DOVER PLAINS, N.Y. — Danica Rix-Wayne is one of five Champions selected to receive a pair of Ariat boots in recognition of her volunteer service on behalf of horse welfare.

Ariat International sponsors the EQUUS Foundation's Champions program to inspire and reward equine service. Five people are honored each quarter.

Rix-Wayne volunteers with Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue, Inc. in Dover Plains, N.Y.

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Rix-Wayne's passion for horses began when she was just four years old, spending her summers in Florida at a horse farm down the street from her grandparents.

It was her daughter, Abigale, that led to Danica volunteering at Lucky Orphans five years ago. "To have a daughter with the same passion has been a gift," said Rix-Wayne.

Abigale attended a clinic organized by Lucky Orphans Executive Director, Deanna Mancuso. Abigale didn't have a horse to ride so Deanna offered her Liam.

"They were a dynamic duo from the second they met," said Rix-Wayne, "and it has been my greatest pleasure to have been given the opportunity to volunteer with my family!"

"It's the most amazing feeling leaving after a day at the farm knowing that we make a difference in every orphan on the farm. We are committed to every Sunday no matter the weather — from snow storms, ice storms to rain and 100 degree weather. I am forever grateful for the experiences we share as a family!"

See www.equusfoundation.org/champions/champions.php to learn more about the program.

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