Flames to Hope Equine-Assisted Services is a local non-profit organization using miniature horses to help heal the hearts and minds of those in need.
It comes as no surprise to citizens in the heart of horse country that horses have proven their ability to calm the mind, sooth the soul, and heal the body for millennia.
Flames to Hope uses their string of tiny miniature horses to do just that here in Central Oklahoma.
The therapeutic value of horses was documented as far back as 600 B.C.
Since ancient times horses have been used to improve the lives of those who care for them.
Throughout the 50’s and 60’s, therapeutic riding became a common practice to treat orthopedic conditions and developed into what is called “hippotherapy”.
Hippotherapy is treatment with the help of a horse. Occupational and physical therapists use horses to help adults and children with a variety of conditions both physical and mental.
Horses offer more than what can be gained by riding alone.
General care and grooming of horses has been proven to be as valuable as the physical therapy that comes with riding.
The mission of Flames to Hope is to transform the lives of adults and children with emotional, social, cognitive, and physical challenges through Equine-Assisted Therapy and various learning services.
Standard sized horses are often intimidating and even frightening to some.
Miniature horses have all the magnificent qualities large horse have in smaller, less intimidating packages.
Miniature horses require less space and resources to maintain and are able to go into more facilities than their larger counterparts.
After a tragic tornado tore over their farm, Ron and Kelly King used their surviving horses aptly named Flame and Hope as inspiration.
Both veterans themselves, the Kings planned to use Flame and Hope to help veterans transition into civilian life, however circumstances changed so they decided to grow the organization in a smaller way.
Flames to Hope accomplishes their bold mission to help others in a unique way.
“Courage gives you strength in the midst of tragedy. Hope helps you overcome it,” Kelly said.
The Kings acquired a miniature horse named Trigger followed shortly after by a 3 month old orphan mini named Reba.
In 2016 Flames to Hope scheduled their first visit to an assisted living facility in Lexington.
Reba was a big hit.
Soon after the first appearance, Kelly’s phone started ringing and appointments filled up fast.
People adored Reba and her personable nature. The mini’s proved to be very popular. Their schedule was full until COVID abruptly ended the facility visits.
Post-Covid, the organization shifted gears. While they do offer site visits with the “Mobil Mini’s”, they are providing many more opportunities at the farm in Noble.
Flames to Hope provides individuals and small groups with confidence building and relationship improving skills.
One example of this comes by way of a young boy who was participating in a team building event with the horses.
The horse he chose was new to the organization and inexperienced. The children were to lead the horses through an obstacle course which included a small wooden bridge.
The horse balked and refused to cross the bridge. The young man persisted. After about 30 minutes, the horse reared up and landed with one foot on the bridge. The boy triumphantly raised his hands and proudly announced “I did it!”
Everyone cheered and celebrated with him.
King described this powerful moment through tears and a lump in her throat.
King mentioned another experience at a veteran’s facility near Lawton.
The team met a man who had not made a single facial expression in some time.
He smiled the biggest grin when Reba approached him. The staff was moved by the impact the horses had on the residents.
Flames to Hope offers several different options from business team building to personalized outings including mother-daughter activities and family sessions at their facility in Noble.
Their program called “Reining it in” is a unique opportunity for people to engage with the horses on a personal level. They are also booking limited events with their “Mobil Mini’s”.
The Kings currently have nine miniature and three standard horses on their farm. Caring for horses, even tiny horses, is expensive. They operate Flames to Hope as a 501c3 non-profit.
Tax deductible financial donations are welcome and many volunteer opportunities for people ages 15 and over are available.
Information on their organization can be found on their website www.flamestohope.org.
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