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Karen Angotti and Krista Bushmaker are co-directors at Rainbow Riders in Monmouth. The duo stopped by the studio to talk about the impact their program has on the area. Angotti still remembers how it all started 13 years ago.

“I met a woman who was a therapeutic horseback riding instructor. When she found out that we were going to build a house in Monmouth, and that I wanted to have a horse and teach riding again, she said ‘You really should get into therapeutic horseback riding because you’re a special education person,’” Angotti said.

After visiting her friend’s barn in St. Louis, Angotti and her husband founded Rainbow Riders. Their mission is to contribute positively to the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social well-being of children and adults with special needs. They started out with one horse, and it was a huge hit. Rainbow Riders now has six horses and a donkey.

Bushmaker recalls her experience with a six-year old girl that made her realize this is what she wanted to do moving forward.

“Taking her to the lessons, she completely came out of her shell. She learned to gain trust with the horse. I thought right then and there, ‘I have a horse background. This is something I want to eventually pursue,’” Bushmaker said.

Angotti is especially thankful for the volunteers and donors that assist in the operation of Rainbow Riders. To find out more information about volunteering at Rainbow Riders, call 309-355-9422 or email Sally Bowman at [email protected]

written by Jackson Kane

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