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Mrs. Lucille Fancey, now 91, is the backbone and founder of the educationally based therapeutic riding program. She still works teaches riding lessons one night a week. Her worn jeans and lined face are crowned by gray hair that she keeps swept back under a colorful scarf. As she glances at the students in a therapy class, the melodious laughter of a little child normally confined to a wheelchair, echoes through the air and brings a smile to her face. Dillard Drew hollers a “hello Mrs. F” to her from atop his horse Shorty. These sights and sounds are the fulfillment of a dream born in her heart years ago and the result of God’s ability to bring about His plans.Mrs. Fancey known to all as “Mrs. F”, was born in a non-horse family. At age 3 her mother found her out in the street standing under the ice wagon draft horse petting him. She pursued her love of horses and as a teen cleaned stalls to be able to ride. When she married and lived in Texas, she raised 500 chickens, Dalmatian show dogs, cattle and horses as well as chinchillas and 2 girls. In her spare time she taught Sunday school and headed a girl scout troop for 10 years. Never content to do things half way, her scout troop helped build a glider air plane and assisted in hosting a national glider competition. One of her scouts was disabled, but she helped her keep up with the others. Mrs. F is also a writer of short stories and poetry as well as doing illustrations.Her main love continued to be horses as she trained and showed hunter-jumpers with her family. She hosted multi-state combined training riding events on her land and has been Master of the Lost Hound Fox Hunt for 32 years. Left to support herself 38 years ago she began to teach English riding and jumping. For years she kept files on information about a new field of therapeutic riding for the disabled. In the early 1970�s one of her riding students was paralyzed in a car wreck and her dream began to take shape now faced with a need. When her student returned from rehab Mrs. F worked with her to regain abilities and she eventually rode independently in a saddle at a walk and trot. This was another step toward God’s plan to create Coffee Creek Riding Center.Mrs. F schedule was too busy to fit in another item so in 1976 she shared her interest with her daughter Joy (who had a riding , medical and teaching background). Now God had the pieces of the puzzle on the table and began fitting them together. In April of 1977 a newspaper article about the possibility of a center resulted in 10 students and 27 volunteers and suddenly Coffee Creek Riding Center for the Handicapped was born. In May TV news coverage resulted in 36 students for the summer program. Then in August a front page newspaper article brought interest from the special education classes. By September, only six months after beginning, the center was operating fulltime with 50 students.With Jesus at the controls, Mrs. Fancey’s dream had become a reality very quickly and continued to grow, expand. Eventually the Coffee Creek was able to build an indoor arena and classrooms. Today the center serves 170 students free of charge. The effects of Mrs. F’s life are like a stone dropped in a pond, making ripples that move in ever outward circles touching lives. Not only have many students benefited, but several volunteers have chosen careers in medical or special education fields and her grandson is a family medicine doctor. Mrs. F. believes that Life is best lived giving yourself away for others. She has made many personal sacrifices over the past quarter of a century and lives on meager means to ensure that others may enjoy and benefit from the riding program. She is an incredible lady with a totally indominatable spirit and a heart that trusts in God.
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