Saddlin’ Up the Horses to Make a Difference
Difference makers come in all shapes and sizes, all incomes and backgrounds. As varied as their interests may be the one quality they all seem to share is an unrelenting love to serve others.
One such difference maker is Angie Falconite, the executive director, co-founder and beloved friend to the 56 children and adults who enjoy riding lessons and activities at Cassidy’s Cause, a non-profit, therapeutic riding academy that Angie and her husband Mike helped to start in 2013.
What makes this program so appealing to individuals with disabilities is the warm and friendly atmosphere that Angie has helped to create at Cassidy’s Cause. Whereas a typical therapy room is filled with cold equipment and often feels unwelcoming, individuals who take part in the equine therapy program at Cassidy’s Cause develop warm connections with horses and staff and are able to engage in physical activities that are both challenging and designed to bring joy to the rider.
“This is a happy place,” Angie says. “It’s extremely rewarding to see all of the riders come through each week and to be able to watch them grow. I’m extremely proud of the work that we have accomplished here in such a short period of time.”
Angie and Mike donated land for the program and built a state of the art horse barn and training facility. Riders receive a unique type of physical and cognitive therapy there, which allows them to build physical strength and confidence that helps to move them beyond their limitations. The work that Angie and her staff perform at Cassidy’s Cause has helped a number of individuals with disabilities to overcome the challenges that their bodies face each day.
“This is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Angie says. “I am so blessed to come to a job that I absolutely love and I want to be here everyday.”
Angie is there just about any time the doors are open. Her heart and soul are wrapped up in Cassidy’s Cause and the mission that the organization works to achieve.
“When you love something and you’re very passionate about it, that becomes the place where you spend the majority of your time,” Angie says.
While many people allocate land and resources to be used for charitable causes upon their death, Angie says that she and Mike wanted to also contribute their time and talents.
“We chose to be a part of this by doing it now,” she says. “We wanted to see the difference being made and it’s been a blessing to watch the students grow.”
Unlike many horse enthusiasts, Angie began riding in her early forties. She remembers those early anxieties that came with learning how to manage a 1,200-pound animal.
“When you first learn to ride, falling off the horse is always on your mind. It’s very intimidating. But it’s also very powerful and rewarding when you learn how to tell a horse what you want him to do,” Angie says.
Today, Angie extends that same feeling of accomplishment to individuals with impaired mobility. Through the work done at Cassidy’s Cause she and her staff watch the lives of adults and children transformed everyday. From parents watching their children joyfully riding horses, to adults achieving physical feats that they never thought possible before, the work that Angie does is certainly making a difference in the lives of many.
“You would never know that she doesn’t draw a paycheck,” says Becky Bowers. “Angie’s hard word and dedication has been invaluable to raising money for the day-to-day operations of this amazing facility.”
Though carrying the official title of Difference Maker of the Month, Angie is quick to give credit to the staff and volunteers who help Cassidy’s Cause to function as successfully as it does.
“While I am humbled and honored to be selected as a Difference Maker, the difference makers here are more than just me,” Angie says. “We have a great staff and wonderful, dedicated volunteers who come here.”
Cassidy’s Cause accepts contributions and volunteerism from individuals who wish to make a difference in the lives of those with disabilities by joining the cause. More information can be found on their website at www.cassidyscause.org.
Nominations for Difference Makers can be submitted at www.inthevue.com.
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