Spirit of Hope hosts Bluegrass and Burgers

Published 1:13 pm Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Traces of abuse show up on Shadow’s deep black coat in the form of white blotches.

Missy Cox, Spirit of Hope Ranch manager, said the horse lived through months of abandonment. But now he’s found healing and purpose at his new home, Spirit of Hope, located on the boys campus of King’s Ranch.

“He literally bears the scars of what happened to him,” Cox said. “The kids truly relate to this. One day Joy (an SOH volunteer) was grooming Shadow with a young man who rolled up his sleeves and said, ‘That’s what happened to me.’ All over his arms were scars from cutting.”

Spirit of Hope caters to kids who have been abused and neglected. They pair the children with horses who have been through similar situations and allow them to heal each other.

The ranch plans to celebrate that healing April 18 with its annual Bluegrass and Burgers event.

The celebration is set to begin at 11 a.m. with music by The Tackroom Boys. The event’s emcee is Leah Brandon of 960 WERC.

Organizers plan to set up a tack shop where visitors can make donations in return for horse equipment. Cox said a local donor provided the ranch with more equipment than they can make use of, leaving them with extra things like nylon web halters, lead ropes and safety helmets.

Money from the event funds maintenance and equipment needed throughout the year. Visitors to the event can see exactly where the money goes, Cox said.

“We are totally run through fundraisers and by volunteers,” Cox said. “This is incredibly important to us.”

Not all the kids who visit the ranch have been in trouble or abused, but all of them discover and provide value while there, Cox said.

“For many of the kids, they realize for the first time that somebody wants them,” Cox said. “The ranch couldn’t make it without their help.”

For more information about Bluegrass and Burgers, call Joy O’Neal at 223-1362.