Hopeful Hearts Horse Rescue and Sanctuary was co-founded by Retha Rooker and her daughter Shenia Pellum. Them, along with Shenia's husband Scott, and Shenia's 4 children work every day to make every horse or pony at Hopeful Hearts feel loved and cared for in every way!
Hopeful Hearts Horse Rescue is located in Lebanon, TN, in Smith and Wilson Counties.
A Note From Shenia:
Rescuing and saving horses has been a lifelong passion and dream for both myself and my mom. I am just so thankful that God has given us the ability to finally set out on this mission, and glad that it can also be a family affair, with all of the kids participating right along side volunteers and other family and friends. I can't wait until we get everything going that we would like to do, and pray that we can bring awareness and education to the forefront, while encouraging a love of horses and ponies for our young generation, and providing a better life through forever homes for those who grace the grounds of Hopeful Hearts. With your help, all of this is possible! ~ Shenia
Our Board of Directors and Rescue Team
My love for horses started on my aunt and uncles 400 acre farm when I was a kid. Being the one who was always scaring the beejeebies out of my family for getting on every horse they told me not to. That was the beginning of my love for these majestic animals. I have been in the Insurance Industry as a commercial insurance agent and service rep for over 25 years and my dream has always been to help horses. I am currently an Account Manager at Powell and Meadows Insurance in Lebanon, TN. At my age, I thought this dream of mine would never come true. Thankfully my daughter shares the same passion for horses as I do, and the opportunity arose where we could set out to do what I had always dreamed of doing. This was the birth of Hopeful Hearts Horse Rescue and Sanctuary. Today we are blessed to have worked with so many neglected, abused, and abandoned horses and look forward to many many years to come! Saving 1 horse won't change the world, but it can change the world for that horse. We are excited to see what the future holds, to watch God open the doors to allow us to foster an organization that truly makes a difference in the lives of horses and in the lives of our communities and people in them. Thank you for joining us in this journey. Pray for us, for the rescue, and for all the horses and volunteers, that God will continue to lead us down the roads HE wants us to take. ~ Retha
Co-Founder, Director & Vice President
I grew up loving horses, and always dreaming of being involved with them everyday. My first experiences came with Girl Scouts, and then eventually YMCA Summer Camps. It was not until I reached adulthood that I was finally able to be more involved with horses. After settling down and starting a family, I was able to start volunteering at local stable that also had some rescue efforts, but was a very small private operation. My first born son, Lagan, absolutely loved the horses, so I decided that it was time to get one of our own. I set out to find the perfect one, and I did on June 12, 2004. Unfortunately that evening after returning from visiting with "Brown Betty," and sharing the news with Lagan that mommy had bought our first horse just for him, Lagan had a severe asthma attack in his sleep and died at the young age of 2. Brown Betty never made it to us, as it was just not possible with losing my child to be able to bring her home. That night he begged me to take him to ride her, I explained it was raining and that we would be bringing her home in a few days and he could ride her all he wanted. Had I known that night was his last, we would have rode all night long. Fast forward a little while, and we came upon a Mustang named Daisy. My second son, around a year old at this time loved horses too, so we decided to bring her home. Daisy brought with her a special unexpected package about 6 months later, a little colt we named Shadow. As life happened, my time with horses was put on hold, and honestly I thought my dream of rescuing and working with horses was over. Then in 2018 everything changed, circumstances had brought the perfect little horse property up just down the road and so my mom bought it and Hopeful Hearts was born. I am a homeschooling mother of 4, and a mom. My background is in Business management, marketing and development. Throughout my life I have worked and volunteered with many nonprofits and causes, and was excited to begin the journey creating our own.
I always say we rescue horses and they rescue people. Horses rescue me everyday, I owe it back to them to rescue them when in need. I know just how much horses can do for people and the community. I have seen them give Veterans, children, and adults alike a purpose in life, a joy they never had, healing from traumas they experienced, and so many things. I love working with young people, teaching them, and watching the love and passion for horses grow right along work ethic, and life skills that time on a farm can bring. I love watching the fear escape from an adults eyes , a love grow in their hearts, an emotional healing, a purpose grow in their lives. We want to continue growing these opportunities to not only help horses but to help our neighbors, our community, and every one who can benefit from the love and connection a horse can give. Horses and Homeschool is my life, my every day and to me I just can't think of anything better.
53. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Joined the United States Army at 18 and served 22 years. I have always loved horses and rode whenever I could find stables wherever I was stationed. I believe if you domesticate an animal and take them in as pets, then you accept the responsibility as a parent would a child. They are totally dependent on you for there health, happiness and survival. Too many people love the idea of owning a horse but don’t realize the work and expense that goes along with it. I stumbled on to Hopeful Hearts and they have given me the chance to help take in horses that people have given up on or had to surrender due to the inability to take care of them. It is a tremendous feeling to bond with such a majestic animal, especially when they have lost all trust in humans and see their personalities turn from bleak and scared to happy and contentment and they become a unconditional friend for life. Horses were instrumental in the development of this country and served us well and we owe them a lot.
Board Member, Training Coordinator, Youth Riding Team
I am Donna Gibbs and I have lived in Smith County my whole life. I got my first horse at age 14. She was an abused horse and taught me how to be a horse owner. We we're best friends and partners till she passed. I've owned several horses since but she was my first true love. In the 8th grade I won a speech contest on How to train horses.
I read Everything on how the Cherokees trained horses. I put that into effect when I bought my second horse. I was 16, he was a colt. I was riding him within a couple of months working with him and I was Addicted!
I have trained ( broke) horses ever since. It's an amazing feeling to connect with a new horse.
As an adult I began training in the Parelli program. I enjoyed every second of it and made wonderful new friends.
Several years back I took in horses and trained them and gave them to new homes. It didn't last long as I realized I needed to eat! I have missed playing with horses. Mine are all trained.... My addiction for new has been renewed with Hopeful Hearts!
Working with a wild horse is amazing. Watching the fear in their eyes slowly disappear is very humbling.
I have taught Tae Kwon Do and presently am a Corrections Officer with Smith County Sheriff's Office.
I am looking forward to helping as many horses as the good Lord allows me to at Hopeful Hearts. My new family.... Mine and Poofs!
Bio Coming soon
Youth Special Programs & Training Team
Bio Coming Soon.