It all started when Michelle Anderton, Brownland Farm’s marketing director, was tidying up after a horse show.
“I saw this little doll laying there, and she had seen better days. Her legs were all contorted, and her hair was messed up; she looked well loved,” Anderton said. “I thought, ‘Some kid is really going to miss this.’ ”
Anderton put out a call on social media in hopes of finding the American Girl doll’s owner and started receiving messages from other people who had seen the doll at the farm over the weekend.
“I started getting pictures people had taken of her riding their horse, of her doing cartwheels, and I thought, ‘We can have some fun with this,’ ” Anderton said with a laugh. “I posted a picture of her strapped in my car with a seatbelt and said, ‘Let us know if this is your doll. We’ll keep her safe until you can come get her!’ ”
The posts got quite a response on the farm’s Facebook page, with hundreds of likes, comments and shares, and they helped locate the owner—Christian and Kathryn Currey’s 4-year-old daughter, Margaret. The family reached out to Anderton to say they could pick up the doll when they returned to the Franklin, Tennessee, horse show in a couple of weeks.
“From there we just started having all kinds of little adventures,” Anderton said. “We ran with it. People were laughing and having fun doing it, and everything is so serious and polarizing these days, whether it’s politics or footing, everything seems like a fight these days, and this was just fun and light-hearted, and we need more of that.”
With the Currey family’s date to reclaim their doll approaching, Anderton bought the farm its own American Girl, named Sarah-Brown in a nod to both the farm and the classic film “International Velvet.” Anderton even had tiny Brownland Farm T-shirts made for them.
“We started passing these dolls around for people to take pictures with around the farm, like Flat Stanley,” Anderton said. “People were really having fun with it, and then it culminated one weekend when the dolls were kidnapped and held for ransom in exchange for a bottle of wine.”
The wine was delivered, the dolls were saved, and three weeks after Anderton found the doll it was reunited with Margaret.
“Hopefully she’ll bring her back for a play date!” Anderton said with a laugh. “I don’t know if the adventures are to be continued or not; time will tell.”
This Finish Line article runs in the May 20, 2019, issue of The Chronicle of the Horse.
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