LoveWay's New Tack Team Program

by Caitlyn Andrews October 11, 2017

New LoveWay Tack Program

We are proud to sponsor LoveWay, a nonprofit organization in Middlebury, IN, that offers therapeutic riding services to children with disabilities. Each month we feature a special horse or event at LoveWay.

This month we're featuring a guest post written by Cait Wilson, the Equine Manager at LoveWay that discusses the new Tack Team program:


Introducing LoveWay's Tack Team 

Winston Churchill said it best: “No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.” That statement describes the experience of so many of LoveWay’s riders who come week after week to spend time with their equine partner completing such tasks as grooming to get their horses clean, preparing them for class by putting the appropriate gear, or tack, on their horse, and – best of all – climbing the mounting block and getting on to ride.

Riding is made so much easier with the help of a saddle! LoveWay utilizes saddles, bridles, surcingles, and other tack to help students be successful on the backs of their equine partners. Some pieces of tack are instantly recognizable, like our Western saddles with their prominent front horn and wide fenders. Other pieces, for example, surcingles which provide support when riding with no saddle, are less familiar to students and volunteers alike.

Brand new to LoveWay is a Tuesday evening meeting of the Tack Team. Team members come to LoveWay between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesday nights to give the tack and equipment a deep clean and thorough inspection. Keeping our tack – the saddles, bridles, and other equipment we use during LoveWay lessons – in good repair is so important to its longevity and safety. As we clean, we also inspect the leather and stitching to ensure that nothing will malfunction during use. As a Tack Team volunteer, you’ll get to learn what every bit of tack is used for!

LoveWay Tack Team Meeting

Above: Volunteers, Cheryl and Jen, with Equine Manager, Cait Wilson during one of the new tack meetings.

The tack used in LoveWay classes is always carefully selected based on the needs of the rider and for the comfort of the horse. And we require quite a bit of tack! During the Fall Semester, which has just begun, LoveWay will serve roughly 120 students each week! We require a generous outpouring of support from our volunteer community to complement the dedicated service of our therapy horses – and, of course, the use of reliable, safe, and sturdy tack.

Much of the tack used in LoveWay’s programs was generously donated for the use of our students. Tack comes to LoveWay in every condition imaginable, from the old and dusty to the freshly oiled and squeaky-clean, and everything in between! LoveWay happily accepts donations of all tack and equipment, new or used. It takes quite a lot of equipment to successfully provide therapeutic equestrian experiences to all of our participants. We are happy to have many options available to our instructors so that we can make our riders as comfortable as possible.

English Tack and Horses

Above: The riders at LoveWay often use English tack, like the bridle shown above. But, you don't have to ride English to donate your used tack to a good cause! LoveWay accepts all sorts of tack - from bits to saddles and everything in between.

Any donated tack or supplies that LoveWay is not able to utilize in its programs is made available to LoveWay riders, the Elkhart County Saddle Club, and other members of the local community. Stay tuned for more information about the Ride-A-Thon fundraiser coming up in October, which will include a tack sale to benefit LoveWay’s horses!

If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to get involved at LoveWay, this is it! Come join our Tuesday evening Tack Team to get your hands dirty, get to know some of our community of volunteers, and help support this vital part of LoveWay’s operations. No experience is necessary and this Team is available to volunteers of all abilities.

Guest Post by Cait Wilson

Caitlyn Andrews
Caitlyn Andrews


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