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A Story of Hope from the Color Breed Congress

Hope, a small word yet significant symbol. Hope is the affectionate barn name of “Still Goin Steady” owned by John and Cindy Hicks of Tontitown, Arkansas. John and Cindy, who have been married 39 years, began showing when Cindy was 14, John 19.

“John would pick me up and haul my horse to shows while my parents followed behind. He would also offer to let me show his horse in western pleasure,” Cindy told us.

It wasn’t too many years later the couple said, “I do” and began their commitment of going steady for a lifetime.

John and Cindy continue to share their love for each other and for horses. Cindy’s beloved show horse, now 33 is retired and Cindy has been on the quest of searching for a new partner that could take his place. Not too long ago, she came across an ad placed by a local veterinarian in Springfield, Missouri of a buckskin filly by Dun Goin Steady, owned by Gena Loper of Duns N Roses Ranch.

wm.mailanyone.netCindy showed the ad to John, who wasn’t convinced the filly was worth looking at, as she was a late baby, and a bit scrawny looking in her pasture clothing. She had also suffered a bite wound from her dam, a maiden mare by Kat Man Zip. John teased saying, “See, even her mother isn’t so sure about her.”

Cindy fell in love at first sight however and continued to show John the filly’s picture every day for a week, remarking, “Look how cute she is!”

John’s soft heart for Cindy eventually caved despite his persistence that they did not need a baby. Cindy’s heart skipped with excitement, she knew she had John hook line and sinker. They contacted the owner and went to see the filly the following Saturday.

wm-2.mailanyone.netAfter watching her move, John looked at Cindy and smiled, “Happy Anniversary sweetheart, write a check.”

So they took their new filly home, and hope began in Cindy’s heart for her new equine partner. They would show her in longe line at the ABRA World Show and Color Breed Congress.

The spark of hope was suppressed shortly before the world show however, and things suddenly became more sentimental. John suffered a stroke in July, just weeks prior to the world show.

John was hospitalized, and Cindy’s hope flickered. However, prayers were answered, and the injury was minimal.John was released from the hospital yet given his circumstances as well as the nature of his job, he was instructed to take a full year leave of absence in order to allow healing.

John and Cindy immediately found “Hope” to be a symbol of healing for John. John began spending his time off with Cindy and their new sweet filly, Hope.

Hope was shown at the ABRA World Show under the guidance of Tom Williams, receiving third place in the open longe line class. John was able to show her in the amateur division, placing third as well.

wm-4.mailanyone.netAlthough it has put a strain on their budget with John unable to work for a year, Cindy, who works at a medical center in Siloam Springs, AR, refused to give up hope of her beloved new partner receiving a championship. So she began to encourage John to prepare her filly to show longe line at the Color Breed Congress.

John did, and Hope won, fulfilling a dream the couple has shared together for several years. John showed “Still Goin Steady” in the ABRA and NSBA Open Yearling Longe Line at the Color Breed Congress, receiving the first NSBA trophy they have dreamed for many years to attain. Their sweet filly by Dun Goin Steady continues to be a symbol of Hope for healing as well as enjoyment in their passion.

Congratulations to a wonderful couple “Still Goin Steady” symbolic to many for their love for each other and for others.

Photo © Jeff Kirkbride