Renew Therapeutic Riding Center in Holland enhances the well-being of individuals in the community through the physical, cognitive and emotional benefits of therapeutic horsemanship. At Renew, each rider has the opportunity to go beyond their disability, inability, fear or reality. Renew encourages and supports dreams by offering therapeutic horsemanship activities to help riders develop their maximum potential in a caring, fun environment that empowers riders in ways different from traditional therapy.
Meet Melissa Conner, executive director
How did you get started here?
There was a need for equine-assisted services in the Holland area, and our founder, Jodi Geerlings, recognized that need as a special education teacher and decided to start a therapeutic riding center in our area. Bringing people living with daily challenges together with horses is powerful work, and immediately, interest in this service grew. I joined Renew as their executive director in 2013, and we have been growing by leaps and bounds now for several years.
What kind of impact does Renew Therapeutic Riding Center have on the community?
Renew seeks to provide positive life changes to the individuals and families we serve. At our current location, we are able to offer therapeutic riding lessons to nearly 100 students each week. Children and adults living with physical, cognitive, emotional or mental health challenges experience benefits including improved strength, greater range of motion, endurance, increased confidence, decreased anxiety and regulated behaviors. We are the only Premier Accredited Center with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship in West Michigan, and we offer services and support to families with excellence and compassion.
Why this matters
Miracles happen every day at Renew. We hear children considered nonverbal talk for the first time while riding one of our therapy horses, we see those not able to walk take their first steps coming to visit their horse, and we see those burdened by depression make a connection to a horse and experience joy. Our goal is to be able to provide equine services to anyone who can benefit, and we have purchased land with plans to build an expanded facility on the south side of Holland.
How you can help
Volunteers are at the heart of our work, and we are always looking to welcome new volunteers into our Renew family. No experience with horses or working with people with disabilities is required; training is provided. In addition, donations to support our ongoing programs and our Ride with Renew Capital Campaign are greatly appreciated.