MIDDLEBURY — Roughly 132 riders took part in a 10-mile trail ride to benefit LoveWay Therapeutic Equestrian Services on Saturday.
LoveWay uses horses and ponies to improve the lives of children and adults with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities in the Elkhart County area. LoveWay serves over 200 individuals with special needs such as autism, cerebral palsy, attention deficit hyperactivity, down syndrome, epilepsy, developmental delays, mood disorders, blindness and speech delays.
“I’ve volunteered at LoveWay for three years,” said Lisa Owens. “I work with the kids in the classes. My son, Tyler, was out here volunteering through Northridge High School for class credit, and he told me it was something I would love. I had horses when I was a girl. I love working with kids, making a difference in their lives.,” she said. “Kids that have never spoken say their first words out here.”
“I live down the road from LoveWay and we make hay for them,” said rider Amanda Miller. “This is something people who have horses can do, and this is a good place to support.”
“We’ve been in the Ride-athon since my daughter Amy was two, so ten years,” said Beth Hostetler. “The trails are beautiful and this is an awesome place to help out.”
The Elkhart County Exchange Club served a pancake breakfast prior to the ride. The day also included a fun fair with pony rides, games, arts and crafts, clowns, face painting, balloon animals, a bake sale and tram rides.
Lori Nisley was the Grand Marshal for this year’s ride. “Lori has ridden in every Ride-athon since it began 18 years ago and has been one of the top fundraisers,” said Aimee Miller, volunteer coordinator for LoveWay.
This year’s ride raised money for the Singer family that has two children who come to LoveWay.
Major sponsors for this year’s Ride-athon include Lakota Trailers, Welch Packaging, Alpha systems, and NIBCO Inc. Miller thanked Lakota Trailers for donating a horse trailer to
LoveWay. It will allow LoveWay to transport horses and ponies for field trips to area schools and nursing homes.
“It’s a three horse trailer,” said Miller. “It exceeded our expectations.”
The ride raised just over $17,000 for LoveWay.