ranch, and she grew up on a farm not far from where she is lives now. Her parents, Anita and Frank Galli, were Sarona dairy farmers with a great attitude about farming, which in turn gave Sue a life-long love, and deep respect for all animals because animals are honest with a simple philosophy of what you see, you get."
Sue is the founder of Ranch Life Naturals and the cowgirl behind the dream was born and raised with horses, dogs, and cattle. "I've had a passion for horses my whole life. Growing up on a dairy farm with my parents and my sister, we were always racing around the farm bareback on a horse.
"I have lived and breathed horses for 47 years, and when I met and married my soul mate and love of my life, Derrick, we developed a Morgan horse breeding program. It's known as Rafter Bar D Morgans, and we stand two breeding stallions, fifteen mares, and we raise foals every year here at the ranch. Our foals that carry the RBD prefix span the globe with foals throughout the U.S., France, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, Austria, Puerto Rico, and Australia.
Just one year after she and Derrick married, they encountered a series of medical challenges beginning when he was airlifted with an aortic dissection, a heart condition that only one percent who have it survives at all and fifty percent of the others live about two weeks After several weeks in the hospital he came home, just to be airlifted out again only twelve hours later with a stroke. He had several more fly-outs and was told by medical staffs that he was a "walking medical miracle." Three months later, Derrick was diagnosed with colon cancer. Sue began to realize that "What we put in and on our bodies and the animals we love became more important than ever."
Sue began to think about the future and the changes that can happen because of health. Their ranch life of raising foals, making their own hay crop, and working with young stock training, combined with Sue's experience in the beauty industry for fifteen years lent a hand in the development of a hair and skin care product line. Hair and skin that is out in the elements require extra care to prevent dryness, cracking, and breaking and Sue found that many of the grooming products used for horses, dogs, and people contained harsh chemicals that are not healthy for people, animals, or the environment.
It became more and more important to her about what they were putting on their own bodies, and what they were using to treat their animals. Because of that, she began to research natural skin care products and her journey to bring Ranch Life Naturals to life began.
Her first venture into finding the answers came about when she contacted a custom formulation lab in Oregon that was U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certified.
She wanted a product that would calm and heal itchy skin and have properties that were anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal, and anti-viral. It also had to be safe for people, horses, and dogs.
Working with a custom formulator, they developed a product using one hundred percent natural ingredients along with essential oil and botanicals such as Argan Oil, Borage Seed Oil, Organic Oat, Yarrow and a host of other ingredients.
She named her new product Original Skin Repair and named her new business Ranch Life Naturals.
She's added four varieties of horse treats, five flavors of dog treats, and two flavors of treats for cats all having natural ingredients.
Sue designed the labels to match the Ranch Life name and a company in Idaho prints the labels for her. She created her easy-to-navigate and fun to read website by watching online tutorials.
Did I mention they got rid of their TV fifteen years ago?
That's probably why when someone from the office of Kevin Harrington, the original Shark from Shark Tank, called wanting to schedule a phone conference to talk about her products, and see if she would be interested in being part of the upcoming segment for Health and Beauty products, she thought it was a scam. By Googling the phone number, she did indeed find that it was Kevin Harrington's number. She returned the call, and it ended in a phone conference where they stated that they were interested in helping Ranch Life Naturals become a multi-million dollar business. Sue's goal was to grow the business at a manageable rate, keeping it personal, so she said no. Or at least, not yet.
Ace Hardware in Spooner carries her skin care products and has trouble keeping their shelves stocked because the product is so popular. They also carry her dog treats. The Ranch Life products will soon be available at the County Lane Pantry in Barron.
Her product base is increasing quickly with other places like the Hayward Vet Clinic, a feed mill in Minnesota, and a Natural Pet Store in Georgia which not only promote her lotions and creams line but keep her busy shipping dog treats to them.
Sue joins the burgeoning focus on natural foods and products with her unique line and her attitude of “working hard, and seeing the good/positive side of living off the land.”
She's already working on some new lines of products like Stop the Clock with a natural clear skin set and an innovative line for treating acne.
She and Derrick are still very active with their Rafter Bar D Morgan business where they raise duns and black Morgan horses with excellent type, mind, and movement. "Raising folds is our passion, and careful planning, time and effort goes into raising the best possible foals. The Morgan horse will captivate you and steal your heart."
They also raise Moriesian horses and these they describe as horses that will stop you in your tracks and fill your fairy tale dream.
Check out the Ranch Life Naturals Facebook page and their website, ranchlifenaturals.com It's the spot where all the information that you will ever need about their horses and Sue's natural products is available.
About the Author
Diane is a features writer for DrydenWire.com. She started her fifteen-year career as a features writer for the Washburn County Register and has written for assorted newspapers and national magazines. She has also just released the third novel in her Chicago series of books – Scott Free in Chinatown. You can visit Diane's website at www.dianedryden.com or her facebook page at facebook.com/authordianedryden.