Seniors celebrate around Peoria’s Desert Harbor Lake

Arizona’s Singing Cowboy Gary Sprague and his quarter horse Dusty, counterclockwise, corral a fan photo with The Forum at Desert Harbor’s resident, Kaye Flynn, a great-grandmother, celebrating her 85th birthday with daughter Ellen Fennimore, son-in-law Phil Kuenstle, 5-year-old great-grandson, Brendan, daughter Moira Kuenstle, and twin great-grandson Kilian. [Marla Levine/Special to Independent Newsmedia]

Residents from The Forum at Desert Harbor, 13840 N. Desert Harbor Drive, were drawn to a lakeside picnic where a trio of miniature horses staged the warm-up act to campfire songs by Arizona’s Singing Cowboy Gary Sprague.

Matix’s Magnificent Minis co-owner Frankie Eklund, and her 85-years-young mother Betty Hansen, staged the opening act performed by miniature horse trick show stars, Bert and Ernie, 5 and 4 years old respectively. Bert put his best hoof forward, as Ms. Eklund prompted him to wave to the audience, shake hands, smile, and kiss adoring fans.

Mini Angel Eyes certified pet handler Kathy Lewis and 4-year-old miniature therapy horse Cooper moseyed through the audience sharing the love with seniors as they petted his mane and fondly reminisced about horses that had touched their lives.

Mr. Sprague, a 31-year resident of the Swinging Guitar Ranch in Cave Creek, rode his 18-year-old quarter horse, Dusty, along the shore of Desert Harbor Lake for the show down by the lakeside fire pit.

“Trusty Dusty turns 19 on St. Patrick’s Day,” Mr. Sprague said in the saddle of his steadfast steed. “With grass all over the place at The Forum at Desert Harbor, it’s like a horse buffet.”

As Forum folk rustled up hot dogs, hot chocolate, and roasted marshmallow s’mores, Mr. Sprague blazed a trail of tales about the Old West and his favorite Westerns, all told with his down-home country humor. He even recited some cowboy limericks, and strummed up such legendary lyrics as “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” “I’m an Old Cowhand (From the Rio Grande),” and a sing-along to “Don’t Fence Me In.”

“Born in 1951, my favorite cowboy song is ‘Rawhide,’” which Mr. Sprague sang from atop his trusty mount. In another shout-out he noted, “The most well-known cowboy song from television is probably this one, ‘Happy Trails.’”

A horse-loving resident of The Forum at Desert Harbor, Kaye Flynn, and her family celebrated her 85th birthday with a taste of country. Ms. Flynn, a twin, had twice as much fun horsing around with 5-year-old great-grandson twins Brendan and Kilian, daughters Ellen Fennimore and Moira Kuenstle, and son-in-law Phil Kuenstle.

“Truly, Gary Sprague singing, and the horses, made my mom’s birthday,” Moira Kuenstle stated.

For a roundup of The Forum at Desert Harbor’s lifestyle and amenities, call community relations at 623-972-0995. The Forum at Desert Harbor is located north of Thunderbird Road at 91st Avenue in Peoria.

The waterfront community skirts the shores of the 46-acre Desert Harbor Lake where residents enjoy such outdoor activities as pontoon boat rides, water fitness classes in the lakeside pool, and picnics around the fire pit.

Visit .



What: Visit/tour

Where: The Forum at Desert Harbor, 13840 N. Desert Harbor Drive

When: Call 623-972-0995 or visit to schedule

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