Hope's Story
"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man!"
Winston Churchill

By October of 2012 Shalom had recovered weight and strength and was moved to a boarding facility where Mary worked with him. But Shalom yearned for constant companionship and within the month, by the prompting of the Lord, Mary googled mini horses.
I thought, "what do you do with a mini?" and found that they can be used for assisted living and therapy animals. I then googled mini horse for sale in my area, answered the only ad listed, and drove to see this precious one. The asking price was $1,500 which I immediately notified the owner I did not have, but would pray about it. After various God inspired interactions that day, the owner finally responded "I don't care if you pray or not, the Lord told me to give you Sweetheart." Two weeks later, I brought Sweetheart (now called Hope) to the boarding facility and the stall next to Shalom. They became instant buddies, often running side by side (with a fence between them as Shalom was a stallion) kicking, bucking, and thoroughly enjoying each other."

Hope had been traumatized in various ways. One repeated traumatizing event happened when she was farriered. Instead of picking up her feet, she was thrown on her side and held down. When she came to Hope Springs to Life Ranch, she was extremely skittish and unapproachable, darting away instantly. She would run away from Mary, or anyone else approaching her, often in circles for up to two hours before being caught to be let out of her stall or going into her stall. Over time she has learned she can trust, and there have been a few very precious and heart touching instances where the Lord used her to release post traumatic stress from domestic violence victims.

One instance happened when a gal came out for a tour of Hope Springs to Life Ranch. At one point during the tour she was introduced to Hope. Our visitor's tour turned into a therapeutic session as Hope with peace and confidence not only allowed our visitor to approached her, but stood still silently and willingly while our visitor knelt beside her, leaned against her, and rocked her. At one point the visitor even stood on one leg and placed the other leg over Hope's back and slowly dropped her torso over the top of her. She held onto Hope while quietly releasing tears that came from deep dark grief stricken areas inside her. Hope stood still until the release was complete. What a beautiful sight to behold as the Lord worked through this situation to bring not only release of PTSD, and it's pain but to bring peace, joy and hope to our visitor.

It amazes me as I watch 2 creatures, both skiddish, both un-trusting, join as a team of total acceptance, love and peace. Our hopes are to continue to utilize Hope in equine therapy, and at some point down the line train her to pull a cart. For now she also serves as Shalom's eyes, as his cateracks get thicker each day. She has also befriended Desi, who has become the alpha horse of the pack and serves as protector of little Hope and Shalom. Through all these interactions her guard has softened to approach Mary requesting her nose and the sides of her mouth gently rubbed or looking for treats. But don't let that fool you, she can also be the instigator of much fun and naughtiness, lifting her head and tail as she haughtily trots in any direction leading Shalom away from Mary especially when Mary is trying to get a fly mask on Shalom's head. She has definitely taken on the role of Princess when she can get away with it.