Meet our Equine Staff
Calvin is a handsome bay OTTB who joined the Conover Farm team in February of 2019. Standing at 16.1 hh, Calvin is very athletic and loves to work. In his previous career, he was a Polo pony for 15 years before retiring to the simpler life on the farm and his sweet personality won over the hearts of the staff and volunteers very quickly. Calvin is great for therapeutic riding and recreational riding and loves going out on the trail. Calvin is on a generous lease to the farm.
Aka Cappi, named Captain hook for his cool hook-shaped marking on his face. Cappi is a fun-loving, chipper, little fellow who is always ready for the job. Standing at 13.1hh, this chummy gelding is a liver chestnut Shetland pony cross, foaled in 2001 and is owned by Delane Clark who generously allows him to be used for the programs at SHF. Captain Hook has a doppelganger among our horses at the Mecklenburg location.
Chase is a thoroughbred gelding born in 2009 who has already successfully completed his first career on the racetrack. After retiring from his racing career, Chase joined our equine staff in 2019 and has proved himself to to be a great therapy horse, not phased by any therapy tools or toys that come his way. Chase’s purchase was made possible by the generous grant provided by the Carolina Panthers Charities.
Sundance in Chocolate “Dan”, our newest addition to the Mount Holly Farm, is a 15.3hh Arabian x Quarter Horse out of Sundance Kid born May 17, 2009. He has had extensive desensitizing training and ground work making him an ideal candidate for all of our therapy and therapeutic riding clients. Dan is very eager to continue his training to become an official therapy horse. While in training, Dan loves to be groomed and given cookies!
Everyone can’t help but love Dunkin. Just imagine a roly-poly horse eating a box of donuts and getting his belly scratched. That about sums it up. This laid-back American Foundation Quarter Horse came from the ranges of Colorado and has a ranch brand to show for it. But he’s much happier at his current job – herding cattle takes too much work! Dunkin was born in 2001, 15.0hh dun gelding who is usually easy to spot with his mo-hawk mane & zebra-striped legs.
Elvis, otherwise known as “Pudge” at our Mt. Holly Location, is a 13.3hh Welsh x Quarter horse who is almost as wide as he is tall. Elvis is currently one of the barn favorites for his goofy, loving personality and bouncy gaits that soothe and focus his clients. Elvis loves his job as a hippotherapy pony but also loves to be groomed by our timid first time clients that are not yet ready to ride. He loves to be scratched and will even smile if you get the right spot!
Epic aka Epic Splash is a 2007 grey Welsh Pony cross. This athletic pony is a natural at being a therapy pony. With beautiful three-dimensional movement and a great mind set he happily carries our clients through their therapy sessions. Epic loves cuddling with his riders and loves getting groomed and eating treats. In his former career, Epic was a very talented hunter pony and still occasionally loves to jump around small courses. Epic loves trail riding and playing in the water. He also enjoys rolling and is known for finding the dirtiest spot in the pasture to roll in especially after a thorough bath! He is definitely a barn favorite. Epic is on a generous donated lease from the Smith Family to Shining Hope Farms.
Fritz is a handsome blonde Haflinger gelding, standing at 14 hands high. He is one of the most popular ponies at SHF for his humorous personality and cute looks. This guy not only works in the SHF programs, but also can be seen regularly at horse shows competing in dressage, sidesaddle, and jumping. He enjoys being doted on by his owner, Madison Hood-Bowker. But Fritz does his best work in our hippotherapy program. He loves serving the kids, especially those that are highly involved. Compared to his training, to him, hippotherapy is not work and he is happy to plod around all day.
Shining Hope Farms’ famous gentle giant is the heaviest equine at Shining Hope Farms. The Percheron/Quarter Horse gelding carries beginner adult riders safely and smoothly in riding lessons. With his even pace and his rhythmic gates, he builds confidence in timid riders. Gideon loves getting groomed, usually falling asleep in the crossties, but especially enjoys long trail rides. Gideon was partially donated by Wendy Cracovia.
Hamilton is a rescue pony. Saved from a bad situation and later donated by police officer Gina Cook, he is now eagerly improving the quality of life of many of our clients. Better known as “Hami,” he is one of our most lively ponies at SHF – nothing phases him in the surroundings and he really likes to move! Clients who have trouble focusing or feel at ease with a lot of sensory input, love to ride Hami and his bouncy gaits. Hamilton was born in 2004 and is a 14.2hh palomino POA (Pony of the Americas) gelding. Hamilton also loves to jump and trail ride.
Howard is a 16.1hh paint x draft gelding foaled in 2004. Howard is a PMU foal and was rescued by Dana Dewey of Foothill Equestrian Center. Howard is a beautiful big boy with three floaty gaits and shows promise in the Dressage arena. Howard loves scratches, being groomed and most of all being outside with his horse buddies. In the past, Howard has done extensive de-spooking and braveness training, i.e. riding alongside fire, through obstacle courses, and staying calm around loud noises. Howard enjoys trail riding and loves the water: In the summer you will find him trying to stand and swim in his water trough in the pasture and teaching the other horses to do so as well.
Leo – aka Leo Lionheart- is a Gypsy Vanner x Quarter Horse born in 2015. Leo’s quietness and boldness have made him an ideal therapy horse despite being the youngest Shining Hope Farms horse. Leo’s perfect heart on his forehead has already made him a barn favorite!
Lewis is a 15.3hh registered Paint, foaled on March 22, 2002. Lewis, who was donated to SHF by Maddie Hazelbaker, quickly became central to our programs and continues to impress and serve his many clients. Lewis really does it all- from therapy, beginner lessons, to Cross Country Jumping, and Dressage competitions-Lewis always shows a great attitude and lots of patience with riders and handlers. Lewis loves to swim- in fact he is the reason we had to fence in the meadow adjoining the little pond at the Mecklenburg location. Lewis simply swam through the pond regularly to graze on the other side.
Marshall, also known and loved as ‘Marshmallow,’ is a 1998, 15.3hh bay Appendix Quarter Horse gelding. He is known for his amazing ability to sense the kind of rider he is carrying on his back- slowing it down for the more anxious, or smaller rider and speeding it up for those who are able and wanting to do more. Marshall is always ready to work, forward thinking, and keeps his riders attentive. Marshall is a reliable partner on trails and in the arena, enjoying both riding lessons and Hippotherapy, and loves trail riding and is also a talented jumper.
Ninja is a registered Haflinger gelding that was born in 1995. He was donated by Dana Dewey of Foothills Equestrian Center. He is short (around 13.2hh) and has a very stocky build. Ninja is built like a tank. Sometimes he forgets that and has to be reminded that he must follow rather than lead. We don’t know much of his history, but Ninja has proved to be a steady horse for our riders. He excels in the rec riding program and has proved his worth as a reliable walk/trot horse. He has an incredibly smooth conveyor belt trot that allows his riders to become comfortable trotting. They are then able to learn how to post the trot on a smooth ride rather than getting bounced out of the saddle. Ninja also loves to take his riders on the trails. This is his happy place and he is probably one of the most sure-footed horses on the property. Ninja is also beginning to prove his worth in the therapy programs both in therapeutic riding and hippotherapy. His height is loved by the volunteers and his steadiness is great for the kids. Ninja is also known as our big talker at the farm. He has quite the personality and always has to announce his presence when he enters the barn or say hello when he sees someone coming around.
Odie is one of several senior citizens at our Conover location. He is a black pony who is starting to show some grey, but you would not know his age when it comes to working in the programs. He’s game for lead-line sessions and teaching kids walk, trot, canter, and maybe even a small jump here and there. One of our past clients, at nine years old, coined the name for the little pony. Standing at 13.2hh, Odie is a Morgan/Welsh pony cross gelding born in 1992. He is a great teacher in our recreational/therapeutic programs and even though hippotherapy isn’t his favorite thing he still helps out and his small stature is perfect for it.
This silly, googly-eyed pony is a barn favorite. Oreo is a 14.1hh half Arabian/half Paint gelding born in 1998. He stands out in the crowd with his black and white tobiano color, sometimes kids call him the Chick-fil-A horse! What’s neat is SHF also owns his brother – can you guess who? Oreo was generously donated by Pam Carter.
Peter Pan is a 14hh Paint Pony purchased from Dana Dewey of Foothills Equestrian Center. Pan is the most recent addition to our equine staff, but is already loved by clients and staff for his lively demeanor and his cute appearance. His smooth forward movement and narrow build is a great asset to our program. Pan also proves to be quite the talented lesson pony and jumper. He is the doppelganger of Captain Hook at the Mount Holly location and named accordingly. Pan was born approximately in 2007, is therefore one of the younger equine members of our team and we hope to benefit from his partnership for many more years.
Riley is a dark black Arabian- Quarter Horse gelding and Zane’s half- brother. Born in 1997, Riley, like Zane is approximately 14.1hh tall. In his few years at Shining Hope Farms, Riley has become essential to the program, carrying one of the heaviest workloads, utilized in both recreational riding lessons and Hippotherapy. He is loved for his sturdy build, his size, and smooth gaits. Riley is also a great swimmer and cross- rail jumper. Like Zane, Riley was generously donated by Chamblee Simonsen.
Sally is a 15 hand, bay Quarter horse mare of of undetermined age (our best guess is that she was born sometime between 1987 and 1992). She is on loan by Dana Dewey, owner of Foothills Equestrian Center (FEC). Sally comes with a mysterious past. She was found on Craigslist several years ago and wasn’t in great shape at the time. She was bought by Susan Harris (YES! The Pony Club book author and Centered Riding Instructor) who then donated her to Dana at FEC. After much TLC and conditioning, Sally has won our hearts with her sweet and gentle personality. She is blind in one eye, but it doesn’t slow her down at all. Sally has become a valuable and versatile member of our hippotherapy and recreational/therapeutic riding programs at Shining Hope Farms’ Conover location.
“What’s It To Ya” aka Sammy a Welsh Pony gelding, was foaled in 2000 and has been serving clients at Shining Hope Farms since he was five years old. Sammy therefore is probably SHF’s most experienced equine. He is known to ‘lead himself’ through a therapy session, a Steady-Eddie, who is usually the go-to pony whenever a client is anxious and unsure. Sammy was born a dark black color but has since then lightened out to be a flea-bitten grey standing at 14.1 hands. He’s notorious for giving his riders a “Sammy hug” after they dismount. Sammy is one of our all-round ponies, invaluable not only in Hippotherapy and for beginner lessons, but also in the show ring, especially in Dressage.
Teddy is a bay Gypsy Vanner X gelding born in 2012. He joined our equine staff in 2018 and has already won over our staff, volunteer, and clients’ hearts with his sweet and goofy personality- reminding us much of a big teddy bear. Teddy is already carrying a great portion of our therapy services and therapeutic riding programs.
Trevor is a 15.1hh chestnut quarter horse gelding born in 2006. Trevor joined our Charlotte location equine staff in 2018 and is already loved by staff and clients. He is known for his sweet face, gentle personality, and floppy lower lip. Trevor is Peter Pan and Howard’s best buddy and loves therapy as well as teaching therapeutic riding lessons. Trevor’s favorite thing in the world are trail rides, where he proves his braveness and steadiness.
Tucker is a 16hh Appendix x Quarter Horse approximately born in 2009 making him one of the youngest of our equine staff. Tucker is a very quiet but confident gelding that translates his confidence to all of his riders. Tucker is already well loved for his smooth gaits and loving personality. Tucker was used as a ranch hand mount and trail horse in his years before being purchased by Gabby and Kyle Truett and becoming a therapy horse. He is very willing and eager to continue his desensitizing training while serving clients. Tucker loves trail rides and being given snacks by his clients after their rides.
Willy is the little black pony that can do it all! Willy has competed extensively in Pony Club rallies, horse shows, and mounted games competitions before working at SHF. He’s won against much larger horses in jump rounds up to heights of 2’9”, which is much higher than his chest! Willy has brought numerous young riders up through the levels and is a fantastic babysitter. Because of his short height and experience, Willy is one of the favorites for Hippotherapy as well. Standing at 13.0 hands high, Willy is a 1997 Welsh A Pony gelding.
Zane is a cute grey Arab- Quarter Horse cross, known for his gentle personality. The 14.1hh gelding is a favorite in both Hippotherapy and riding lessons, loved for his great character and size. Born in 2001, Zane only became part of the Shining Hope Farms equine family a few years ago but is already essential to the program. Chamblee Simonsen generously donated Zane and his brother Riley, who lives at the SHF Mecklenburg location, to Shining Hope Farms.
Make your impact today
Your contribution of time or funds to Shining Hope Farms will make a direct difference in the life of a child or adult with disabilities.