We are excited to feature local events, business, artisans and products in the Northern Virginia area over the coming months! This post continues the series highlighting Lucketts, Virginia! We look forward to sharing more about the communities, neighborhoods and offerings in each corner of Northern Virginia.
Introducing Katie Fallon and Bridle Paths!
What is the story behind Bridle Paths and how did it come to be?
The Bridle Paths program is a nonprofit organization that offers strength, support, and healing to individuals and families through safe, effective, and high-quality equine-assisted activities and therapies. We offer a unique combination of mounted and unmounted programs, including both therapeutic horseback riding and equine-assisted psychotherapy. The program provides a safe and supportive environment in which clients can be honest and authentic, think clearly about their challenges, and achieve growth, learning, and healing.
The Bridle Paths staff works with both individuals and families, and has particular expertise in working with those coping with experiences of anxiety, depression, and trauma. Although she had worked with horses for many years, Bridle Paths President Katie Fallon did not become involved formally in equine-assisted activities until her daughter was diagnosed in infancy with hydrocephalus and a Chiari I malformation and began participating in therapeutic riding activities. She swelled with powerful emotion as she watched her daughter achieve physical and cognitive milestones that initially seemed out of reach for her, and was struck by the incredible motivation and connection that the horses offered to her.
For that reason, Katie achieved certifications in both therapeutic horseback riding and equine assisted psychotherapy, and founded the Bridle Paths program to integrate the physical, psychological, and emotional benefits of working with horses. Katie notes that working with horses requires her to be her best and most authentic self, and she believes strongly in the efficacy of this work in helping others to discover those strengths for themselves as well.
If the sky was the limit with your business, what do you envision happening?
The Bridle Paths program seeks to provide a setting in which clients are defined not by their disabilities, experiences, or diagnoses, but rather by their abilities and possibilities, in partnership with horses. In an ideal world, we would be able to offer equine-assisted activities and therapies at little to no cost to those in need in our community. In many cases, those who stand to benefit the most from these services are those who are least able to pay for them; making these services available at a greatly reduced cost would be a huge benefit for many families. For example, we would love to serve adoptive and foster families and children who have experienced abuse and neglect through the Loudoun County Department of Family Services. We also seek to partner with local governmental, community, and nonprofit organizations to serve youth and adult survivors of sex trafficking. Additionally, we would like to expand our riding, psychotherapy, and camp services to serve the large and growing population of military families in the Northern Virginia area.
Are there any goals that are intimidating for you?
Financing these goals is a daunting challenge. Keeping horses is an expensive proposition under the best of circumstances, and many of our program horses have come to Bridle Paths from other careers and require specialized care to remain healthy and sound in service to our clients. We recognize that our clients frequently juggle multiple therapies and treatments, and for that reason we strive to keep our program fees as low as possible. At present, program fees cover less than 50 percent of the total costs of program operations. Community support is vital to help cover the costs of maintaining our herd and offering innovative and effective programs to our clients.
What is your FAVORITE way to spend a weekend morning?
Every weekend morning, you’ll find Katie at the Bridle Paths facility, teaching lessons, running psychotherapy sessions, training volunteers, and caring for the horses. It’s her favorite place to be, and she wouldn’t have it any other way!
What is your go to place in the Leesburg / Lucketts area to visit, tell others about?
Katie’s go-to place in the Lucketts area is, of course, the Bridle Paths facility, located at Pat and Bob Meurer’s glorious Stone-Horse Farm. There’s little that compares to the promise of a sunrise over verdant fields, or to the peaceful sound of horses munching evening hay in their stalls. When she’s not at the farm, Katie and her family love sampling the ice cream at Brossman’s and enjoying the bounty of produce at local farmers’ markets. We look forward to the opening of the Little Rock Tea House at the corner of Spinks Ferry Road and Route 15 in the near future!
What are your favorite ways to give back to others - whether in your community or on a larger scale?
At Bridle Paths, we seek to give back to the families in our community each day. We strive to provide a safe and supportive setting where clients and families can do their best thinking about challenges, enjoy honest and nonjudgmental experiences, learn new skills, and reconnect and relate in new and improved ways. Without question, however, we get much more than we give; the families are endless sources of inspiration and hope for us, and we hope to provide these services for many years to come.
Contact 571.216.9089 firstname.lastname@example.org
Facility Address Stone Horse Farm 43247 Spinks Ferry Road Leesburg, VA 20176
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