Rootbeer & Edward shown above with their “Mom”

Mini Horses, Mighty Hearts | The Book

The Magic of Rootbeer & Edward


The idea for this book grew as Rene (author of Mini Horse, Mighty Hearts) got to know her two new partners and watch the magic in people’s eyes when they saw and touched the minis. She thought it was “magic” because faces changed from no expression or from sadness to small smiles, then larger ones and sometimes even laughter. It seemed the minis had a message to share with others. So, it began with a conversation with writing coach, Candace Conradi who answered Rene’s first question, “Is this a crazy idea?” with a sparkle in her eyes.

Encouraging and playfully, Candace pushed Rene to start. With a rough draft in hand, Rene asked two young readers, ages 7 & 9, it they would read it and her suggestions. Their wonderful feedback led to many changes, including giving Edward a voice along with Rootbeer’s, the story narrator.

As with all books, there were drafts after drafts, read by friends as well as by Candace. Along with this, Rene needed an illustrator. Through a friend, Rene contacted artist Gina Dodge and asked her to do a sketch of Rootbeer from a photograph. The minute Gina’s sketch came back, Rene kew she had her illustrator. Gina’s talent enhanced the joy of the story.

The next “gift” was Olga Singer, who created the book with technical and artistic skill and designed this website.

We hope you find Rootbeer and Edward’s journey instructive, inspiring and full of fun.

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Rene Townsend | author

Finally, the Horses of her Dreams

Rene Townsend

Rene Townsend

A life-long educator, Rene always wanted a horse. Finally, she got one, then another, then two more! Miniature horses, Rootbeer & Edward, joined Rene’s herd a few years ago and have been a constant source of learning and joy.

 Oz, a gorgeous giant Dutch Warmblood was first, followed by Kiefer, a handsome quarter horse. When Rootbeer & Edward’s human partner moved away and couldn’t take them with her, Rene decided to she’d be their new human. Little did she know the wonderful changes they’d bring to her life.

 Watching how Rootbeer & Edward’s simple presence brought happiness and smiles to everyone they met, Rene believed they should bring their special qualities to other, particularly those experiencing challenges.

 The Helen Woodward Animal Center’s (Center) Pet Encounter Therapy (PET) program offered the perfect vehicle. After helping the minis learn new behaviors, Rene thought they were ready to take the test to join the program. They passed with flying colors! So began another journey, combining play and service to others.

 Their adventures led Rene to write a book about them. She believed readers young and old would love their journey and see how little creatures can create great joy.

 Writing the book was an amazing journey for Rene. She’d co-authored four professional books from the times she was a teacher, principal, superintendent of schools, and an educational consultant for a non-profit program all over Central America.

 Rene’s passion for teaching and learning unite with her commitment and love of all creatures in Mini Horses, Mighty Hearts. She hopes you’ll learn – and smile – reading Rootbeer & Edward’s amazing journey that continues on and on.


Gina Dodge | Artist

"I Want to Be an Artist or a Singer!"

Gina Dodge is a maker of all sorts. At a young age she proclaimed, "I want to be an artist or a singer."  Art currently dominates her life. Her medium of choice usually falls into the realm of painting, but she is infatuated with creating anything she can get her hands on. She enjoys expressing her keen sense of humor through her work and inspiring others just by being herself. To learn more about Gina visit her website:

Rootbeer & Edward. Illustrated by Gina Dodge.

Rootbeer & Edward. Illustrated by Gina Dodge.