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HAPPY HORSE HOTEL: The peaceful B&B for horses and humans

0521
 2015


Hollis Wayne, left, and Beaux Graham pamper their fourlegged guests as much as their horse-loving visitors at their Happy Horse Hotel in Cedar Creek. (Jay Godwin photo)

By Denise Gamino

You can really hit the hay at the B&B run by Hollis Wayne and Beaux Graham near the Colorado River. 
 
The married couple doesn’t run a typical bed-and-breakfast. Instead, they offer a bed-and-bales experience so horse lovers and their animals can sleep within neighing distance. Bedtime often comes only after a concert under the stars by Wayne (always in tie-dyed T-shirt), Graham and their Happy Horse Band. 
 
The unusual Happy Horse Hotel is popular with equestrians who ride the nearby trails at McKinney Roughs Nature Park on Texas 71 about 20 miles east of Austin. The park offers 12 miles of riding trails, with a trailhead just two miles from the Happy Horse Hotel. 
 
Wayne and Graham opened the horse-centric B&B in 2002 after decades of living mostly on the road to sell Wayne’s handmade art at Renaissance Faires around the country. She sold fantasy art, painted tiles and airbrushed T-shirts. 
 
Their peaceful 21-acre Cedar Creek property near the river’s Pope Bend has nine acres devoted to trails, horse pens and overnight accommodations for guests. Some visitors sleep in their campers or horse trailers, but they can camp or rent a cabin. Hot showers and composting toilets are close by. 
 
The Happy Horse Hotel can serve 25 horses and 25 human guests. 
 
“Making a safe and inspiring place for the trail horses and their people to camp while they experience the glory of McKinney Roughs is a huge happiness in my life,” Wayne said. 
 
Wayne’s life path is paved with horseshoes. At age 5, she had a pony named Gypsy and rode bareback in red cowboy boots in her rural Wisconsin hometown. She had many horses during childhood and drew horses, read horse books and sang horse songs. 
 
But she was without a horse while earning a degree in history and theater from the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse in 1973. She moved to Dallas and soon was sewing pillows for Neiman-Marcus. Austin’s creative scene lured her in 1975. 
 
She sold handmade clothing at the large crafts market on the Drag, the busy shopping and pedestrian area along Guadalupe Street across from the University of Texas, popular with students, hippies and musicians. She also became part of Austin’s annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar and the Renaissance Faire circuit, gigs that in 1981 allowed her to buy her first acreage in Cedar Creek and get some horses again. Her banker called her “a capitalist hippie entrepreneur success story.” 
 
Graham, who has a photojournalism degree from UTArlington, was a steady customer of Wayne’s T-shirts before they married in 1987 (with Wayne’s horses looking on). He took to the horse lifestyle immediately, learning to ride, weld, play music and everything else that keeps the Happy Horse Hotel and house band (two CDs and one in the works) up and running. 
 
Wayne and Graham offer happy trails to you. 
 
This one in a series of profiles of Bluebonnet commercial accounts.

 

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