students riding in a lesson

February 2024 Update

Session 2 of Therapeutic Riding Lessons
Session 2 kicked off at the tail end of this month with another record breaking number of participants. We are excited about the progress that will be made and the goals that will be reached.

REAL: Strengthening the Team
On a recent, beautiful Friday morning, Renew welcomed the first corporate group to take part in this exciting new program offering. REAL team building experiences are for corporate teams, departments, non-profits, community organizations and others who work together on a regular basis. Interacting with and observing horses while on the ground, REAL programs provide an experiential opportunity where meaningful change occurs. Participants deepen work relationships, improve teamwork, and determine strategy to aid in reaching your organization’s goals. No prior horse experience is necessary.

If you would like more information about this program, please reach out to Melissa Conner at

Hug a Horse
Friday, March 22 from 4:30-5:30p.
Over forty people joined us in February for the free Hug A Horse event! It was so great to meet you all and hear how this relaxed time of interacting with the horses has been a blessing to you.

We gather once a month and all are welcome to join us in the heated indoor arena for horse snuggles and grooming. We hope this unstructured time is a chance to take a deep breath alongside a few of our treasured equine friends.

Mindfulness with Renew Horses
Friday, March 22 from 6:00-7:30p.
Are you looking for a unique way to manage stress and improve your well-being? We invite you to join us in our heated indoor arena to spend unmounted time alongside a few of our equine friends while being guided through various mindful experiences. We have the privilege of learning from the best teachers of mindful living: horses! Please note, the cost is $15 per participant, and participants must be at least 18 years old. Register by completing this form. 

Lunch N Learn
Monday, March 25 from 11:30a-12:30p.
All of the Renew family is invited to this free informative, informal event! Join us in the upstairs of the white farmhouse for a chance to hear the second part of the series “Who can ride at Renew?”. Shaina, our Program Manager, will discuss some of the precautions we consider for each new participant at Renew. Feel free to bring a brown bag lunch, and we’ll have a few goodies as well.

Shoutout to Our Amazing Volunteers

Thank you Isaac and Boy Scout Troop 316 for building and donating benches. These will be well loved by the Renew family for years to come!

Staff Spotlight: Cassie Pelon

Renew currently has 12 staff members. Some you may have known for years, and others you might only know by name. To help you get to know the staff a bit better, each month we will be featuring a staff member in our Staff Spotlight. This month’s spotlight is our Communications Coordinator, Cassie Pelon.

For those who have never met me, you’ve probably seen me milling around with my face hidden behind a camera. I am also the one behind the scenes putting the blog together, so it’s a bit odd putting myself in the spotlight but we’ll get through this together.

As I was trying to think over what might be interesting to share with the Renew family that would give you a sense of who I am (scary isn’t it?) and looking through pictures, a few things jumped out at me:

  • I’ve got the coolest bunch of people that I get to call family
  • We’re a bunch of boogers (it’s nearly impossible for us to take a normal picture without pulling faces)
  • I’ve accidentally taken an amazing amount photos of my fingers/feet over the years

I graduated from Unity Christian and went on to get my degree in Writing and Advertising & Public Relations from GVSU. While being involved in GVSU’s amazing Campus Ministry program I met my husband, Dave.

Dave has always had a passion to serve, a heart for those often forgotten, and a desire to seek justice. I’m so proud of how he’s leaned in to his calling to serve youth and families. He is currently the Deputy Court Administrator in Barry County.

Dave and I have been blessed with three super cool humans to parent. As a family we love to go to sporting events, drive around the dunes up at Silver Lake, go camping, and watch movies together. We also have two dogs, a miniature dachshund named Dugan and a doberman named Minnow.

Animals have been a blessing and constant presence in my life. Growing up, I spent much of my time training and showing dogs. I wasn’t able to get a horse of my own until college, so I found other ways to enjoy them by volunteering at Grace Adventures Paradise Ranch, working at a friend’s Quarter Horse racing/breeding farm, pet sitting, and working at an Arabian show barn.

I joined the Renew family in 2019. I think my absolute favorite thing about this place is that it provides us a tiny glimpse of heaven. It’s a place where everyone matters, not because of talent or achievement, but because we’re all made in God’s image and we all have a purpose. It’s a place where people come together to encourage and support each other. It is a privilege to serve alongside you and be a small part of the redeeming work that God is doing!

The family picture plus one is Maria, a student from Spain who brought a lot of joy and laughter into our home during a recent visit to the United States. Special thanks to our talented videographer Ben Philips for taking the picture on the top left during a recent local lifting competition.

Denim & Diamonds at the Derby

Denim & Diamonds at the Derby is the signature fundraising event to support the life changing programs at Renew, and let’s be honest – it’s one of the highlights of the year! Grab your tickets before they sell out and join in all of the event fun – best dressed contest, dessert auction, great food and drinks, and amazing fellowship.

If you can’t join us in person for the event, there are still lots of ways to partner in the mission. Back this year will be the exciting jockey “race”. Make donations to Renew in the name of one of our seven jockeys, and at the jockey who has the most donations “wins the race”. There will also be amazing Bid to Win auction packages – the more you tickets you buy the greater your chance of winning. Bid to Win tickets will go on sale in early April. No need to be present to win.

Denim & Diamonds at the Derby

Baker Lofts | April 25

  • Event tickets
  • Bid to Win tickets
  • Donate to the jockey race
  • Everything can be found on the event page

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