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Maxine Freitas

Founder of Equi-Ed, Boss Mare & Our Fearless Leader

Maxine, lovingly known as Max (Boss Mare), peacefully passed away at Sutter Regional Hospital in Santa Rosa, CA, on her 71st birthday, April 5, 2024, joining her beloved husband and partner of 47 years, Larry Anderson, who preceded her in death on March 15, 2024. Maxine and Larry shared 37 beautiful years in Calistoga, where their generosity, humor, and unwavering commitment touched the lives of all who knew them.


Max's resilience and zest for life were evident throughout her journey, from facing breast cancer to embracing each day with joy and purpose. She leaves behind a legacy of dreaming big, working hard, and caring deeply for others, exemplified by her founding of Equi-Ed in 1993. As the Executive Director and Head Instructor of Equi-Ed, Maxine dedicated herself to empowering others through therapeutic riding, a passion that stemmed from her lifelong love of horses and helping people.

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Her impact extended far beyond the stables, as she served as a counselor to at-risk students and pioneered equine science education at Santa Rosa Junior College. Maxine's commitment to excellence earned her numerous accolades, including the 2011 PATH Region 11 Instructor of the Year award and the Sonoma County Horse Council's Equus Award in 2006 and 2024.


Despite her remarkable achievements, Max remained humble and grounded, finding joy in the simple moments and cherishing the bonds she shared with her family, including her cherished dog Lucy, cat Louie, and beloved horses Harley and Cali. Maxine's spirit lives on in the memories of those she touched and the legacy she leaves behind. Her passion, generosity, and unwavering dedication to making the world a better place will continue to inspire all who knew her. "I've had a wonderful and full life and I'm okay with what's next," echo in our hearts, reminding us to embrace each moment with gratitude and courage.

Maxine Freitas is honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award
at the 4th Annual Heart of Sonoma County Awards on Thursday, March 14th, 2024









The Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership presented Maxine Freitas with the Lifetime Achievement Award. 


The organization recognizes, honors, and awards Sonoma County’s nonprofit volunteers, leaders, and organizations for their outstanding contributions and impact to Sonoma County’s communities.91 nominees were recognized across eight award categories, and recipients were announced for each award.

The Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Redwood Credit Union, was presented to Maxine Freitas for making a positive and notable difference over three decades, from counseling at-risk students to pioneering therapeutic riding programs. As the founder of Equi-Ed, she has dedicated her life to providing healing experiences through horseback riding tailored to individuals with special needs.


All recipients were presented with certificates of recognition from Congressman Jared Huffman, Congressman Mike Thompson, Senator Bill Dodd, Senator Mike McGuire, Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Assemblymember Damon Connolly, Assemblymember Jim Wood, and the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. 

Read more about CVNL and the Heart of Sonoma County Award program here:

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