Monday, July 13, 2015

But Wait, There's More! Update on Maureen Love & Hagen-Renaker Blog Post

Left: Hagen-Renaker "Love" Appaloosa;
right: Maureen Love Appaloosa

Yesterday I wrote a post on this blog about the Appaloosa horse figurines created by Maureen Love, that my friend and model horse mentor Joanie and I found at a San Diego county estate sale. 

Sorrel and red chestnut variations
of the Appaloosa, created by Maureen Love.

We also found one of the Hagen-Renaker versions of the same model, the "Love" Appaloosa.  

These three small horses -- two of them, incredibly rare -- were in the estate of Margaret Kennedy, who had owned OK Rain Dance, the real horse after which Maureen modeled her Appaloosa figurine. Maggie Kennedy had written an article for Western Horseman's March 1962 issue, which was published along with photographs.

As soon as I published yesterday's blog post, Hagen-Renaker historian Nancy Kelly contacted me. Nancy had corresponded with Maggie Kennedy about Maureen Love and OK Rain Dance, back in 1998, when Nancy was writing the book Hagen-Renaker Pottery: Horses and Other Figurines. Nancy has graciously given me permission to tell that side of the story here.

Nancy received two letters from Maggie.  The first is dated July 20, 1998:

Winterhaven Ranch
Quarter Horses

Hi Nancy --

It was very interesting to hear from you about your plans for writing the history of Hagen-Renaker pottery. I think I have the original photos and maybe the negatives, but I have moved several times since I did that story. I may have a major search to find them! I will look for them and certainly you may have them.

I enjoyed talking with Maureen? Marjorie Love -- over the time I forget but she was very talented. I have one of the "Artist's Original" models of the Appaloosa mare Rain Dance. This was my favorite Appaloosa in life & sculpture. 

I have one big question -- How did you find me? I lived in La Puente at the time we took the pictures & I went to the Hagen-Renaker factory.

I will search for the photos & be in touch -- Good luck in your research & writing.

Maggie Kennedy

Interesting that Maggie remembered only one of the artist's original Appaloosas, when she really had two of them!

A second note from Maggie to Nancy, written in November 1998, accompanied the original photos Maggie took of Maureen and the Hagen-Renaker factory (which was in Monrovia, California at the time.)


Dear Nancy,

Well I hope this is better late than never and you can use the photos -- I can't find the negatives but you can probably have a photo shop copy any of these you may choose to use. I called my mare OK Rain Dance because there was another Appaloosa registered Rain Dance. OK was our ranch name for O'Shea, my maiden name & Kennedy, my husband's name. I took the pictures so if you want to list Maggie Kennedy as photographer that's fine.

I remember a conversation with Maureen about how she likes to go personally to the place where the animals are that she is sculpting. My original notes are on the backs of these pictures & the date July 61 -- seems like yesterday.

I haven't raised Appaloosas for a long time now but I still have been raising some good Quarter Horses & an occasional runner. Horses are just in my blood, but it doesn't hurt at all!

Let me know how your production turns out.

Maggie Kennedy

Maggie's interest in horses must have extended to harness horses as well. This framed photo at the estate sale showed her driving a Standardbred named Lady Dilworthy at Santa Anita racetrack in 1955.

Maggie's second note referred to the pictures she took for her Western Horseman article. Three of the photos have Maggie's notes on the back:

4. Miniature statuettes of horses drying after being removed from plaster moulds.

5. Statuettes on drying racks at the factory of Hagen-Renaker.

7. One of the paint specialists doing tedious job of putting the eyes and final touches on the cutting horse & rider.

All the photos are stamped The Western Horseman Jul 1961.

Maggie Kennedy's legacy is much more than her horses, though. As an educator, she impacted the lives of thousands of students.  Her obituary in the Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News reads:

Margaret M. Kennedy was born March 26, 1928 in Chattanooga, Tenn. to Charles and Lena (Beebe) O’Shea. Her father’s work moved the family several times, from Tennessee to Kansas and ultimately to Northern California.
Margaret attend Notre Dame High School in Belmont, Calif. and went on to San Jose State University where she completed her BA in education. She taught kindergarten in Northern California for several years before accepting an assistant principal position in the Mountain View School District in the San Gabriel Valley. She then completed her master’s degree at Cal State Los Angeles and went on to become principal in the same district.
During summer months, she directed a camp in the San Gabriel Mountains near Wrightwood. She married William Kennedy and began her second career of raising, breeding, racing and showing quarter horses. Her final phase of education was as a consultant in school improvement programs and elementary program planning for the office of the Los Angeles County Schools.
After retiring in 1985, she moved her ranch to Fallbrook, Calif. where she could devote more time to her horses. She also started another hobby, the sport of sheepherding with several border collies. Still needing to continue her interest in early childhood education, she served on the Fallbrook Elementary School Board for nine years.
She died peacefully at home on April 8, 2015.

The obituary makes no mention of the Appaloosas that Maggie and her husband kept in the 1960s.  

But model horse collectors know, and still appreciate, her contribution to the hobby: her mare OK Rain Dance was the model for the Hagen-Renaker "Love" Appaloosa.

Here's a link to my original blog post about the article and the liberation of the two Maureen Love Appaloosas from the estate sale:

Nancy Kelly has written extensively and beautifully about the history of the Hagen-Renaker pottery. Here is a link to her author page at

(Nancy notes that she did not write the work of fiction attributed to her by Amazon; her books are the ones about Hagen-Renaker.)

Here's the real OK Rain Dance's pedigree:

OK Rain Dance
Sorrel, spotted blanket 
(Morgan's Matador F-1431 x OK Katchina Doll T-4143) 
Bred by WH Kennedy, La Puente, California 
Foaled 1958


And also here:


  1. I just dusted my horse collection today - something I don't do on a regular basis and they had grown winter coats with a good layer of dust. I have the Hagen-Renaker Appaloosa "Love" and I wanted to know more about this particular model. This blog and ensuing information was just what I needed. I have the model that has the indented spots on it and I've had it for a long-long time. It is in perfect condition. I enjoy it as much today as I did when I purchased it. Thank you Maureen Love for beautiful rendering of the horses you designed.

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed the story!