The Horse

Where in this wide world can

man find nobility without pride, 

friendship without envy or beauty

without vanity? Here, where

grace is laced with muscle, and 

strength by gentleness confined.

Poem by Ronald Duncan

For a person who has ever been touched by the healing power of a horse, they understand they are not mere tools to be used for our greater good. They are powerful, brilliant, strong and sentient creatures. For these reasons, they are historically humankind’s greatest companions. 


At New Hope, we know horses deserve care equal to their human counterparts. They are not another thing for humans to dominate, use and dispose of when people are finished with them when they become disabled or ill as was the case of many of the horses now in our care — program director and founder Sharla Kershen and her team have rescued some of them from kill barns, sale barns (the step before kill barns), or left neglected from someone’s pasture. 

Neuroscientists have observed that horses can function very well with disabilities. Humans’ misconception of the horse’s ability to compensate for a disability by pulling all of its senses together after an injury or illness often causes them to discard a horse prematurely. Plenty of horses have competed in races deaf or blind in one eye. Jasper was one of the best horses New Hope had, but the gorgeous leopard-spotted appaloosa came to New Hope in his late 20s and blind in both eyes because of cancer. He was patient, amenable and cordial. Jasper could be led anywhere by side walkers and ridden independently with a confident rider.This loving giant let children paint all over him with nontoxic paint while they learned equine anatomy. One picture shows Jasper wearing sunglasses and a pink feather boa. At New Hope, these beautiful creatures get a fortuitous second chance and are happy to serve. 


People and horses alike are given new beginnings at New Hope. For 12 years and counting, riders have overcome countless obstacles caused by physical, developmental or intellectual disabilities, trauma, depression and anxiety, and in turn, the horses also heal from their own, often traumatic, past. 


“Rich, you’re going to walk with Olivia today,” equine therapy instructor Kimberly Mescha says. Rich’s face lit up like a child on Christmas morning. A veteran in his 50s, the New Hope volunteer walks up to Olivia, a massive 22-year-old, broad-shouldered Gypsy Vanner with a curly mustache, a unique genetic feature for a horse, much less a female horse. He wraps his arms around Olivia, rubbing her neck from both sides as if she were a big dog. She nuzzles him back. When Rich turned around to begin his work for the day, he had a smile, like one of those glowing ones that only someone who just won an Olympic gold medal, or someone who just was proposed to gets. That smile stayed on him the rest of the morning as he helped handle the horses for the riders.


A boy with Autism named Ashwick was on Olivia’s back that day. He rides her nearly every lesson as the riders and horses form bonds with each other. Ashwick, now 10, has been going to New Hope since he was a toddler, and has been changed in tremendous ways by the kindness and patience Olivia has shown him during their rides. During the pandemic when the world shut down, Ashwick would ask his father Hari to take him to New Hope just to see Olivia. “Can we please just drive by?” 


Olivia understands Ashwick in ways that most of the human world may not. Horses are acutely perceptive in all things physical, emotional and mental. Horses have a non judgemental presence, and for riders and volunteers coming to New Hope who experience intellectual, developmental, emotional or psychological issues, horses do not make assumptions about people, which allows riders to feel accepted and understood, and even more, seen.


Ashwick smiles the whole ride. He looks up and out, participating with his full body. That joy follows him throughout his week. Instructor Kimberly gives commands, and all of the riders follow. Rich claps, encourages, and each time a child achieves a goal, no matter how small, his smile grows. 


That was a typical Saturday morning at New Hope, even if it was an usually warm day in February. At the start of the day, horses were turned out and getting groomed for their lessons. Volunteer Cyndy Roark picked sleep out of Flash’s eyes. A sign of affection. “We all have sleep in our eyes, don’t we?” she says to him as a mother to a child. 


Next to Flash, a 14-year-old rider who also volunteers has just finished braiding Chito’s hair. They have a show together later that day. Chito is her best friend and has helped her overcome years of what once seemed insurmountable anxiety, which led to her pulling on her own hair, a condition called trichotillomania, or trich. The teen now has a full head of bouncy curls to her shoulders. That morning she warmed up Chito so he is more settled during his lesson as he tends to be bossy, frisky and stubborn. He came to New Hope 200 pounds overweight. Sharla and her team worked to get the weight off because excess weight can cause sore feet and even lead to death. Today he is trim and active. 


“Lots of smiles today,” Rich said when the lesson ended. 

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Adopt a Horse Sponsorships

Horse Sponsorships





Name by horse on website





Certificate with Horse Name





Social Media Recognition





Name on Horse Plaque for a year





Grooming Session





Framed Photo





Our Horses (and other members of our herd)

Adopted by Jim Smith


A multi-talented guy, Beau is fluent in both English and Western and likes to help everyone from the newest beginner on up to highly skilled riders. For riders who ‘speak horse’ well, Beau is always game for a barrel race and his competitive nature comes out for those who ask properly. His big, bouncy trot is a gift to riders who are learning to post, or rise and fall with the movement of the horse’s legs.

Beau, a therapeutic riding horse at New Hope Equine

Breed: Appendix

Born: 1998

Color:  Palomino

Gender: Gelding

Height: 16 Hands

Previous Experience: Hunter, Jumper

Joined NH: Summer 2015


Cyclops is a Paint/Quarter horse mix who joined New Hope when his owner could not take him to college.  Back when Cy was a jumper he lost his eye to an infection, but it has never slowed him down. He adapted to his new normal, continued jumping, became a barrel racing instructor, and now is a careful therapy horse! He loves showing off his skills to adventurous riders and is a pro at going slow and steady, giving less adventurous riders confidence. Cy is frequently found grooming his best friend, Olivia.

Breed: Quarter Horse Paint Mix

Birth: 2005

Color: Tobiano

Gender: Gelding

Height: 14.3h

Previous Experience: Western school horse, Jumper

Joined NH: 2019

Daisy Mae

Daisy Mae can be easily recognized by her long, expressive ears or her loud hee-haw at turn out time. Trotting with a very side to side movement, Daisy Mae’s riders almost feel like they’re doing a hula dance. Daisy Mae loves working with everyone, from those who depend on a wheelchair to those who are accomplished riders. 

Daisy Mae suffers from a condition called Uveitis which can lead to blindness.  She wears a fly mask most of the time to protect her eyes from UV light and gets regular eye drops and ointments to make sure she is comfortable and avoids flare ups.  

Daisy Mae

Breed: Mule (Horse and Donkey Mix)

Born: 2002

Color: Bay

Gender: Mare Mule (or Molly)

Height: 15h

Previous Experience: Trail work

Joined NH: 2021


We don’t know much about Flash before he was rescued by his previous owner, but we do know that he had issues that made him uncomfortable and nervous. Wave Jaw, Fecal Water Syndrome and Hind Gut Ulcers suggested that he may not have had an easy early life. During his assessment period at NH his physical issues were addressed, and he received love, desensitization and comfort. Now, he carefully and safely carries riders as old as 93, and as young as 4. He likes the slow pace of lead-line lessons and New Hope is his happy place. When clean, he is a stunning boy, but he loves to roll in the red clay and turn himself into a red-headed Chestnut!

Breed:  Grade Quarter Horse

Born:  2004

Color:  Flea-bitten Gray

Gender:  Gelding

Height:  15h

Previous Experience:  Ranch Horse?

Joined NH:  2020


Gabby is estimated to be an early 2000’s model Grade horse, which is a fancy way to say her birthdate and actual breed is unknown.  Gabby came to New Hope via a former New Hope rider, and is now part of the NH herd.   Riders enjoy Gabby’s smooth gaits and willingness to go slow.  The more advanced riders enjoy her love of barrels. 

Gabby gets treatment for Cushing’s disease, an endocrine disorder, and has fully recovered from EPM, a disease which affects the nervous system.  

Breed: Model Grade (breed unknown)

Born:  Early 2000’s

Color: Chestnut

Gender:  Very Mare

Height:  14.3h

Previous Experience: Western, barrels and poles

Joined NH:  2018


Libby came to the USA from Germany at the age of 8 and joined the New Hope herd in 2020 when her former career as a dressage schoolmaster was winding down.  This mare is proper English through and through and her sensitive back would revolt at the thought of being ridden Western! While she can do lead-line lessons, Libby prefers working with the more independent riders and teaching them to refine their body positions and fine tune their rein usage.  She is a willing partner who works hard to do whatever she is asked.

Breed:  Sonstiges Warmblut

Born:  1998

Color:  Bay

Gender:  Mare

Height:  16.2h

Previous Experience: Dressage Schoolmaster

Joined NH:  2020


Affectionately known as Grandma or Princess, Missy joined the herd when her owner started riding at New Hope. Prior to her career change, Missy enjoyed trail riding all over North Texas with and participated in a few endurance competitions.  Missy is a kind, patient teacher and leader for both horses and humans. New therapy horses gravitate to her and she helps them assimilate and shows them the ropes.  

With her smooth as glass trot and canter, Missy is the go-to for introducing those gaits to riders. She carefully keeps her riders centered and balanced while building their confidence.  Not much fazes Missy and she shows no signs of slowing down!

Breed:  Arabian

Born:  1997

Color:  Gray

Gender:  Mare

Height:  14.3h

Previous Experience:  Endurance Trail Horse

Joined NH:  2017


Olivia is a lovely Gypsy Vanner.  At various times throughout the year, she sports a black and white curly mustache! This girl will stand untied for hours to be brushed and braided! She is solid enough to carry larger riders, but gentle enough to take care of our smaller riders, too.  

Olivia’s mantra used to be “talk to the hoof” when it came to other horses, but since bonding with Cy she now happily shares her paddock with him.  They can frequently be found grooming each other and are a very content pair.  Since moving in with her BFF, Olivia has decided that the rest of the herd is actually okay and now enjoys peaceful turnout time with them all. 

Breed:  Gypsy Vanner

Born:  2004

Color:  Piebald

Gender:  Mare

Height:  15h

Previous Experience:  Lesson horse, therapy horse

Joined NH:


Rain was rescued from a kill pen to be a companion for a lonely horse.  Once this lucky lady was rescued, she was gently trained to be a riding horse and began working at New Hope in 2019 where she quickly became a favorite with the youngest riders.  

Rain has vision issues with one eye and does not enjoy hands around her face.  This trait could make her unappealing to unsupervised children, but with supervision or young riders with self-control she is virtually bombproof.  A lot of our riders can empathize with Rain when it comes to quick, unexpected movements! 

Breed:  Paint Pony

Born:  est. 2014

Color:  Brown and white

Gender: Mare

Height:  12.3h

Previous Experience: Riding Horse

Joined NH:  2019


Tommy came to New Hope via a kill pen.  Unfortunately, some people feel that a horse who can no longer work in the capacity required is worthless and do not make responsible arrangements for a career change or a proper retirement.  We believe this was Tommy’s fate and suspect that he was a plow horse before finding his place in our hearts. For such a giant, he is surprisingly in tune to his riders’ needs and does his best to keep them safe.  He has even been known to alert staff to an impending medical issue being experienced by a rider! Teaching riders to focus and steer confidently is his forte, as they must keep Tommy focused and directed or risk knocking over every cone in sight! Tommy gives the gift of confidence and pride to his riders.

Breed:  Belgian Draft Horse

Born: 2003

Color:  Blonde

Gender:  Gelding

Height: 18hh

Previous Experience:  Plow horse

Joined NH: 2015


Panchito, better known as Chito came to New Hope 200 pounds overweight. We worked to get the weight off so he would not founder and he started working in our THBR program. 

We did not know his breed until recently. Galicenos are small but hardy, with courage and stamina and can carry an adult for a full day’s ride and still be less spent than many other horses.

Chito has jumped, run barrels and poles, and likes to go on trail rides. His size makes him versatile for lead-line classes and independent riders.

Breed:  Galicenos Pony

Born:  2010

Color:  Roan

Gender:  Gelding

Height: 13hh

Previous Experience: Lesson pony

Joined NH: 2018

Retired Horses


Duke was bred to be a western pleasure horse but was unable to continue in the competition arena due to an injury.  His injury is completely healed and thankfully his young owner recognized that though his western pleasure competition days were over, he was far from done and had many gifts to offer riders.  Duke loves people and is a little like a big puppy!  Riders have picked up on his personality and he is quickly becoming a favorite.  Because of his skill at the western pleasure jog (a very slow, relatively smooth trot), Duke excels at introducing riders to the trot.  

Breed: American Quarter Horse

Born: 2009

Color: Bay

Gender: Gelding

Height: 16h

Previous Experience: Western Pleasure

Joined NH: 2023

What it takes to care for our horses Hay $22,000 or 1,950 bales Grain $18,100 or XXX bags of grain and forage pellets Supplements $2,300 – older horses take extra care Hoof Care $14,600- 352 feet trimmed, 220 shoes put on Veterinary Care $11,659- 13 sets of teeth floated,
13 Coggins and Health Certificates, 91 vaccinations,
monthly medications, injury visits Poop Scooping 365 days/year x 13 horses Feeding 365 days/2x daily x 13 horses

Donation / Sponsorship link