Kelly King, co-founder of Flames to Hope Equine Assisted Services, has a track record of hosting unique events with her mini horses, while having a bit of fun.
King's latest brainchild is a Where's Reba event throughout this month. People are invited to visit local businesses in Noble, Norman, Oklahoma City, Maysville and Stillwater to take a selfie with a poster of Reba, a 4-year-old mini horse at the farm.
Posting a selfie with Reba on Facebook and tagging Flames to Hope with #Where's Reba will enter shutterbugs into a contest to win cash prizes to be announced Aug. 31. One entry per person per location.
Because Flames to Hope is 100% donor funded, the nonprofit relies solely on contributions to do its work. Past fundraising events have included a baby pool and baby shower for a new mini born on the farm and a Minis Got Talent obstacle course event, to name a few.
"We like all of the activities we do to be fun," King said, "and this is a way for us to give back to the businesses that support us. They're helping us by giving a donation to be included in the Where's Reba event."
Amanda Hammonds, Flames to Hope volunteer and owner of All Around Tattoo at 1430 W. Lindsey St. in Norman, said she was all about joining the fun with the Where's Reba event.
"We have some miniature horses ourselves that we adopted from Flames to Hope," Hammomds said. "They've been a real blessing to my kids. They have grown up with them and taken care of them. We do anything to show Flames to Hope our appreciation in any way we're capable of."
Sue Mize, owner of Confidence Connection Horsemanship, said she will have a Reba sign on hand for people to take selfies with when they visit her establishment.
Confidence Connection, 23263 E. County Road 1520 in Maysville, is, as Mize put it, "the first step in people's horsemanship journey," where they learn to be around horses, handle and ride them, all while building interspecies relationships and bonds. She trains not only horses but people, too. Mize said she is happy to support Flames to Hope.
"I support every thing they do," Mize said. "One, I'm a veteran, and two, I'm a horse lover. What they do in rescuing horses and giving back to the community is something I want to participate in 100%."
Flames to Hope "inadvertently became a rescue" for miniature horses, King said. Now a nonprofit, King takes her mini horses to visit veterans' hospitals, schools and nursing homes and provides horse therapy and tactical team building, team building and leadership workshops.
Children can build literary skills by reading to minis, and the tiny horses help people navigate life and work with licensed therapists to provide equine-assisted psycho-therapy. King said this form of therapy can help those who have not responded to traditional therapy.
The Where's Reba event will culminate at a ribbon cutting at 6 p.m. Aug. 31 at Flames to Hope, where participants will celebrate the grand opening of handi-capable facilities on the farm. The person submitting the most selfies with Reba at the largest number of venues will be named at the ribbon cutting and must be present to win.
"We are officially open for nursing homes and disabled folks," King said of the new restroom facilities built with the help of Girl Scout Troop No. 410 and the support of several businesses. "It will be a very special occasion."
Businesses participating in the Where's Reba event include Twelve Corners Café at 15551 E Etowah Road, Collins Computer Repair at 103 S. Main St. and Chickawolf Petting Farm at 15700 Viking Road in Noble. Twisted Oak Homestead and Foster Family Farm and Homestead can be found at the Noble Farmers Market on Saturdays at 304. S. Main Highway 77.
Participating businesses in Norman include Sandalwood & Sage, 322 E Main St.; Bigfoot Creative, 315 E. Main St.; Donate a Miracle, 315 E. Alameda St.; and All Around Tattoo, 1430 W. Lindsey St.
Oklahoma City vendors include The Rusty Chandelier Marketplace, 1206 S. Agnew Ave., and PR Food Mark (Valero) at 10000 SE 29th St. Confidence Connection Horsemanship, 23263 E. County Road 1520, is in Maysville.
King invited the public to watch Flames to Hope's Facebook page for additional participating businesses. To place a poster at a business, contact King at 924-4380, or send a private message through Facebook. For more information or to donate, call King or visit facebook.com/flamestohope or flamestohope.org.