WEATHERFORD Thanks to horses like Handsome and Memphis, Missy Odle escaped 14 years of abuse.

But she didn't walk out on that relationship the same person.

Somewhere along the line, I lost who I was, she said. I didn't talk much. I was scared and very suspicious of everybody, and just non-trusting.

That's where Freedom Horses comes in. The program was created for women who are victims of abuse in Parker County.

Odle says these stables re-invented her world for the better.

Your troubles melt away, she said. Everything that is bothering you outside of this stable is gone.

Nationally recognized horse enthusiast Tammy Scronce says women as young as 16 come here to find themselves again. And while she does the talking, she believes the horses do all the work.

A horse wouldn't lie to you, Scronce explained. If a horse is sad or a horse is scared, a horse will show you it's sad or scared, and I think the women appreciate the honesty that the horse brings.

There is definitely a spiritual connection between the horse and you, Odle added. They build you up so high and make you feel so good, because this is a 1,200-pound animal, and I only weigh less than 200 pounds, and I can make him do what I want him to do.

It's that sense of control in life, again, that builds these women back up no matter what story brought her here.

It doesn't matter where we come from, it's just that we're here for one purpose, and that's to enjoy these horses and gain courage and confidence from that, Scronce said.

And for Odle, her apparent joy speaks for her progress.

I'm back to who I was, she said.

Women who wish to take part in the Freedom Horses program must first be referred by Freedom House of Parker County, an organization that helps abused women. Call Freedom House at 817-596-8922 for more information.


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