Hope & Her Horse, Diablo

What lead to the formation of this group?

Hope Hudson, who is now 21 years old, suffers from the rare connective tissue disorder Hajdu-Cheney syndrome, which causes neck pain, headaches, slurred speech and vision problems. She has had numerous surgeries which often left her wheel-chair bound. Her inspiration, determination, love and passion for horses, led us to the decision to name the organization, “The Hope Therapeutic Horsemanship Center” in her honor.

Hope Hudson & Diablo 2021

Our Name Sake

Like many little girls, Hope has always had a passion for horses. When asked why she loves horses she stated, “I love horses because they are majestic and beautiful animals with free spirits. They are calming to watch and you can feel their emotions when you pet them.” She collects Breyer horses, draws pictures of horses, and watches horse races on TV and dreams of one day being a jockey. Hope is a beautiful girl inside and out. Her smile and laughter are contagious. You would never know she has had a few challenges in her life. She was born blind in her right eye and at 10 months old she had heart surgery for a heart defect. In 2011 she was diagnosed with Hajdu-Cheney Syndrome, a rare connective tissue disorder. The connective tissue is a strong fibrous tissue that supports and joins other body tissues and parts. The ailment can lead to abnormal development of bones and joints, as well as a decrease in bone mass and changes in the skull and jawbone. Her prognosis all depends on her body; there is no cure for HCS so doctors continue to treat her symptoms.

In 2012, when given a chance for a wish to come true thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Kentucky Derby was a natural destination for Hope. While there, Hope and her family befriended horse trainer Doug O’Neill and his team whose colt “I’ll Have Another” ended up winning the Derby. Anyone who has watched a horse race knows that sometimes, against all odds, out comes a winner!

Hope has gone through numerous surgeries over the years for her symptoms. In 2009 she had a corrective lens implanted. Other surgeries were performed to relieve the pain from her symptoms not knowing if they would guarantee success. She is often left wheel-chair bound. She has spells when she loses feeling in her limbs for hours at a time. Although she may feel pain, she never shows it. In 2013 her classmates decided to help Hope with another dream of hers. They decided to get Hope her very own horse and started “A Horse for Hope” campaign.

As her name implies…. “Hope” is what she gives us and we are eternally grateful.

When the World says give up, Hope whispers, try it one more time.

The Journey

For I know the plans I have for you… plans to give you hope and a future.

Every character trait out their finds its way into the horsemanship experience. A horse can teach a girl courage, a boy patience. It can let someone who is challenged experience something they may have never dreamed of in their lifetime. Rick and Claire Schemel throughout their years of raising, praising and loving horses. Rick and Claire have both enjoyed working with people and serving others unselfishly. In 2012 the Schemel’s built the outdoor Los Amigos Arena for the community and began an equestrian 4-H Club. Helping others become better riders and owners of horses has always been very rewarding to them. They have both enjoyed and appreciated this great noble animal all of their lives and sharing their knowledge with others is part of their legacy. Because of their continuous generosity, people of all ages, of all abilities, now have a chance to learn, grow and heal, because of them; the most knowledgeable horseman and woman around. In 2013, Rick & Claire Schemel, family and friends, formed the Hope Therapeutic Horsemanship Center, Inc.

We feel very blessed to have the opportunity to serve others. Our mission is to make people happy through horses. Combining the contentment and abilities of one of God’s noble creatures– the horse– with someone who may never have had the opportunity to experience it before is the greatest work of life.

Rick & Claire Schemel

Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where these is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring Hope.

St. Francis of Assisi