LoveWay, Inc. Therapeutic Horseback Riding in Middlebury, Indiana
LoveWay, Inc. Therapeutic Horseback Riding in Middlebury, Indiana
LoveWay, Inc. Therapeutic Horseback Riding in Middlebury, Indiana

A Little History About Loveway, Inc.

LoveWay Projects, Inc. was founded by Gary and Sandy Weatherwax in 1973 in memory of their 17 year old daughter, Laurie. While in high school, Laurie had taken a school trip to Augusta, Michigan to visit the Cheff Center. At that time, Cheff Center was the only therapeutic riding center in the mid-west. Laurie was very interested in bringing a program of therapeutic riding to Northern Indiana since her father required a wheelchair.
It was from this visit that Laurie's dream to help others with physical, mental or emotional disabilities was borne. After her death the Weatherwax's founded LoveWay Projects, Inc. In 1990, the name was officially changed from LoveWay Projects, Inc. to LoveWay, Inc.
LoveWay was incorporated as a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization Sept. 24, 1974. The first board of directors was comprised of Mr. & Mrs. Weatherwax and Jykla Wiegand. Ms. Wiegand was the center's first instructor and received her therapeutic instructor training at The Cheff Center, Augusta MI. The first lessons for special needs children were provided in the Weatherwax driveway with specially selected and trained horses. A volunteer training program was established and many community minded volunteers began donating their time to assist with students. Local resident Agnes Riegsecker was the organizations' first volunteer.

Fund raising was a community wide effort and $50,000 was raised to build the first indoor arena in 1979. Stacy Stearly a fourteen year old student from Jimtown High School conducted a 65 mile trail ride and raised over $4,000 in pledges to help with the arena project.

The first Wild Rose Moon festival was begun by Mary Van Dyke in 1981 and continued until 2003. In 1990 the name was officially changed to LoveWay, Inc. A program director handled student enrollments and the board continued to handle administrative needs.

The Welcome Center was constructed in 1996 under the leadership of board president Wayne Campbell. Shortly thereafter a strategic planning session provided the plan to hire an Executive Director. In the fall of 2000 the board hired Sandra Carbone of Shipshewana as the first Executive Director. The board of directors transitioned to a Governance model of operations and focused on the future. In April of 2003 under the guidance of board president Karen Thomson, a capital campaign completed the new 80' x 104' NIBCO Riding Arena with a lead gift from the Rex & Alice A. Martin Foundation. With funds provided by three anonymous donors, the 60' x 80' Equipment and Hay barn was completed in the fall of 2004. In 2006 paving of the driveway and parking lot for handicapped accessibility was provided by the Goshen Rotary Club and Rieth Riley, Inc.

Our Staff

Jessica Shelner
NARHA Registered Instructor
On Staff Since: August 24, 2009
Hometown: Rockford, MI
Interests: Jessica graduated from Albion College with her B.A. in Psychology and a minor in German. After college, she married her best friend since middle school, Eric, who is now the Junior High Director at their church. As such, they spend much of their "free time" with the youth group and going on adventurous youth trips! Her horse Wolf is the other love of her life, and Jessica enjoys riding, grooming, or just playing around with him. She knows first-hand how God can use horses to change lives! Jessica also enjoys snowboarding, reading, Christmas music all year-round, and being at the beach!
Erica Furkis
Program Manager
NARHA Registered Instructor
On Staff Since: August 18, 2008
Hometown: All over New Hampshire
Interests: When not at LoveWay, Erica can usually be found enjoying her own horses, Joe and Mirabella. Joe, a 15 year old Thoroughbred, and Erica have competed through both the FEI levels in eventing and more recently, dressage. Mirabella is a 6 year old mule that competes in open and mule shows. Her husband, Jim, enjoys long distance running and showing Mirabella in halter classes. They share their lives with 2 equines, 2 dogs, and 2 cats. Always working overtime, Erica uses all she knows to make LoveWay be one of the best!
Aimee Miller
Volunteer Coordinator
On Staff Since: August 29, 2006
Hometown: Milford, IN
Interests: Aimee received her Bachelor's degree in Public Affairs/ Management from Indiana University. After she graduated, she met the love of her life, Kenny at a nearby restaurant! They have been happily married since October of 2009. They enjoy traveling to fun, new places and spending time with their large (and continually growing) extended family. Aimee also values time with friends and catching up on their busy lives! She pours her life and energy into LoveWay and is a key ingredient to our success!
Daryl Abbott
Executive Director
On Staff Since: January 1, 2010
Hometown: White Pigeon, MI
Interests: Daryl has been married to his lovely wife, Sue, since1970. They both love spending time with their 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild, but now that all the kids are out of the house, Daryl and Sue keep company with their dog, Muffie, and their cat, Abby. Daryl is active in his church and community, and he feels truly blessed to be serving at LoveWay. After 32 years at CAPS (Child and Parent Services), Daryl is retired and is now using his gifts as a leader to help LoveWay grow and thrive.
Angie "Buttons" Miranda
On Staff Since: February 8, 2010
Hometown: Goshen, IN
Interests: Angie lives in the Goshen area on a dirt road where she loves swimming and roasting marshmallows around bon fires with her husband, Martin, and 3 sons, Tony , Dominic and Vincent . All 3 boys play football, basketball, and baseball, so Angie loves attending their sports events and loudly cheering them on! Martin works for All American Group and teaches Spanish at Ivy Tech; so naturally, things stay lively and spicy at the Miranda household. Plus, Angie is never without her unique laugh and contagious smile!
Chris Stice
NARHA Registered Instructor
On Staff Since: February 1, 2006
Hometown: Billings, MT
Interests: Chris grew up on a ranch in Montana, where she fell in love with horses and learned to ride. Her love for therapeutic riding was inspired by her sister, who had MS and spent half of her life in a wheelchair. Chris started volunteering at LoveWay with her daughter in 2005. The amazing students, horses, and volunteers at LoveWay helped Chris through the loss of her husband, and they continue to help give her purpose. She enjoys spending time with her daughter, Ariel, and her son, Tristan, as well as visiting her family in Montana, whenever she can! She is loved by all of her students and their parents/ teachers!
Tim Krecsmar
NARHA Registered Instructor
On Staff Since: 1993
Hometown: Elkhart, IN
Interests: Tim is the longest-standing staff member by far, having worked at LoveWay since 1993! He loves coming to the barn and seeing what each class will be like; even the "worst" class always has something that makes it enjoyable. His passion for kids extends far beyond the riding arena though! He also teaches Special Education at the Concord Junior High School and he has 3 children of his own, Stephen, Kessa, and Jackson, all of whom he loves and adores. Tim not only brings life and color to the world through therapeutic riding, but also through the art of stained glass and gardening.
Maggie Korenstra
On Staff Since: September 1, 2010
Hometown: Middlebury, IN
Interests: Maggie grew up and has lived in Middlebury her whole life and graduated from Northridge in 2008. She has been involved with horses since she was 6, when she got her first pony, Indy. She was also a 4-H Saddle Club member for 10 years, serving as president of the club for 2 years. Maggie still loves to show and her favorite discipline is reining. She realized how much she loved working with kids throughout her years in Saddle Club and by helping the special needs class during her senior year. We are excited for her to be a certified instructor!
Eli Schwartz
Weekend/ Holiday Feeder
On Staff Since: July 15, 2010
Hometown: White Pigeon, MI
Interests: Eli enjoys feeding the horses when no one is around and finds it to be relaxing and rewarding. With his family helping him, it creates a close bond between them and the horses, not to mention among themselves. Weekend chores teach the children responsibility in caring for the horses (and the 2 barn cats). In his spare time, Eli enjoys training horses, going on trail rides, and practicing massage therapy for horses. He eventually wants to get into cutting, reining, and team penning with his own horses. The staff truly appreciates Eli coming in when no one else wants to!

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Cole's Loveway experience has been life-changing for our whole family. He started at Loveway when he was 3 and we knew that he had some sort of sensory processing disorder that was affecting every aspect of his life, especially his speech. He had almost no words at this point. He would ride in the Wednesday afternoon class, and on Thursday morning, words would just start popping out and his personality was much calmer and happier. This would carryover through the weekend and by Monday, his words would decrease and his mood would turn for the worse. Our whole family began to live for Loveway Wednesdays!! The horse has the ability to organize his system, and allow him to get his words out and feel in control.
Cole is now almost 5, and a totally different kid! He is speaking in full sentences now, and is acting like a "typical 5 year old". The sensory processing disorder still affects him, but with his horseback riding and occupational therapy, he is able to speak and feel good. Our family is so thankful to Loveway and all of the volunteers who gave us this really special little boy."

Jeannine -Cole's mom

LoveWay, Inc.

"Enhancing the lives of individuals with special needs through therapeutic equestrian services."

54151 County Road 33
Middlebury, IN 46540-9526
Phone: (574) 825-5666
Fax: (574) 825-8117

Support Loveway, Inc.

LoveWay, Inc. is recognized by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) as a Premier Accredited Center.

LoveWay, Inc. is recognized by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) as a Premier Accredited Center.

   Copyright 2008 LoveWay, Inc. All rights reserved.