HOPE Team: the Humans
Priscilla Lightsey, PT, DPT, MA, HPCS | Founder/CEO
Dr. Lightsey is a life-long horse enthusiast who has a passion for serving children with special needs. She worked at R.O.C.K. (Ride on Center for Kids) before moving to Beijing.
Her credentials include a Doctor of Physical Therapy, a Master of Arts in Special Education, Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist and PATH Int’l Certified Instructor. When not in Beijing, Dr. Lightsey works at ROCK and TAMU Courtney Cares Therapeutic Riding Program. In addition, she is an adjunct professor at Texas A & M University (TAMU), teaching an Introduction to Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies course.
Ms. Sun holds a degree in education, is bilingual in Chinese and English, and owned an English Language school in Shanghai. Originally a volunteer at HOPE, she became the HOPE Director of Operations and Programing in 2015. Ms. Sun has worked closely with Dr. Lightsey and Ms. Tournier to learn about therapeutic horsemanship and to refine her equestrian skills. In 2016 Ms. Sun participated in a Primary Equestrian Training course at Huijia Equestrian Club. In 2017, Ms. Sun spent time in Texas, U.S., at ROCK and TAMUS CC, to enhance her skills in therapeutic horsemanship, NGO management, and natural horsemanship. It is in large part due to Ms. Sun – her skills and hard work – that HOPE obtained our NGO status in 2017.
Ms. Tournier has over 30 years of experience in the equine industry, with expertise in: stable management, racing, training, and coaching. She has trained professional stable personnel, as well as non-professional riders. Mrs. Tournier has worked at 9 Dragon Hills Polo Club (Zhejiang) and the Shanghai Jockey Club as the Training Center Manger and Senior Instructor. Before joining the HOPE team in 2017, she had most recently served as Head Administrator for the European Federation of Thoroughbred Breeders Association in France. Ms. Tournier holds an Instructor Certification from RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association), has been a coach for the Special Olympics at the Shanghai Equestrian Center, and has worked at the Hong Kong Jockey Club RDA program. The HOPE team appreciates her unique combination of equestrian skills and therapeutic horsemanship experience.
Mr. Ma is from Qinghai province and has been a member of the HOPE team since the fall of 2017. He demonstrates natural skills with both horses and HOPE participants. Mr. Ma cares for the HOPE horses on a daily basis, acts a Horse Handler, and is training to be an RDA Certified Instructor.
More HOPE team members
From left to right: Alice Nevin, Luna Sun, Caitlin Turner, Priscilla Lightsey
Ms. Turner has been a committed and valuable HOPE volunteer member since 2013. She graciously shares her horse and RDA experience with HOPE with a smile as she assists with the orphans come to HOPE on a regular basis.
Dr. Niven served as the HOPE veterinarian, horse trainer, and riding instructor to children of varying abilities. Dr. Niven has returned to Australia but HOPE remains grateful for her many hours of service.
Zhao Yan Bo
Yan Bo remains a member of the HOPE team in China. After performing as Willem Dafoe’s riding double in the movie “The Great Wall”, Yan Bo is now filming a second movie.
HOPE Team: the Horses
Da Bao (English name, Li) is a 28-year-old Gotland pony, who came to China from Sweden many years ago. He is the oldest (and wisest) member of our herd. Without any bias whatsoever, we can say this wise fellow is the perfect pony for HOPE. Kind, cuddly, very patient, and relaxed, yet he has positive energy and good motion. He is a very experienced therapy pony contributes to his rider’s confidence.
Mu’er is a 10-year-old Chinese draft horse. She is a kind, big horse with an even bigger personality! She really would love to be… a “lap” horse, so we have now made it clear that since she is bigger than us, she must stick to her space. Nothing much scares Mu’er as her former job was a movie star! She was part of a team of horses that pulled a wagon in the Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe movie “The Great Wall”. She understands that one might do things slowly and, as a matter of fact, that is how she would choose to operate! She expresses herself clearly – which is delightful for all who interact with her.
Hei Shan (English name, Black Mountain) is a Chinese version of “Black Beauty”. A 14-year-old, he joined the herd in the middle of the 2017 summer camps and took on the job like a real trooper. He was very well trained as a school horse and has an exceptionally kind personality. He is a little shy, even cautious at times, but is desensitized and really takes care of our riders with special needs. In fact, he doesn’t mind being led from a wheelchair, and understands when being gentle is required. Hei Shan is pictured below during his training period.