Community with Carol: Kelsey Rice with Hope Horses, Inc.

Photo courtesy of Carol Berry

Carol Berry, left; Kelsey Rice, right (Photo courtesy of Carol Berry)

“Community with Carol” recently sat down with Kelsey Rice to talk about the local nonprofit, Hope Horses, Inc. Kelsey is a beautiful, soft-spoken young lady with a true love for what she does.   As Kelsey began to speak to me before our interview, her eyes lit up with excitement over the plans she has for her organization. 

Kelsey is a local girl, a “country girl,” as she described herself.  She barely appeared old enough to be out of high school, but I quickly understood she was wise beyond her years and a very educated young woman.  She is an Auburn graduate who chose to come home and apply her degree in the community she loves.   

In 2007, David Poyner founded Hope Horses, Inc.  Its mission is to provide therapeutic horsemanship programs for individuals with special physical, social, cognitive and emotional needs. In 2014, the organization started providing lessons at the private farm of Dr. Glori Short. It later moved to its current location, on Convent Road, provided by the Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery. 

Kelsey became the executive director in 2015.   She has implemented many new ideas, such as camps and field trips for able children. A new, exciting fundraiser held on St. Patrick’s Day each year is called “Casino Night.” I attended this event last year and would encourage others to do so; it was an evening of fun and excitement.  Kelsey also opens the facility up to the public for one day each October. This is a great way to see where your money goes as a donor.  

“Watching those individuals ride and the smiles on their faces is priceless,” said Kelsey. 

Kelsey and the board of Hope Horses, Inc. have big plans for expanding the program.  It is now open six days per week, serving more individuals than ever before.  It actually has a waiting list. To serve more individuals, Hope Horses needs YOUR help. There is a great need for volunteers.

“You do not need any horse training or even to like horses to do this,” Kelsey told me. 

If you are interested in volunteering with the horses you will be properly trained; however, other opportunities to get involved include office help, crafts with the children, cleaning and many other things. If you would like to donate your time, talent or treasures to help Hope Horses, Inc., please call 256-841-6290. 

Look for “Community with Carol” on The Cullman Tribune’s Facebook page, where you can see my interview with Kelsey.

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