The Humans

Meet the Staff at New Hope Horse Shelter!

Darci – Resident Volunteer Manager at New Hope Horse Shelter & Founder/President of Double HP

Greg – Resident Volunteer Manager of New Hope Horse Shelter
Also known as the "Dirt Guy," the "Tractor Guy," and the "Hay Guy."

Mickie – Secretary/Treasurer of Double HP

Heidi – Senior Chore Helper & Vice President of Double HP
Heidi was born in Baltic, South Dakota and raised in Sioux Falls. She first started volunteering at New Hope Horse Shelter in May 2007. Over the years, she has put in hundreds of volunteer hours when Double HP was doing a lot of starvation-case rescues. She continues to volunteer and donate to the shelter in addition to being a part-time employee. Heidi is also a Vet Tech at Heather Ridge Pet Hospital. She has a 26-year-old son named Jordan and she currently lives in Baltic with her array of dogs – Sam, L.B., and Zion – and a cockatiel named Squeeker. As a child, she had a couple of horses herself – Bud and Tiqo. Heidi loves the horses at NHHS and says they are like her children. Through working with Double HP, she has learned that some people are unbelievably cruel and that every animal has potential and deserves to be treated well. She dreams of one day being able to take a few days off from all her jobs to spend time with her family and go camping, as she has been working 7 days a week for many years.

“When I’m at the barn, it’s not only a sanctuary for them, but for me also.” - Heidi

Sarah – Intern & Chore Helper
Sarah was born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She graduated early from Roosevelt High School last year and is currently a Livestock Management & Production student at Lake Area Tech in Watertown. She came to the shelter in March 2020 to fulfill her college internship and has become a great chore helper. Before joining NHHS, Sarah volunteered for many years at HorsePower, which is also home to her three horses Diesel, Doc, and Uno. She also has an Australian Shepherd named Skye, a Bernese Mountain dog named JJ, and a cat named Roxie. In addition to helping with chores, Sarah has been learning a lot about Parelli and Reining. One day, Sarah hopes to open her own business as a Farrier.

“[One of my favorite things about horses is] how much you can learn from them. They can teach you a lot.” - Sarah

Kyrstin – Assistant Barn Manager & Community Coordinator 
Chirau - Volunteer
Kyrstin was born on Ellsworth Air Force Base and raised in Crooks, South Dakota with one younger sister. Growing up, she had three Quarter Horses: Mac, Angel, and Lou. She graduated from Tri-Valley High School in 2010, got married in 2012, and spent a couple of years at SDSU before moving to the west coast to earn an associate's degree in Film. After several years working in the film and television industry, they returned to SD. Kyrstin and her husband Chirau live in Sioux Falls with their two Pit Bull mixes, Ginger and Cricket, and two cats, Nemo and Sooki. Previously, Kyrstin volunteered and worked for NHHS in 2007/2008. She returned in January 2020 and has enjoyed getting reacquainted with the herd, seeing how they've grown and evolved. Kyrstin has always loved animals, especially horses, and is very glad to be able to work so closely with them again. She is also working on passing Level One of Parelli Natural Horsemanship's On Line savvy. 

Kyrstin's husband Chirau - or Chi - has also begun volunteering at the shelter. Born in India and raised in Kenya, Chi came to South Dakota in 2008. He and Kyrstin met at SDSU and married in 2012. He became a US citizen in 2017. Chi didn't have much experience with horses outside of guided trail rides, but he likes that - in addition to helping the horses at the shelter - volunteering provides him the opportunity to learn more about them and help build his confidence. He especially enjoys spending time with his favorite shelter horse, Star. 

Travis – Chore Helper

Melissa – Chore Helper
Melissa grew up with two sisters and four brothers in Harrisburg and Canton, South Dakota, graduating high school in 2015. She has always wanted to work with horses and started at NHHS in January 2020 after hearing about it from a friend. Previously, she didn't have any experience with horses aside from riding a few times when she was young. Since joining the NHHS staff, she has learned a lot about horses, hay, and barn safety. At home, Melissa has a four-year-old son named Isaiah. She also has two dogs - a Jack Russell Terrier mix named Mocha and a Dachshund named Button - as well as a cat named Kitty. Melissa will be returning to school in the fall of 2020 to become a Mechanic and eventually hopes to open her own body shop. She also dreams of one day being able to rescue horses herself.

“I would love to have my own farm to raise and save horses like New Hope Horse Shelter does.” - Melissa