A letter from our founder

Dear Friend,

It is my honor to partner with God and our community in developing an equine therapy ranch to provide healing, safety, and connection for survivors of sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking. Welcome and thank you for taking the time to stop by and learn a little more about us!

It is no secret that developing a mustang horse ranch for therapy from the ground up is an audacious goal. But that is part of what's great about The Wild Hope Equine Center for Healing! You see, we live in a world where we're constantly told we're not good enough. And our dreams suffer because of it. The Wild Hope has a unique opportunity to make dreams a reality! And we invite you to join us!!

I used to believe the lies I was told about who I was; not smart

enough, not good enough, not qualified, too thin, too fat, too sick, not Godly enough, I'm a leach and a burden, I don't deserve good things, etc. 



Ironically, the very trauma I experienced in my own life is what's led me to believe WE CAN DO ANYTHING if we just never give up. I know this because I came from a very dark, desperate, and hopeless place to a life of wonder and thriving in all God intended for me to be. It didn't happen overnight. But IT HAPPENED. Now I'm able to share with others real hope that is not fake or void. That doesn't mean life is perfect. But is sure is full of meaning and purpose!



It takes a wild, fearless, and persistent hope to overcome the horrors of our world. But we were made to be overcomers and RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE, no matter what you've been through.

I can say this with confidence because God and a few close friends held onto hope for me for a very long time. I believed hope was a trick; a sick joke God was playing on me. I would long for something better just to be let down and crushed with disappointment. But I was viewing hope through the lens of my trauma and pain, not it's true source. We all have access to this same wild hope for ourselves and for others if we are humbly willing to accept and receive it and the responsibility it carries. Having hope for the hopeless is no easy task. But it is more rewarding than anything else in this life. I'm now thriving with an unspeakable joy and peace. It wasn't always that way, however.

But No More


The Wild Hope was created to hold onto hope for others until they are able to grab ahold of hope for themselves


Others had wild hope for me

... when my ravished body was dying from battling eating disorders for more than 2 decades.

... when I would dissociate and forget where I was or how I got places.

... when I tried to kill myself, over and over and over again.

... through multiple psychiatric hospital stays.

... when I was homeless.

... when I pushed them all away and so desperately wanted to be alone and die.

... through major depression, anxiety attacks, self-harm behaviors, fits of rage, nightmares, and flashbacks.

... through gallons and gallons of tears and heartbreak.

And then, somehow, one day, I began grabbing ahold of hope for myself.

I cannot honestly say I remember that moment. I think it was  kind of like a hot potato. I'd grab ahold of it just to toss it back because I was too frightened of being burned. But slowly I recognized that the potato was there to nourish me, not hurt me.  Now I have my own garden full of potatoes that I get to share with you! (I hadn't intended to talk about potatoes when I sat down to write, but, here we are!)

I carry this same wild hope that we will persevere and fund our Pilot Program, then one day have a thriving ranch of hope, healing and freedom! This is your personal invitation to join us in this fight for healing! Will you carry wild hope for a survivor of sex trafficking? What does that look like for you? If your answer is "yes", please send me a note and tell me about yourself and ways you would like to help. We cannot do this in a bubble. It'll take our community uniting to make a lasting change in other's lives.

Thank you for reading a piece of my story. Now I want to know your's. We all have a story to tell, so please tell it! I will personally read it myself! I look forward to hearing from you!

With Wild Hope,


Vanessa Schmidt

Clayton Young


Our Leadership

Fiona McInally

Stephaney Gipson

Toni McKinley

Toni, aka. Warrior Princess,  is an experienced trauma counselor working with survivors of sex trafficking. She has trained staff with the Department of Family and Protective Services and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in trauma-informed care and an understanding of what is going on in the mind of a trafficked adolescent. Along with being a counselor, speaker, and trainer, Toni has testified as an expert witness in a trafficking case, serves on two anti-trafficking boards and is the founder of the Survivor Sisters Leadership Program, which employs survivors of trafficking to mentor incarcerated victims.


Toni is a mom of 4 children. Her experience comes not only from her education and certifications in the field but also as a survivor of child trafficking herself. In 2017 she received the acclaimed Hero's Award for her efforts in fighting sex trafficking.

Gabby Remole


Gabby earned her MSSW from The University of Texas at Austin. She is certified as both a clinician and equine professional in the trauma-focused equine assisted psychotherapy model, Natural Lifemanship. She is also a trainer for the model. She is trained, and pursuing certification, in EMDR.  She has been practicing TF-EAP since 2013 and has had extensive experience in play, art and nature therapy. She has over a decade of experience working as an adoption caseworker.


Gabby lives in Illinois with her husband, twin boys, 2 dogs, 3 cats, and horse, Rainbow. She feels blessed to have been raised around horses and loves that she is able to incorporate her connection with, and deep respect for, horses in her work.

Kyle Miller


Kyle is the son of missionaries and grew up in four Asian countries and the US. He holds a BA and two masters’ degrees in counseling from the University of Texas at Austin and is an LPC-S and LMFT-S in his 35th year of professional counseling. Kyle counsels trafficking survivors live, via SKYPE, as well as in-country and has traveled to 16 countries to provide trauma counseling and training to workers and counseling for sex trafficking, genocide, and terrorism survivors using the Beatitude Trauma Model based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:1-16.  He is involved in starting and supporting trafficking recovery homes in the US, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Kyle recently completed his PhD in counseling psychology from SWBTS in Fort Worth, Texas with his dissertation, "The Healing-Discipleship of Jesus Christ in Matthew: Post-Traumatic Growth through Biblical Trauma Counseling for Female Sex Trafficking Survivors.”

Our Advisory Council

©2020 The Wild Hope Equine Center for Healing. All rights reserved.  
The Wild Hope Equine Center for Healing is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit community care organization.

EIN # 82-3769330