Sandra Sweet Lovato, a horsewoman and wife of retired Eclipse Award-winning rider Frankie Lovato Jr., died Sept. 3 in Norwalk, Ohio, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident, according to the New York Racing Association communications department. She was 54.
Lovato graduated from Norwalk High School in 1978 and relocated to New York, where she started her career working with horses at the racetrack, and met her future husband. While residing in New York, Sandy Lovato served as PTA president at School District 13 in Valley Stream, receiving numerous service awards for her dedication and time before the family returned to Ohio.
She served as president of the Wooden Horse Corporation, a family-owned company she started with her husband in 2006 that produces the Equicizer.
A lifelong horse enthusiast, she became a PATH international certified therapeutic riding instructor. In 2009 she founded Stampede of Dreams, a non-profit program for equine-assisted horseback riding lessons providing therapeutic benefits for children and adults with special needs in Norwalk.
In addition to Frankie, whom she married Nov. 23, 1982, she is survived by children, Megan (Walter) Hodgkiss, of Huron, Ohio, Shawn Lovato, of Queens, New York, Timothy Lovato, of Norwalk, Ohio, and granddaughter Allison.
Visitation is is on Friday, Sept. 5, from 4-7 p.m. EDT at the Walker Funeral Home, 98 West Main St., Norwalk, Ohio. Mass of Christian burial will be held Sept. 6, at 10 a.m. in St. Paul Catholic Church, 91 East Main St., Norwalk, Ohio.
Memorial contributions may be made to Stampede of Dreams TRP, Inc., P.O. Box 679, Norwalk, Ohio 44857.