My name is Liz Palizzi and I am excited to be the newest member of The Right Step Board of Directors. Belonging to Westernnaires as a young girl helped to fuel my life-long love of horses. Growing up in the suburbs didn’t lend itself to owning a horse, but I always hoped I could find a way to have horses in my life. After high school, I attended CSU and graduated with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies and a Colorado teaching license. I taught at the elementary level for several years before staying at home to raise our three children.
As I’ve gotten back into full time work over the last 9 years, I have continued to look for ways to give of my time. When I found out about The Right Step, it seemed like the perfect combination for me. I attended orientation in September of 2018 and started volunteering as a side-walker right away, getting to know the horses and the clients, and quickly wanting to do more. I hand-walked horses, and eventually became a horse leader.
When The Right Step moved to the Denver Equestrians site, I was thrilled to continue my volunteering; horse leading, helping with side walker training, horse shows, and mucking stalls, all of which furthered my commitment to this organization. I love working with the clients, helping the instructors and caring for the horses.
When I’m not at the barn, I can be found spending time with my family, hiking, biking, reading, and working at Homestead Elementary as the Office Manager.
I started out volunteering as a way to give of my time, but what I have gained from this opportunity far outweighs anything I have been able to give. I’m so excited to bring my enthusiasm and dedication to this organization as the newest board member.
The most rewarding things in life are experiences that transform us”. I don’t know who the author of this statement is but it certainly describes my experience volunteering with The Right Step. When I retired 3 years ago, I decided to volunteer as a side-walker. I had been on trail rides before but that was the extent of my experience with horses. In the past 3 years, I have learned how to feed horses, muck stalls, turn horses outside to paddocks, pick hooves, groom, put the tack on a horse, became a horse leader, and started taking my own riding lessons. Our clients inspire me every time I work with them…striving, struggling, achieving, and experiencing the pure joy of horses. Volunteering with The Right Step has brought all of this into my life and has truly transformed me.
By Volunteer Julie Bever
Please join The Right Step, Inc. in welcoming Sharon Smith as our first Executive Director! With over ten years of experience as a nonprofit executive director, a lifelong love of horses, and a background in working with people with special needs, Sharon brings both passion for the mission and real life experience. Sharon will take over much of the management of staff and operations as well as fundraising and development.This new position is an investment in our ability to provide high-quality programming that meets an ever-growing demand for our services. It’s a big job. We have every confidence that she will rise to the occasion and The Right Step will be better for it!
We started our 2021 show season on Saturday, April 20th at the Flyer Ranch Equestrian Center in Kiowa, CO. As part of the Colorado Show Circuit, our five riders participated in adaptive and non-adaptive classes showing off all their hard work and dedication. Proud instructors and volunteers watched as riders demonstrated their riding skills beautifully while in a new environment with family and friends cheering them on.
Riders Uriah and Olivia did a great job guiding their horses around courses with the help of horse leaders. Riders Abby, Allie, and Mackenzie rocked their independent classes and won ribbons in a non-adaptive walk/trot flat class!
"My favorite part was judging these adaptive classes!" said judge Kristina McCombie about her day being a show judge. "These riders rode with confidence and poise, on beautifully turned out mounts who were absolute gems. It was a true reminder that we are all so lucky to be around these magical creatures everyday."
We would like to specially thank our wonderful instructors, Sam Sykes and Emily Stibbards, for all their hard work in teaching these very competent riders. We also could not have done it without our volunteers who woke up early and drove out to Kiowa to help with the show.
FredBob, Helo, and Challenger enjoyed their day in the spotlight, and got some extra
treats after the horse show. They can't wait for the next show in May!