Teacher, author and illustrator.

Mar 072014

Lori holding Cooky sized for article 001

     What is ARBA?     Our family has been raising rabbits over 20 years and while we were not aware of the many rabbit breed clubs and various organizations when we first started, we met people that were involved in showing rabbits which appealed to us. After attending a state fair rabbit show and a sanctioned ARBA rabbit show we took a greater interest in other breeds of rabbits as well as the professional aspects of showing rabbits. After our family joined  the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) we received membership cards, a copy of the book entitled “The Official Guide Book to Raising Rabbits & Cavies”  and more!  Membership included a subscription to the ARBA magazine “Domestic Rabbits” which we also received in the mail.  We found the Official Guidebook to Raising Better Rabbits to be a very informative book with many basic helps for people raising rabbits. The bi-monthly publication Domestic Rabbits, which includes current reports and information from the association’s officers, specialty club and district news, listings of upcoming shows, and lists of judges and registrars is also a resource of rabbit breed clubs, and  articles by ARBA members that share their experiences, opinions and advice. The ARBA Yearbook contains the constitution and bylaws of ARBA, show rules, listings of current district directors, lists of both judges and registrars by state, and a listing of all the clubs currently sanctioned by the ARBA.

Since the ARBA established procedures for the organization of state, local, and specialty rabbit clubs along with guidelines for exhibiting rabbits and cavies, the rabbit breeders could attend any of the rabbit shows sanctioned by the ARBA and know that the rules and procedures would be the same. Those same standards would also be used by the ARBA judges during the Open shows and Youth shows.

The ARBA is also responsible for the licensing of the rabbit judges that officiate at the various ARBA shows and the licensing of registrars who examine and register rabbits of ARBA members. ARBA publishes the Standards of Perfection of the 48 rabbit breeds recognized by the association which helps to maintain a uniformity of evaluation for the rabbit breeds presented for show competition and also the requirements for registration.

There are many rabbit shows and conventions for members to get involved in throughout the US. Let us know if you would like to join the A.R.B.A.!

                               Loretta Hayward




Background of the A.R.B.A.

The American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc. (A.R.B.A.) has been around in one form or another since the early 1900s. It originally started out as the National Pet Stock Association, and then it became the National Breeders and Fanciers Association of America. In the early 1920s, the name was changed again–this time to American Rabbit and Cavy Breeders Association. Then in the 1950s, the name was changed to our familiar American Rabbit Breeders Association.

The A.R.B.A. is the only American all-breed organization on the national level with its membership comprised of both rabbit and cavy breeders. (There is, however, an American Cavy Breeders Association.) While the A.R.B.A. was originally founded to promote both the commercial and fancy aspects of rabbit raising, it has primarily focused on the fancy, or exhibition, perspective of rabbit raising in the last several years. Within the last few years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the commercial aspect of rabbit raising primarily due, at least in the author’s humble opinion, to the efforts of one woman–Pat Lamar of Washington. She was appointed head of the Commercial Committee by the A.R.B.A. President at the time, Cindy Wickizer. Pat worked tirelessly to reacquaint rabbit breeders with this almost forgotten attribute of the utilitarian rabbit.

Benefits of Membership

Once your initial membership application is sent in and processed, you will receive a packet of material back from the A.R.B.A. home office. In this material will be your membership card, which will have a number on it that is unique to you. You will have to present this card to be able to register rabbits.

Also in that packet will be the Official Guidebook to Raising Better Rabbits and Cavies, which is simply overflowing with good information. You will automatically receive a subscription to the bi-monthly publication Domestic Rabbits, which includes information about the various facets of rabbit/cavy breeding such as medical information, specialty club and district news, listings of upcoming shows, lists of judges and registrars, and much, much more. Each year you will receive a copy of the A.R.B.A. Yearbook, which contains the constitution and bylaws of the A.R.B.A., show rules, listings of current district directors, lists of both judges and registrars by state, and a listing of all the clubs currently sanctioned by the A.R.B.A. The Yearbook also has a state by state listing of all A.R.B.A. adult members with their addresses and, in many cases, a listing of what breeds they raise. In a separate section are the rules for the various youth programs offered by the A.R.B.A. along with listings of the youth members names and addresses. (More on the youth programs later.)

The A.R.B.A. provides a common meeting ground for all rabbit/cavy breeders or fanciers from any background. This provides the members with unlimited opportunities to interact with other A.R.B.A. members from anywhere in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Japan, and Great Britain as well as many other countries.

A.R.B.A. Clubs and Shows

The A.R.B.A. established procedural protocol for the organization of state, local, and specialty rabbit/cavy clubs as well as setting strict guidelines for the exhibition of rabbits and cavies. These guidelines allow breeders to attend any show sanctioned by the A.R.B.A. in any part of the nation and know that the rules and procedures will be the same. In addition to establishing the protocol for clubs and shows, the A.R.B.A is also responsible for the licensing of the rabbit/cavy judges to officiate at shows and the licensing of registrars to register rabbits. By doing this, the A.R.B.A. can maintain a uniformity of evaluation of each animal presented for competition and/or registration.

A.R.B.A. Publications

Working with the national specialty clubs, the A.R.B.A. has taken the responsibility of maintaining a written standard for every breed of rabbit or cavy that it recognizes. These are very precise descriptions detailing what the perfect example of each recognized breed would look like. These standards are compiled and published in a book, Standard of Perfection, and are the basis for all judging competitions sanctioned by the A.R.B.A. Each standard is carefully reviewed, updated, and republished every five years.

Closely related to the “Standard of Perfection” is the national registry of rabbits and/or cavies that is maintained by the A.R.B.A. This registry is unique in the nation, if not the world, in that each and every animal presented for registration has to be individually examined by a licensed A.R.B.A. registrar! Each animal has to meet the minimum specific breed requirements as set forth in the Standard of Perfection. (Certain dog and horse clubs are now doing DNA typing, but I don’t know if they have finally started requiring similar individual animal examinations.) Using this procedure assists in maintaining the highest quality possible in registered stock because unworthy offspring are not “automatically” registerable just because their parents were.

The A.R.B.A. is among the leaders in providing grants for rabbit/cavy research. One of the current recipients, Dr. Mark Suchow, is trying to develop a vaccine for the prevention of pasteurella multocida, which is one of the worst nightmares for a rabbit breeder. Regular reports on his research are carried in Domestic Rabbits magazine which is the ARBA magazine published and mailed to members.

Pictures of Rabbit Breeds

Pictures of Rabbit Breeds


The United States and Canada are divided into districts, and each district holds regular elections for a director who will represent that district at A.R.B.A. meetings. Within the A.R.B.A., the President and Vice President are also elected, and sometimes the campaigning can get a little stiff. Members are actively encouraged to know their district representative and to participate in the election process.

The A.R.B.A. National Convention

Once a year, for four days in October, the A.R.B.A. holds a national convention that is probably the biggest rabbit/cavy show in the world. Breeders from all over the country, and frequently from around the globe, enter the very best of their animals in hopes of winning the coveted Best In Show trophy. These conventions are held in various cities around the nation from year to year, and to the newcomer, they can be just a bit overwhelming. In 1997, the convention was held in Madison, Wisconsin, and there were over 19,000 rabbits were entered. Walking into a room the size of two football fields and seeing all these top quality specimens of each breed is a totally awesome experience. (The ’97 convention was this author’s first.)

The A.R.B.A. Youth Program

The A.R.B.A. doesn’t neglect its youth. In about 1958, the A.R.B.A. initiated a program called the “Youth Division Specialty Club” in order to formally recognize its youth members. While the youth members did enjoy some of the same services of the adult members, they elected their own officers and directors, had their own separate constitution and bylaws, and made their own rules.

During this period, they were often referred to as “a club within a club.” They did have their own national sweepstakes program, but it didn’t fare too well because there were simply too few youth shows.

In 1971, when Oren Reynolds became president, he proposed sweeping reforms of the youth program. He wanted to bring the youth fully into the A.R.B.A. with the same privileges as the adult members except the ability to vote. His reforms did suggest lowering dues and sanction fees as well as abolishing the unsatisfactory sweepstakes program and replacing it with contests geared specifically to the youth’s needs.

In the first year of the reforms implementation, youth membership more than doubled, and it still continues to grow each year. The A.R.B.A.currently sanctions 58 youth clubs. (California has the most with 13 separate youth clubs. However, many states have no youth clubs.) Many youth members also belong to their local 4-H and/or F.F.A. programs. Because of this, the A.R.B.A. tries to work hand-in-hand with the national headquarters of both 4-H and the F.F.A.

The A.R.B.A. offers several youth contests that are based variously on the youth’s knowledge of rabbits/cavies, proper herd management, and record keeping and on a youth’s ability to judge the quality of their animals, among other things. These contests include the National Achievement Contest, the National Management Contest, the Educational Contest, the Judging Contest, and, of course, the well-known Rabbit or Cavy Royalty contest. While the Education, Judging, and Royalty Contests are held on a national level at the national convention, the others are held first on a district level with the district winners then competing against each other for a national winner.

There is also the A.R.B.A. scholarship program, which high school graduates can apply for. A committee reviews the applications and selects the winners. Information on the contests and scholarship program can be requested by letter from the A.R.B.A.

More Information

Anyone wanting more information about the A.R.B.A. is invited to write to:

P.O. Box 426
Bloomington, IL 61702

The A.R.B.A. is also online, and its Web site is located at http://www.arba.net Its e-mail address is ARBAPOST@AOL.COM.


Jan 272014

colorful readers with book!

by Loretta  Hayward
I love everything about good books beautifully bound!

portrait of girl reading
I even love the paintings of people reading books!!

My love for books was a gift to me from my parents
who read books aloud to me and my brother!

christmasstoryThe stories read at Christmas time to the family are my favorite ones today!
Father faithfully read God’s Word to us daily and set our feet on the right paths.

2 children  in the reading chairI love the feeling of holding a beautiful bound book in my lap.

read to little brotherOne of my favorite illustrators,
Jessie Wilcox Smith, illustrates childhood so beautifully!

lady reads treasured bkWhile we lose ourselves in the books we read
we may find ourselves there too!

I love to touch the pages and feel the texture of the paper as I turn  and  explore each one. The scent of the book becomes part of the book’s unique  imprint on my mind. The title, the author, the characters of the story all begin to live and speak to me. The all begin to teach! The illustrations must be accurate to the story and reinforce the adventure’s importance. My hunger to meet real people that have depth of character sharing their  joys, sorrows, and vast experiences with me is more than a gift of love and adventure!
I believe good books are like great friends when they put more heart and purpose into our life!

reading under the tree

Good books can be building blocks  for the learning and making of good people! People filled with good thoughts, wisdom and love for others are also people full of good deeds and walk a path worth following!!

readers made on mom  s lap

Wonderful people have touched my life as I was growing up!  I wish that some of those lives could have been put into print and illustrated so that I may introduce my children to them and their wonderful love for life, their family, home and country!  Family photographs and albums are treasuries and precious reminders of good times spent together. They can so easily be lost as memory fails and  times fade away. The next generation may have features of parents and even grandparents,  with a similar voice and familiar gestures that bring loved ones to mind and warms the heart again!

reading bby jessie smith“We can double the joy of a good story every time we share it!”

(I hope these thoughts I have shared  will  increase your desire to read books that are going to enrich your life and the lives of others that you share them with!   Thank you for respecting our copyright.  Quotations other than my own are properly punctuated and credited with the name of their author. )

“Some books are so familiar that reading them is like being home again!”
Louisa May Alcott

Interview With Joe Gagnon Fox 21

 Daily Post  Comments Off on Interview With Joe Gagnon Fox 21
Jan 152014

          It is amazing how much happens in a year or even a few months! I want to share a few pictures that were taken when Fox 21 reporter Joe Gagnon andSummer  (the camera lady) met  us for  “live”  broadcasting  and  8 interviews!    My son Ronald and I enjoyed meeting with  Joe and his wife Summer and introducing them to some of our rabbits that we raise here at Garden Gate Rabbit Park.            Yes, we were excited!

Set Up Time!

Set Up Time!

         The Fox21 van was parked and the satellite equipment mounted on top was extended during the setup.

A quick picture before we are "on TV"

A quick picture before we are “on TV”

 I set up my camera off to the side on a tripod to get some photos made between each broadcasting. My photos show details not included in the filming made by the TV camera that Summer  was using.  Our rabbits were very entertaining  and  Mindy one of our English Lop rabbits is posing in front of Joe.  He really enjoyed  the rabbits whether we were “on the air” or off!

Summer  and Joe meet Mindy our English Lop.

Summer and Joe meet Mindy our English Lop.

     Summer and Joe liked feeding the rabbits as you can see and met  six of our rabbits that were different breeds.    They saw firsthand how much our bunnies liked all the special attention as well as the fresh violets that the rabbits enjoyed nibbling every opportunity that they could get!

Ronald introduces Spike our Flemish Giant.

Ronald introduces Spike our Flemish Giant.

     Ronald told about our Flemish Giants and Spike is posing in the picture waiting for his turn to talk “on the air”  as Joe holds the mic.  Spike would have been much more interested if the mic was edible!

     We enjoy sharing with people news, various humorous experiences we have had raising rabbits,  our extraordinary work raising different rabbit breeds and dressing the bunnies for picture taking time.  The various events we attend give people time to meet  a lot of rabbits.  A variety of information is shared through our educational programs, various slideshows and presentations!  These unforgettable  experiences  make lifelong impressions!

Jul 092013

Roses in a silver pitcher.
Roses short or with long stem,
Rose teapots or cups and saucers
Blissful treasures where I find them!
Loretta Hayward

There are so many ways we can bring roses into our homes.
Every loving deed and kindness can change a plain room into a sunny garden!

“Some roses are red
white, yellow or pink
Any rose color
Is lovely I think!”

“Bloom where you are planted!
God has plans for you today~
A fragrant blossom along life’s pathway
Cheers and brightens the passageway.”

Have a wonderful Day!

~  Loretta

Oct 312012

Joys of the Shop Hop!
Gloria & I had the rare privilege to take two dear friends ( we hadn’t seen for a year) on their first Shop Hop!
We headed for Heirlooms and Comforts Quilt Shop in Central, SC. The hour traveling was spent sharing family news, current projects and laughing with the girls over their college memories. Inside the shop quilts we enjoyed gazing at the beautiful variety of quilts that were displayed like fine art pieces on the wall for everyone to admire.



 I kept busy with my camera taking pictures and close-up shots of the quilt blocks in batik and stunning embroidery embellishments.

We enjoyed  refreshments, had our passports stamped,
a gift package of needles given to each of us, and made special purchases
of thread and a book of William Morris quilt patterns before leaving.
This autumn quilt hangs in Franklin, NC at Deb’s Cats & Quilts!
When you go to Franklin there are two wonderful quilt shops with totally different fabric lines, themes, kits, and notions!

We are now at the Quilt Cottage in Inman, SC.
The friendly ladies that work there have wonderful samples and quilts to see in several rooms.
I have bought many fabrics here too! Part of the joy of sewing is working with beautiful and quality fabrics!

The Viking Quilt Shop was also a favorite stop. The Shop Hop Quilt was amazing and finding the Morris tapestry fabrics by Moda -a wish come true!! We all were able to choose fat quarters of fabric for our free gifts at the next 3 shops where our eyes feasted on bright fabrics and new craft patterns!! The day was so eventful we plan to shop hop together again!

Oct 172012


 Our Vacation on Mackinac Island! 
The seagulls are first to greet you as you arrive at the island docks!



Our luggage is sent on ahead to the Bed & Breakfast where our reservations were made months in advance! We decided to stay in one of the most historic homes. We start up Main Street and try out our  “land legs”  now that we havestepped off the ferry!    

Many visitors come to the island every year and if they do not bring a bike they will probably rent one sometime during their stay to pedal around the whole island! 
I will be stopping often to take pictures! I love the flower gardens, the history and quaint victorian homes everywhere!

 Yards are kept so neat! The vivid colors of all the flowers hold you spell bound! I could sit all afternoon in this yard and gaze!  We must move on and capture the sights !

 On the Island!

 Part of the delightful island experience is that there are not any cars or motorized vehicles here! Really! That cuts down on the noise, smog, and congestion quite a lot! The horses are available to rent, a buggy, or bicycle are also for hire. Many will walk the sidewalks and stop at various shops, vendors, entertainments &  historic sites along the wayside.


 The homes are so sunny and are a welcome sight too!

A pair of grays pull the carriage headed for the Grand Hotel!  Everywhere we look is so picturesque.

Ah….another beautiful home!  A true rock garden!  This is worth a closer look…I am always getting ideas for my gardens.

The side streets must be explored as time allows!
A fine china shop! Oooh this will be a wonderful stop on the way back!
Maybe I will show you some of the lovely purchases that I made-it was as wonderful as I had anticipated!
I found a beautiful bone china pitcher with a blue chintz pattern from England!

The weather changed throughout the day and  we missed a brief rain shower while we were busy exploring a shop!

As we headed up to the Bluffs we  pedaled over the wet pavement passing the Grand Hotel, golf course, and stables.  This will be much more fun when we come back and travel down hill!

The view is always worth the trip uphill!  Along the Bluffs are some famous historic houses.


We also visited the fort! 


The view from the Island fort was spectacular!

There was plenty to learn and  enjoy.

Those re-enacting life at the fort were very talented.

The museums had great displays. Seeing pictures of the development of the island was impressive too!

The buggy museum was so interesting!  Is this a fancy covered sleigh or what?

It is amazing where you can find relatives. Looks like some of my kinfolk!

  Our days passed quickly! The day of our departure was cloudy and we were glad to be heading home to the sunny south!

Oct 172012

Garden Blooms

Whether you visit a garden or create a flower garden spot of your own
the beauty and benefits of your labors will speak to your heart
in ways that words will fail to say! 
Take time to linger among the blossoms.
All the blooms face the sunshine and grow in loveliness wherever they are planted.
Their beauty transforms a common place into a paradise.

In my opinion beauty speaks in a language all its own!

 When you surround yourself with flowers the lovely fragrance
is the scent of beauty.


Enjoy the natural beauty and  pure simple pleasures again.
Life is a gift we unwrap each and every day!



The most beautiful gifts are from God!

Would you call them blessings?

Behold the beauty of a thankful heart! 


Oct 152012

I love America and I hope it shows! Our land has a wonderful history, beautiful countryside, and amazing people! The people that love America have never tried to change this country because they labor to strengthen and help it thrive and prosper! Our God’s blessings upon us for over 200 yrs., our liberties & choices, resources and inventiveness have been the envy of the world. Our privilege to clear our land, establish a home and raise our children to love God and our country opens up marvelous opportunites! Our hearts overflow with gratitude and thanksgiving for the multitudes of families that blazed the trails of freedom so that my family could know peace and what “Home Sweet Home” really means!
Our garden work and developing our family business is a constant challenge. We decided long ago that we would work with local families & businesses to maintain and support the finest quality and workmanship that is produced here in our state and country! We have companies in the USA worth our loyalty and support.

Oct 042012

It is amazing where one can find inspiring ideas! Many times I look for small print fabrics to help create miniature bonnets or a cute pinafore for my bunnies to wear. Stopping at a quilt shop is a great source of help! People do not know what they are missing when they pass by a quilt shop! I was especially fascinated by the clever use of a particular sewing basket on display…so I got permission and took this photo! An enchanting miniature sewing room! In my world of rabbits we often work in miniature too! I find unlimited enjoyment working with my rabbits whether trying the new bonnets on them or fitting a custom made dress. Of course that is just the beginning. Preparation are made for taking pictures of them next for those moments that the rabbits very briefly pose! Of course bunnies sniff about and sample the nearby flowers. There are sudden bursts of excitement which result in bunny leaps and flights about the flowers or potted plants! The merriment is meant to be shared! So my new note cards and calendar will bring our smiles to you so that you may share them too!

Sep 242012

Meet Miss Poppins!
Posing by our  impatiens blooms is Miss Poppins, our Jersey Wooly.  Of course our rabbits like to look their best for pictures! This is one of over 50 pictures taken during the photo session. It is important to change positions of the rabbit to get pictures with a variety of views. Some views do not have as many blossoms, or the rabbit may start exploring or stop to wash their paws. We never know what to expect!
It is fun to fix a “hare”-do. Thankfully our Jersey Woolies have wonderful fiber fur that is easy to care for and seldom needs brushing. Miss Poppins will not need a hat today. How would you like the polka dot bow? The red one looks great! Can bunnies get any cuter??  I  have an idea. I am going to sketch her picture and maybe make a watercolor illustration!
We enjoy raising many different rabbits here at our rabbit Park. The Jersy Wooly is one of our smaller dwarf rabbits breeds.  This has been a very eventful week with 2 litters born and visitors coming to our park now that the weather is cooler!