Visiting Image of Hope Ranch has always been a joy for Norman. In recent months, it’s become a direct road to a treasured part of his past.
About every two weeks, Easterseals Arc staff member Kelly Corbin takes Norman to the ranch in DeKalb County. Now each visit includes spending time with Cheyenne, a mini horse from the family farm where he grew up and lived for decades.
When Norman approaches her stall, Cheyenne cranes her neck to get closer to him and chuffs in greeting. Norman smiles broadly.
“Are you talking?” he asks Cheyenne.
Corbin, who grew up riding and caring for horses, said that Cheyenne has a reputation for stubbornness and sassiness at Image of Hope, but that doesn’t come between her and Norman. He takes her out for a slow, roaming graze around the ranch, murmuring quietly to her as they go.
Alisha Shank, founder and CEO of Image of Hope Ranch, said Donna Crow, one of Norman’s sisters, got Cheyenne’s relocation to the ranch rolling earlier this year when Crow explained the story behind Cheyenne. Shank then got in touch with another of Norman’s sisters who had Cheyenne at her place.
“We just worked it out that Cheyenne could come and live at Image of Hope so that Norman could spend time with her,” Shank said.
It’s not a deep sacrifice for the ranch, and the joy Norman shows is a great dividend for a good deed.
“It really cost very little to keep Cheyenne here. Including feed, hay, supplements, farrier, deworming, and vaccinations it’s around $70 per month. … It is always a joy to see his smiles here,” she said.