Fort Hood artist completes project to benefit equine therapy center for veterans
By BRITTANY FHOLER
“Hero” the horse is forever connected to Fort Hood thanks to the Region Nine Arabian Horse Club, Arabian Horses for Humanity and artist Mackenzie Lima.
The Region Nine Club, which encompasses the four-state region of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma donated a Horses for Humanity statue to Fort Hood for the contest, in conjunction and with the support of the “The All Glory Project”, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that brings equine-assisted therapies to military veterans and their families.
The original plan was for the statue to be revealed during Fort Hood’s 4th of July festivities and for the statue to be displayed in front of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment’s Headquarters before ending up at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, but the statue wasn’t able to be revealed at the celebration or stay at 3rd Cav Headquarters. Instead, it was donated to ROCK (Ride On Center for Kids), a 501 (c)(3) in Georgetown which provides equine-assisted activities and therapies to children, adults, and veterans with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities.
Lima received $500 for art supplies and $1,000 upon completion of the project. Becky Nash, with Arabian Horses for Humanity, presented Lima with her check for $1,000 on July 3 in the Patton Room inside the 3rd Cavalry Regiment Headquarters, next to the finished horse.
Lima, an artist, decided to enter the contest at the urging of friends and family, and found out she won the first week of June.
“I was surprised. I was a little nervous,” Lima said. “I’ve done painting. Painting was my main background when I first started art, then I went on to pen drawings and then went on to colored pencils, that’s where I’m at now.”
Lima spent about a day priming the fiber glass sculpture, taking Bondo putty over some spots and then sanding the horse. She painted in layers, putting down a dappled gray base for the horse’s coat, before going in with an image of the American flag with three black silhouettes to represent a combat soldier, a Military Police Officer, and a kneeling soldier in front of a cross representing someone who has lost a comrade in war. On the other side, a soldier’s arm in their OCP uniform reaches out to touch a horse’s nose, representing the equine assisted therapy portion of the contest. Above this scene are horseshoes, representing the path veterans and their horses would go down.
Lima said she used a photo of her husband PFC Nick Lima’s arm in uniform to model the painted arm. Lima’s husband is with the 1st Cavalry Division and enlisted in 2018. Though they are new to the military life, Lima said this painting project brought out a lot of familiar aspects of the military and the sacrifices that families and soldiers go through.
On the horse going to ROCK, Lima said she was happy.
“You know, as much as I love art and as much as I love showing it off, the main objective is to show the sacrifice [of the soldier] and offer that type of help, which is equine therapy,” Lima said. “It can present the opportunity for military and other people in the service, or EMS, whoever has that type of job, that they have a source of therapy so I’m glad it’s representing that. I’d rather it represent that message than the painting itself, as much as I love it.”
Becky Nash, with Arabian Horses for Humanity, said that the horse looked just like a real Arabian horse, with the eyes and the coat pattern.
Retired CSM Harvey Reed, executive director of the 3rd Cavalry Association, helped Lima find a location to paint the horse, with Lima using the Patton Room.
“It means a lot to me for her to come in here and paint it with a patriotic theme, and for the 3rd Cavalry having a horse, that’s what we grew up with,” Reed said. “I just love the way she did it. It looks so natural, and I wouldn’t have picked anybody else to paint this horse.”
Reed said he wished the horse could stay at the 3rd Cavalry Regiment Headquarters, next to the horse statue located at the front entrance.
“I’m so glad we could give her the space to do it,” Reed said, adding that Lima was originally going to paint the horse in her carport.
“I just love it,” Reed said. “It’s Cavalry.”
“Hero” makes 17 Arabian Horses for Humanity statues now that have brought attention to different charities.