Pages Navigation Menu

All About Flash, a Rescue Horse

The story behind the true story of a Rescue Horse named Flash.


Near the end of the outdoor musical, the stage lights dimmed as shooting streams of choreographed water sprays glisten in red, white and blue spotlights. A lone rider on a beautiful blood bay horse emerged from the shadows of mesquite trees. The rider, her horse and the American flag she held were silhouetted against the backdrop of the spraying water and the lighted canyon walls.  Amidst the lights and deafening music, she guided the horse to center stage during the tribute to our country’s flag.

That finale always takes my breath away, no matter how many times I’ve seen it. My son said “That’s Ms. Shippy.” I squinted and looked closer at the riders’ face. He was right. It was Ms. Shippy, his elementary school music teacher. I overheard one of the audience members in front of me say, “That horse has to be drugged. He wouldn’t stand that still.” I didn’t believe that for one second, but I had to know how a music teacher finds herself sitting astride a horse at center stage in the local outdoor drama.


Christie and I finally found time several months later to sit down at The Palace Coffee Shop in Canyon, Texas. I wanted to know all about her summer. Obviously, this busy mother of four doesn’t slow down when school lets out. My intention was to write a feature article about her for a magazine.

The Palace Coffee, Canyon, Texas

Palace Coffee Company, located in an historic building on the town square in Canyon, Texas, where the idea hit me that Flash needed his own picture book.

Not only does she ride and carry the flags during the summer show, she also owns and trains the animals under her care. Her dedication and pride in her horses was evident from the very beginning of our conversation. These horses are not drugged. They are trained to be performers. Christie went into great detail about what she does. I have never heard a better explanation. The key word is patience, and I am amazed at what she has accomplished with these animals.


Christie’s dream is to introduce horses to the people who have never seen a horse before in their life through an equine outreach program. She is dedicated to promoting the western lifestyle, a culture she understands extremely well. She’s been riding, taking lessons, and learning from horses her whole life.


One of her proudest accomplishments is training a strong-willed Tennessee Walker called Flash. When I first met this rescue horse from Dove Creek Ranch and Equine Sanctuary, he rolled his eyes back and raised that proud head, staring at me with caution. His greatest fear was noise, not a good thing when he’d be facing the sounds of fireworks, spraying streams of water, and a noisy audience. Christie loved his intelligence and she had great plans for Flash. She knew he would be popular member of her equine outreach. As Christie told me about her rescue horse, Flash, and the methods she had used to train him, I knew his story needed to be told. My magazine article had just turned into a picture book.


The double-registered Tennessee Walker called Flash and Christie, his owner/trainer.

Meet the Creative Team behind the Books

Flash stories are a reality and I have help from some great creatives! We have turned Flash’s story into a series of photo-illustrated picture books as part of my new RESCUE ANIMAL SERIES. The FLASH books feature vivid, professional photographs by Lacy Johnston Photography. We are so lucky to have Lacy working with us. I wanted readers to see the real Flash rather than an artist’s illustrated interpretation. Christie provides her editing skills to the books to make certain the words are true and accurate to show you Flash’s personality and her training methods.

Story research about Flash brought me, along with Lacy and Katie, to Dove Creek Ranch. Mr. Castillo was our guide.

Story research about Flash brought me, along with Lacy and Katie, to Dove Creek Ranch. Mr. Castillo was our guide.

Graphic designer Meghan Hail lends her talent to book cover design. Katie Schulte is our office manager for the cow/calf operation, and willingly stepped up to become my right hand for the Flash project too, offering expertise with promo materials, layout design and technical support (she truly is a computer whiz.) Many thanks as well to my Wordsmith Six writers critique group who shaped the words into something tangible; Dee, Craig, Barbara, Adam, and Joe. (You can find out more about these writers at our blog WordsmithSix) Much thanks to my wonderful friend, Molly, who helps polish the final results into a typo free story.

Lacy is introduced to several of the Dove Creek Ranch residents.

Lacy is introduced to several of the Dove Creek residents.

Flash’s story soon turned into one, then two books, and there are more in the works. Every time I’m around that horse he inspires me with a new story idea. There are definitely more eBooks and print books in the future, so stay tuned. In the meantime, you can keep updated on all things FLASH by signing up for my FREE eNewsletter. Sign up in the box to the right of this blog post.


Flash always stands as still as a statue for Lacy, and I think you’ll agree that the results are exceptional!

The Rescue Animal Series would not exist were it not for Christie Shippy’s love and passion for training animals to reach their true potential, and for taking the time to tell me about her work. Thank you Christie!

This picture makes me smile. The first photo shoot with Lacy, Christie and Flash. We knew he was going to make a great picture book!

The first photo shoot with Lacy, Christie and Flash. These two inspired me that day. We knew FLASH would be a star. I can’t help but smile when I see this picture.

Read FLASH NOW click here Amazon Kindle.


FLASH – Book 2 Rescue Animal Series

The true story of a registered Tennessee Walker whose family moves and is unable to take him with them. His whole world is turned topsy-turvy. The now homeless horse moves to Dove Creek Ranch and Equine Sanctuary. Filled with vibrantly colored photographs, this picture book is the true story about a horse who is given a second chance to become extraordinary.

FLASH & CHRISTIE – Book 3 Rescue Animal Series

In the second story about the Tennessee Walking horse named Flash, and Book 3 of the Rescue Animal Series, the beautiful spotted horse is adopted and moves to live with Christie. Realizing he has great potential, Christie tirelessly works with the willful horse to overcome his greatest fear: noise. Through the long and patient process, horse and trainer form an unbreakable bond.

FLASH AND FRIENDS – Book 4 Rescue Animal Series

Available December 1! Want to know more about Flash, the true story of a rescue horse with attitude? Now you can! Flash shares details about his life and work in this very personal scrapbook. Find out where he lives, meet his corral mates,and follow him along as he works in Christie’s outreach program.

Flash is on Instagram!

You can follow him here

Natalie Cline Bright is a blogger and author of the fun, historical western TROUBLE IN TEXAS series for middle grades, the RESCUE ANIMAL eBook series, and is currently working on an action-packed novel for young adults, WOLF’S WAR. Read about Natalie’s grandmother and her cherry salad recipe, recently selected for “THE WESTERN WRITERS OF AMERICA COOKBOOK: Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom” (TwoDot Publishing, June 2017).