One student making a difference in West Michigan

ryan tenace


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – Ryan Tenace is a young man who lives by the motto ‘pay it forward’. His teacher started the $2 Challenge to “make a difference in the world”. Ryan decided to make a difference with the Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding because it’s a special place to him. Check out the video above, where Ryan explains how he raised money for one of his favorite local organizations.

The Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding in Rockford provides therapy on horseback for special needs individuals of all ages. Each week, they help about 120 to 160 with physical, mental, social and emotional disabilities.

The Equest Center’s individualized program is based on each rider’s needs and strengths. They work in conjunction with physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech teachers, teachers, and parents to coordinate with their goals. They help kids who are learning to talk, walk, gain balance, learn how to focus, and feel better about themselves.

There are 30 horses at the Equest Center. All are donated and go through training and testing before they are incorporated into the program.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Horse Leader
  • Sidewalker
  • Tacking
  • Grooming and Barn Maintenance
  • Haycrew (horse care and feeding)
  • Special Events (fundraisers, Easter with the Equest Bunny, Holiday Horse Show, Horsin Around at the Derby, Horses & Hands program)
  • Facility maintenance (repairs, weeding, flowers, painting, cleaning pastures, etc.)
  • Administration (data entry, bulk mailing, filing, etc.)

Community Outreach

Service projects are available throughout the year for interested groups such as:

  • Boy/Girls Scouts
  • 4-H
  • Youth Leadership
  • Business groups
  • Church groups
  • Schools

Volunteer Registration Forms are available online by clicking here. If you would like to take the next step toward becoming an Equest volunteer, please contact Marissa Freyling, Volunteer Coordinator, or click here for contact information.

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