Joy Milligan & Lucille Fancy – Bud Breeding Spirit Award Winner
This the third year for the Bud Breeding Oklahoma Spirit Award and thanks in large part to Tanna Smith, we are pleased to have a joint recipient, a mother and daughter duo to share the award
Lucille Fancey, known to most everyone as Mrs F was born in 1919 in Saint Louis MO to a non-horse family. So it was somewhat surprising for her mother to find her at the age of three standing in the street under the ice wagon’s draft horse patting his belly. She cleaned stalls for riding opportunities and rode in a high school riding club. She owned her first horse as a young married lady and has had horses ever since.
In one way or another, horses have been at the center of Mrs F’s life. She trained and showed hunter-jumpers, has hosted multi-state combined training and riding events at her place and has been Master of The Lost Hound Fox Hunt for 34 years.
Left to support herself and two daughters 38 years ago, Mrs F began teaching English riding and jumping, while at the same time keeping a file on therapeutic riding for the disabled. In the early 1970s on of her riding students was paralyzed in an automobile accident. Now faced the challenges of a real, Mrs F’s dream began to take shape.
When the student returned from re-hab, Mrs F worked with her until ultimately the student was able to ride, independently, in the saddle at a walk and a trot.
Enter the daughter Joy Milligan
Born in El Paso TX in 1948, Joy grew up in the Midland/Odessa area until at the age of 12 she moved with her family to Oklahoma.
Not surprisingly, she showed hunters and jumpers in high school, while working at a local hospital as a nurse’s aide. She studied radiologic technology at the OU Medical Center and subsequently taught Radiologic Technology at Rose State College from 1972 to 1976.
Joy ran a program known as New Life Faith Ministries in her home from 1982 to 1985 with nine different girls living with her, three at a time, while each of them overcame substance addiction and behavior problems. And she also indoctrinated with the work ethic of Coffee Creek Riding Center.
Lucille and Joy joined forces in 1977 when a newspaper article about the possibilities of a riding center for the disabled resulted in ten students and twenty-seven volunteers. Suddenly, Coffee Creek Riding Center for the handicapped became a reality. Subsequent TV news coverage resulted in thirty-six students for the summer program, a front page newspaper article in August brought interest from special education classes and by September only six months after its beginning, the Coffee Creek Riding Center was operating full time with fifty students.
Eventually, they were able to build an indoor arena and classrooms and today Coffee Creek Riding Center serves 170 students, free of charge. Not only have many students benefited several volunteers have chosen careers in medical or special education fields and Mrs F’s grandson is a medical doctor.
Oklahoma Quarter Horse people are not the first to recognize the Mrs F’s effect on people’s lives and I’s sure we won’t be the last. She has received the Champion of Health Ageless Hero Award, the Fox Hunter Ball Humanitarian Award, and the Oklahoma Hunter Jumper Association Life Time Achievement Award.
A philosophy of life, obviously shared by mother and daughter is that life is best lived by giving yourself away to others. They have made personal sacrifices over the past quarter of a century, living on meager means to ensure that others may enjoy the benefits from the riding programs at Coffee Creek Riding Center. They are incredible ladies with incredible spirit and with hearts that trust in God.
Lucille Fancey and Joy Milligan were inducted into the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in the category of the Bud Breeding Oklahoma Spirit Award in 2011.