Faces in the Crowd: Destiny Adgate

January 3, 2019

by Gene Bodnar

Two friends of mine, Damon DuBois (Executive Director of the Clare Area Chamber of Commerce) and Liz Crafton (President of the Harrison Chamber of Commerce), both recommended that I interview Destiny Adgate, the owner of several equestrian ventures, including Buggy Down Carriage, Black Horse Design, and Riding Out of the Storm Equine Therapy – all of which are located at 9650 N. Clare Avenue in Harrison.  I contacted her on Facebook, and we met for this interview at the Pere Marquette District Library in Clare.

Destiny Adgate

Destiny Adgate

Destiny was born in Greenville, Michigan, in 1977 into an equestrian family.  Her grandfather, William Crowe, was a Western Rider who loved roping, barrels, and camping with horses.  Her love of horses continues to this day; she loves to ride English, Western, and drives her famous Buggy Down Show Percherons.  She also is the founder of the two businesses mentioned above, plus she operates a therapeutic program between horses and humans.

Destiny attended Ellis Elementary School, then Belding High School, where she graduated in 1995.  She loved sports, especially volleyball, and she participated in band.

After graduation, she earned an Associate Degree in Emergency Medicine from Davenport University, where she was a member of the National Honor Society.
For about the next 10 years, Destiny worked for LIFE E.M.S. – a company that provided ambulance service with a fleet of over 75 fully equipped custom-built paramedic ambulances that covered 10 Michigan counties.  Destiny also worked in Mental Health.

In 1997, Destiny’s daughter, Alexis Rose, was born.  She is now a graduate from Grand Valley State University.

In 2000, Destiny returned to school at ITT, where she acquired a degree in Construction Management and Computer-Aided Design.  During her stint at this school, she also tutored other students.  She was awarded a spot on the Technical National Honor Society and also had perfect attendance.

After acquiring a degree from ITT, she worked the next 7 years for Ambassador Steel Corporation as a Project Manager on high rises and stadiums all over the United States.  She said it was a high-pressure job.

Destiny in the Cinderella Coach

Destiny in the Cinderella Coach

In 2009, Destiny became a volunteer for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that gives children renewed strength to fight their illnesses, brings families closer together and unites entire communities.  During this time, she also began donating to cancer benefits.  Last year, she donated the Cinderella Coach that took the king and queen through the Homecoming Parade.

Destiny has been driving horses as a hobby for 21 years.  In 2009, Buggy Down Carriage went from a limited liability corporation to a corporation status.  Bertie Abraham, who owned Abraham’s Carriage Service, was retiring, so Destiny bought this business in 2012.  Her carriage service continues to grow with purchases of other similar businesses.  With 30 horses on her farm, her business is now the largest of its kind in the state.  Today, she travels all over Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula, and to Indiana and Ohio, setting up and participating in nearly 200 events each year.

Buggy Down Carriage offers wedding packages that are based on location.  A package includes a carriage of your choice (such as Cinderella Coach or several others) and a draft horse in show harness.  Bookings are currently available for 2019 and 2020.  Most packages start at $650.

Sleigh rides are also available.  You can ride through rolling hills in an open horse sleigh for almost an hour, with a stop for pictures, then end the ride at a farm store that serves hot cocoa.  Rides are $125 and can hold up to 10 people.
Other events using horse and carriage are also available.  For example, there are wagon rides and birthday parties with pony rides for the kids.  The farm also offers a petting farm and a princess- or cowboy-themed party.  And there is currently a unicorn-themed pony at the farm as well.

Destiny says that one of her horses, Sweet Pea, is a candy lover that has a knack for sniffing out and finding pieces of candy from pockets or purses, acting much like a clown during the search.  In fact, she showed me a video of Sweet Pea trying to open a lady’s purse to get the piece of candy she knew was in there.  When given the piece of candy, Sweet Pea will not swallow it or chew it up; instead, she’ll suck on it, just like a human.

In 2012, Destiny experienced a traumatic injury – one that became a life-changing experience.  She has a great passion for horses, so she decided to use horses for her own therapy sessions.

In 2018, she launched the Riding Out of the Storm Equine Therapy – a non-profit organization that uses horses in human therapy sessions.  Her farm, her horses, and her support staff were opened to help others.  The program hosts everyone of any age with any issue, and its goal is “to improve the quality of life and cultivate human potential through equine-assisted therapies.”  Destiny says that “every horseman knows that a relationship with a horse is special.  For those with mental or physical disabilities or in the recovery process, this relationship can open the door to an entirely new realm of possibilities.  Horse and human become partners in a therapeutic relationship, offering a multitude of opportunities to focus on abilities instead of disabilities, and a sense of ease rather than disease.  The mission of the program recognizes that having an injury or a disability may change the way one experiences life, but it doesn’t change who you are.”  Countless participants have overcome physical and emotional barriers through her therapeutic programs.

Destiny also owns Black Horse Design, which is an embroidery store that does custom work for all occasions.  It hosts state of the art Direct-to-Garment Screen Printing.  Vinyl signs, glass etching, and much more can be ordered at this store.

Destiny points out that her farm is a working farm, and she is the one who does much of the work.  Much like the Amish, she plows and rakes fields, and grows and harvests much of the food required for her horses.

She also participates in many community events, including the Irish Festival in Clare and Frostbite in Harrison.  She “gives back” to the community in many ways, including volunteering at the food bank at her local church.
If that is not enough, Destiny is also certified instructor for an indoor group of cyclists called SPIN, and classes are held 6 days a week.

For any of Destiny’s ventures you can contact her on her web page:  Buggydowncarriage.vpweb.com or by phone: (616) 450-0200

What is it that keeps Destiny going?  In her own words, she says, “My inspiration is J.K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter books), a single mother with little money who has an incredible idea and went with it.  After writing the book, it was rejected countless times by publishing houses, but she didn’t give up.  Now she’s among the most successful British writers of all time, all due to persistence and self-belief.  Because I’m a single mom, I run my business this way, being humble and grateful.  Persistence and self-belief I have a lot to offer.”
What is Destiny’s greatest dislike?  Again in her own words, “What I dislike most in my life is seeing people struggle or having a hard time and wishing I could do more for them.  I like to live by Jesse Jackson’s famous quote: ‘Never look down on someone unless you’re helping them up.’”

Even though Destiny Adgate’s business is fairly young, she is already a very successful business woman.  She is also successful at operating a non-profit therapy organization, which is also new to Clare County.  Finally, she is a major contributor to the welfare of our community as a whole.  And this amazing lady has only just begun!

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