Announcing the First Ever

a program which we simply call

Thank You, Cheryl!!

We knew when we created our TAdoption Program that it would not be offered for every animal here at the farm nor would it be a realistic possibility for every supporter who would love to be able to TAdopt. First, it required a promise from us to keep the selected animal in sanctuary forever which meant  a large investment in Tomten dollars and resources toward his or her support for, depending upon the animal's age, potentially many years. And, frankly, we also knew that TAdoption would require a substantial emotional and financial commitment from the TAdopter—even with that donation's tax-deductible eligibility. Not to mention the unwavering trust the TAdopter needed to have in our organization's promise of transparency.  But we decided to offer it, pretty certain that there might be a TAdopter who may not have even known it yet but had her own very personal reason(s) that tugged at her heart, calling her to participate when she saw a restorative opportunity that might finally bring her the peace she had longed to feel for so long.

We are very gratified and excited to announce this first TAdoption at Tomten Farm and Sanctuary. The sun will still rise over the farm every day but now it is will shine brighter, with more meaning. Especially for TAdopted senior mare Taabe Summer Storm and  Tomten's amazing first-ever TAdopter Cheryl C. It is a brand new day for them.  Please take a minute to read what TAdopting Taabe means to this very special supporter Cheryl, as related by Tomten Founder Jen Vickery.

For Sonny, the Lost Horse.
From Cheryl, Tomten's  Very First TAdopter

For many of us, memories of younger years are flooded with once loved animals whose presence forever changed our lives. Back then, in childhood innocence, there was no awareness of auction, no thoughts of slaughter, no understanding that best friends could ever be left behind. It was beautiful —an honest love, a pure connection between two beings and it didn't matter that we didn't share the same language, we simply created our own. But somehow as life took hold and little by little we began to make our way toward the adult we were destined to be, decisions were made that left indelible marks on our souls. Decisions like mine and perhaps yours that somehow changed the course of our beliefs today.

For Cheryl C. it was not much different. At 6 years old, she went on her first trail ride and that was all it took… she fell in love. Soon she was being dropped at a nearby farm, riding a big buckskin mare for an hour each week. Do you remember those days, where every day, every hour was a countdown until we could be with the horses, until we could sit on their backs becoming one in their glory? It wasn't just about the riding though, as children we loved everything about them, the scent of the barn, the warmth of their coats, the tickle of their whiskers and the feel of their breath as we took one another in.

At 10, Cheryl began to take serious lessons and at 13, her parents bought her a horse, a 6-year old Morgan/Quarter Horse named Sonny. As is often the case with a child's first horse, he was not the bombproof school horse that one would expect (and hope for). Sonny was complicated and spooky, a horse I might have called "a bit tricky." Sometimes though, children—with their lack of intention, their unwavering acceptance and their unlimited patience— are a gift to these untrusting horses. I suspect Cheryl did as much for Sonny as he did for her.

Together, "Sonny and Cher" spent years exploring the rural area where they lived, wandering together for hours at a time, best friends and companions, exploring and growing. In my imagination I can see them together, a girl and her horse, just being, as seasons and time sped past. Years went by and they helped one another grow, learning all that they could about hunt seat, saddle seat, western pleasure, dressage and even competitive trail. Sonny became unflappable, a far cry from the horse he had been years ago and somehow, somewhere, these two individuals had joined together to become a team, a partnership of one.


Over a decade later, Cheryl was not making much money and, as can sometimes happen as we grow up, her parents stopped paying the bills for Sonny's care. As she said, "we all have to make practical choices and hard decisions" and, as happens to many of us, we must turn our backs on one area to walk toward another. We all know the heartbreaking choices she was forced to make and my heart hurts just thinking of them; my heart hurts as I am reminded of my own past choices. Luckily for Cheryl, a girl with another horse at the small farm where Sonny was boarded, wanted him. And so, while he lost his beloved Cheryl, his friend of years and years, he was gifted the opportunity to remain where he was, in a place that he knew, with horses he had befriended. It is a gift few horses receive when transferring from owner to owner and a blessing beyond words to have a place to be.

Since she couldn't afford to keep him, the heartbroken Cheryl did not keep in touch. I understand the logic, the inability to keep tabs on what you reluctantly let go of.  I understand the sadness and heartbreaking weight of goodbye. In her words,

"I had no awareness of auctions or slaughterhouses. Now that I know, I think about him a lot.
I feel a sense of guilt today that I did not make an effort to keep tabs on him,
but there would have been little I could do, and I didn't know how bad it could be.
Sonny was the wonderful creature that gave me the best times of my life,
and I still daydream about riding today."

I cannot read those words clearly, my eyes blur with sadness for her and for Sonny and so many horses that get left behind by owners who love them. What must they think when we suddenly just disappear?

Today, however, we celebrate tomorrow and another lost soul now found and forever safe. One of our horses, our beautiful 16-year old, Taabe, surrendered by HER family and rescued by Tomten, mother of 8 foals, who has been transferred through at least half as many homes, is gifted something we were unable to offer her alone. Thanks to Cheryl, her love of Sonny, her love of horses and her beautiful compassion, Taabe Summer Storm is gifted the opportunity to remain here at Tomten Farm and Sanctuary with her new friend Pipppilottaspotslongstocking for the rest of her days. It is together we make dreams come true for animals in need and today, in honor of Sonny, Cheryl becomes the first person to ever TAdopt a horse at Tomten Farm and Sanctuary. When I asked her why, she said,

"I want to ensure Taabe's peace, protection and possibility for life."

After all, isn't that what every horse deserves? I think it is.

Perhaps Cheryl's selfless and generous act will inspire others to reach out and help animals in need as well. There are so many lost and alone. Perhaps Taabe's presence here will help educate others to do more and be more and it is her presence that will inspire. But for sure, this contribution makes an impact beyond what my words can describe for a mare who deserves to spend the rest of her days surrounded by love and friendship and family in a place she can call home. Together we created that place and together we welcome her.

The simple words, "thank you," are nowhere near enough to demonstrate the gratitude we feel in this gesture but we say them deeply, with heartfelt gratitude and we know as Sonny stands above, proudly looking down on this mare that Cheryl chose to help, he is nickering that soft muffled nicker of love he reserved for the child who loved him years ago. Thank you, Cheryl.

TAdoption: This is the Face
of Peace, Protection and Possibility

Have you always dreamed of having an animal (or two!) of your own but for one or several reasons, it just wasn't possible? Our TAdoption program might be just the thing to help make dreams come true… for both you AND an animal in need, an animal like Taabe Summer Storm.

Taabe arrived at Tomten Farm and Sanctuary with her filly Tindra by her side. Both were owner surrenders. What surely could have been a tragic situation has turned into a joyful one, thanks to Tomten Supporter and our first TAdopter Cheryl C.

Cheryl TAdopted our beautiful mare Taabe Summer Storm. And following a period of natural weaning (where mother and foal stay together through weaning vs being separated before they are ready), Taabe's filly Tindra was Off-Farm Adopted by Jeni B.

Our Tomten Animal Dream Adoption, TAdoption, is perfect for those who have always wished they could have a farm animal of their own (in this case, a horse) but are unable to have one due to all kinds of reasons: missed opportunities, life changes, lack of pasture, barn, time, parental approval or other resources. TAdoption makes it possible for a candidate like Taabe Summer Storm to live her dream life, remaining right here, at Tomten Farm and Sanctuary beside her best friend and fellow rescue, Pippilottaspotslongstocking. And you, the kind TAdopter, finally get to realize your dream. Best of all, your heart will overflow with the oh-so gratifying feeling of gifting an animal with peace, protection, possibility and lifetime sanctuary here at our farm.

Here's how TAdoption works:  Thanks to your one-time gift of 50% of an animal's estimated lifetime care and sanctuary you, the TAdopter, (or a group of TAdopters -- several friends or family members joining together) will be eligible for a tax deduction of 50% of that animal's total estimated lifetime expenses. More importantly, you will experience the indescribable feeling of knowing that you are providing peace, protection and possibility to an animal in need, whose life will be forever transformed for the better. By you.

Thanks to Cheryl's compassion, soul mates
and bonded pair, Taabe Summer Storm
and Pippilottaspotslongstocking,
will now be forever together.


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My BFF Pippi, Me, Fern, Hwee, Perci

Hi! I'm Taabe Summer Storm.
I've just been voted Miss Congeniality by my new friends on the farm. WOW! Is this place great or what?

Follow Tomten on Instagram and meet them all!


 Sharon H.

I'm crying tears of sadness and of joy!!! Thank you, Cheryl!!!!  Love from Sonny and the Universe!!!



 JoAnne T.

Thank you Cheryl for TAdopting Taabe and helping her stay with Pippa. For the rest of Taabe's life she'll always be safe, loved, and cared for. What a fitting tribute to Sonny.



 Laura W.

That made me cry. I am so happy this girl gets to stay there with you all. She deserves it.  Bless you Cheryl. I wished I could have afforded to do it.



 Julia L.

Wow! So, so happy that Pippa and Taabe get to stay together. What a gift!!!! Thank you, Cheryl.



 Adeline A.

This is wonderful! What a beautiful thing this woman has done. Thank you so much Cheryl!



 Nancy C.

…A wonderful story.



 Heather P.

Thank you Cheryl for making a difference.



 Nancy W.

How can you not cry? Blessed are the ones who take care of others.



 Laima W.

Such great news! Thank you Cheryl for your big heart.



 Kristie B.

That is wonderful! Thank you Cheryl, life is good.



 JoAnne B.

Thank you Cheryl for your love and generosity



 Becca W.

Congrats to Cheryl and Taabe!!!! Thanks you thank you thank you!!



 Melissa H.

That is amazing! Congrats Tomten and Cheryl!



 Elizabeth L.

Wonderful news for both Taabe and Pippa!



 Jeni B.

What an incredible way to honor Sonny, and what an incredible person Cheryl is!



 Susan C.

Cheryl is an angel


Could I be next?
Meet Greta GarMOO, also available for TAdoption.

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