Deborah Anne Cooper

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Deborah Anne Cooper Obituary
Deborah Anne Cooper
Jan 21, 1956 - Mar 3, 2013
Resident of Watsonville
Today, horses and humans alike mourn the loss of our beloved Deb Cooper who passed on Sunday March 3 at her home on Moon Valley Ranch. Deborah Anne Cooper was born on January 21, 1956 at Children's Hospital of San Francisco to Eleanor Piers. She spent her early years in Miami, Florida and Piedmont, California.
An avid athlete, Deb swam competitively throughout her childhood. She also played soccer at the first Gay Games in San Francisco and was a member of the first women's professional soccer team. However, her life's calling became apparent through her Aunt Mary, a racehorse breeder. The deep love and connection that Deb shared with horses was there-to-fore unprecedented.
Deb's spirit was most in line when she was with her horses; it was a bond felt by both. She nurtured her natural skill through mentor Pat Parelli, who helped her to fine tune and nourish her communication. It was a training based in a mutual trust and respect for the animal; a way of being that deeply resonated with her own sense of self. She became a Level 3 Star instructor, specializing with troubled horses and colt starting. It is difficult to discern who saved the other first. What is known is that with her horses, Deb experienced an inner peace that was unparalleled.
Over the next 30 years, Deb translated her passion into a business, training hundreds of horses and humans. She owned and developed three horse ranches in Santa Cruz County - each building upon the other - the most recent of which is Moon Valley Ranch She shared her gifts with the community, creating a space that centered on horse/human education and healing. Moon Valley Ranch was also an operating site for HorsePower horse rescue, as Deb continued on her journey of guiding damaged or misunderstood horses to discovering their true potential as powerful, beautiful creatures of elegance.
Deb has joined her brother, Thomas Cooper, who preceded her in death. She is survived by her mother Eleanor Piers, sister Pamela Harris, brother Robert Cooper, three children - Sam, Hannah and Tess Bouten, and her final partner in life, Jules Rodriguez.
Deb leaves behind a legacy of rich knowledge and natural horsemanship skills. She touched the spirit of horses and humans in her teaching and inspired each rider to find that place of calm, respectful relationship with their equine partners. She will be as deeply missed as she is deeply loved.
Memorial service will be at Oakwood Chapel, 3301 Paul Sweet Road, Santa Cruz on March 23, 2013 at 11am
If you would like to offer condolences to Deb's family, share your memories and light a candle in her memory please visit


Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Mar. 17, 2013
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