By Dan Roark

I followed Sharla when she took the New Hope trailer with a few horses to the Stock Show and Rodeo grounds  in Ft. Worth for Chisholm Challenge in January. It was not her only trip. When we got to Will Rogers Coliseum paddocks, Melissa was at the door. She helped get the horses in their paddocks and whatever else was needed.  She was there most of the three days from unloading the horses to loading them back up after the competition. That’s the type of volunteer she is. Melissa is not just a volunteer. She’s also a feeder on Tuesdays and Fridays. Here’s your chance to meet her:

Melissa Feeding the goats with her husband, Thomas.

What brought you to New Hope to volunteer and how long have you been volunteering?    What brought me to New Hope was the need to get out of my house as well as old memories of riding before I was in first grade. I missed everything about horses. I’ve been volunteering/working since August 2021.

Tell a little about yourself. I’m a stay at home mom of three grown kids. I’ve been married for almost 26 years (to the same man!).

Who is/are your favorite horse(s) and why? I’d like to have a favorite horse, but it depends on when you ask. If I’m braiding Olivia’s hair, it’s her. If I’m bathing Rain or chasing Chito, it is either one I’m tending to. Whoever has my full attention at the time has all of my love.

What is/are your favorite part(s) of volunteering? I like feeling helpful and even the smallest thing I do as a volunteer brings me closer to people who do what they love. That’s everyone, riders, volunteers, instructors, and workers. We choose to be at New Hope and breathe in every drop of happy.

How has volunteering affected you? I began volunteering at New Hope and found my own therapy being around the horses. Caring for them brings me peace. When I get to watch our riders, well, that brings me joy.


Ride on and ride for hope.

Donate to New Hope.

Venmo – @NewHopeEquineAssistedTherapy

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