“There are many things that come and go in life, but the one thing that doesn’t are the lessons we learn. They stay with us forever.” ~ Kelly King
I remember as a child playing with my sister in a wooded lot next to our little white house in the small town of Aurora, Mo. At some point while we were living there the wooded lot was cleared leaving behind a flat piece of land sprinkled with soft, loose, Missouri dirt. A perfect piece of land for a make believe rodeo. My sister and I carefully drew three little circles on the ground in the shape of a triangle and pretended to barrel race around the little barrels we had just drawn in the fresh, brown dirt. Like every other little girl my age I so longed for a pony and hoped one day I would wake up to find one standing under my Christmas tree on Christmas morning. But that never happened. Life took me down a different path instead. A path that left me feeling scared, insecure and alone for many years. A path that left me searching and longing to fill a void in my heart and soul that had been left behind in the wake of the many challenges I faced along the way. A void I could never fill. Then, two failed marriages later and one more heading down a rocky road I found her, the tiny little red dun filly, who filled the void, healed my heart, help me overcome my fears and insecurities and taught me how to face life’s challenges through the eyes of a horse.
I found Reba, the little red dun filly, on Craigslist. A women in my area had posted an add looking to re-home her miniature horses. Her husband had undergone back surgery that left him disabled and her trying to take care of the family farm by herself. She had a dozen little miniature horses or more and just as many cows and chickens. Reba was the youngest and smallest of all the livestock on their farm. She was only three months old and standing not more than 23” tall at the base of her mane. She was a tiny, little thing. Her hair was scraggly, her hooves were a little over grown and she had a little round belly that reminded me of the children you see in the feed the children commercials on TV. She was so dainty and pitiful, my heart melted immediately at the site of her. Never would I have imagined at that moment this tiny little horse would change my life forever.
This dynamic relationship inspired me to help others find hope and learn how to face their life challenges through the eyes of a horse. August of 2016 Flames to Hope, Inc. was founded with only two volunteers and two tiny little horses. Today, we have 14 miniature horses, 1 donkey, 3 full size horses, one pony and more than 20 volunteers. We have hosted team building clinics for the youth with Cross Roads Youth and Family Services and the Army National Guard and have spread hope and joy to hundreds of adults, children and Veteran's across Oklahoma. It all started with one little three month old red dun filly. She is living proof you do not have to be big to do great things!!
Co-Founder Flames to Hope, Inc.