Happy Horse Ranch
In beautiful Northern California, tucked away in a canyon far from city noise, crowds, smog, and the interstate, Happy Horse Ranch, consisting of about 60 acres of gently rolling hills, is the place Clint calls home. The residents included not just Clint, but also about 35 horses (on average), several dogs, and more cats roamly freely than can be counted. Even mountain lions occasionally wander off course and into the wrong neighborhood.
Happy Horse Ranch is a place that has to be seen in person to be appreciated. It is impossible to capture its tranquility, peacefulness, and natural beauty with a camera. But that is what I attempted to do during a couple of visitsin order to enable Clint’s fans to glimpse the place where Clint spent every spare moment during his years on “One Life to Live” and has resided permanently in his retirement.
On an August day, with wildfires raging just a few miles away, we arrived to find Clint and his foreman in the barn tending to a newborn colt, only about 3 hours old. Shortly thereafter, the veterinarian arrived and reported that the prognosis was grim. Undaunted, Clint, his foreman, and the veterinarian worked tirelessly to save the little fellow. Clint spent that night caring for him approximately every hour-and-a-half.
By the next morning, Clint’s determination had paid off. The colt was doing much better, had begun to nurse, and was christened “Buckshot Jason” in honor of the veterinarian! That day, when the pleased veterinarian returned to find a much healthier colt, renamed the place “Miracle Ranch.”
We returned about eight weeks later to find Clint just beginning to teach little Buckshot Jason to tolerate a halter. He was healthy, playful, growing, and clearly — just like the other horses — devoted to Clint. His proud mama, Little Red, is a wild mustang Clint rescued. She herself had only been haltered for the first time about a week before Buckshot’s birth!
Clint mad no secret of the fact that he preferred the solitude of Happy Horse ranch to the suffocating noise and bustle of New York City where he was required to reside while film “One Life to Live” at the ABC studios there. Nor did he attempt to conceal the fact that he preferred the company of his beloved animals to that of most human beings. A self-professed loner and unrepentent bachelor, Clint rarely crossed the property line to venture off his own property. He employed ranch hands to assist him with maintenance, but insisted upon feeding the horses himself on most days and regularly worked side-by-side with his crew.
Clint’s beloved dogs were his constant companions. And he owned a number of faithful canines over the years, including MollyMollyMolly: Her owners could no longer care for her, so, of course, they stopped by Happy Horse Ranch and MollyMollyMolly soon had a new address. After some significant veterinary care, MollyMollyMolly spent her remaining years with Clint.
Bear was about eight years old when he came to live at Happy Horse Ranch. His terminally ill owner begged Clint to give her Arabian horse a home. He promised to do so, but on one condition: The dog tied to the tree outside the house was coming with him, too. Once again, Clint violated his declared intent not to acquire “anything that eats.” He laughingly relayed that Bear was tethered to one of the giant pine trees on the Ranch lest he wander off and get lost before becoming fully acquainted with the property. “I moved all of the pickups and equipment,” Clint joked, leaving me puzzled. He then explained that it was just a precautionary step “in case Bear pulls that tree down.” Weighing in at more than 100 pounds, Bear had never played with a tennis ball or frisbee so Clint’s other dogs were helping educate him. Within a couple of days, Bear was happily following Clint around the Ranch along with the other dogs. “No leash?” I asked. Clint just laughed at the thought of any of his dogs being led around on a leash. Bear was a gentle giant who spent his remaining days happily romping around Happy Horse Ranch when he wasn’t riding with Clint in a golf cart or lying at Clint’s feet inside the sprawling house that Clint good-naturedly dubbed “Clint’s kennel.”