MIDDLEBURY — Driving up to LoveWay therapeutic equestrian center, one may find oneself doing a double take when parking outside the office.
In the yard stands a life-size sculpture, made of scrap metal, which depicts a young girl leading a horse.
The statue was donated to LoveWay this week by George Linder to honor his aunt, Sandy Weatherwax.
She and her husband, Gary, co-founded the center in 1973 in memory of their late daughter, Laurie, who dreamed of starting such a facility, said Shelley Becker, LoveWay’s executive director.
According to Becker, Linder ran across the statue at Three Pines Gallery in Cross Village, Michigan, and thought it was the perfect representation of the equestrian center.
“He saw the statue and thought it’d be the perfect way to honor his aunt and cousin, who was the brainchild behind this facility,” Becker said.
The Middlebury-based not-for-profit agency provides therapeutic equestrian programs for people with special needs age four and up.
LoveWay’s 29-acre center is between Bristol and Middlebury, with an indoor arena, outdoor arena, outdoor riding trails and about 20 horses.
Children are the primary participants at the center.
Currently, LoveWay serves 22 schools from Elkhart and Cass counties. Everyone participates free of charge.
Linder delivered and unloaded the horse statue to LoveWay on Tuesday with Doug Melvin, the artist of the sculpture.
Becker said the sculpture is the perfect representation of Loveway, symbolizing the center’s mission.
“It’s a stunning sculpture – it’s very unique,” she said. “And it’s just a very beautiful representation of what we do here at LoveWay.”