May 2024 Update

Program Update

Session 3 of Therapeutic Riding is in the Books
Session 3 of therapeutic riding lessons wrapped up at the end of May. Over 100 students visited the farm each week and worked hard on achieving their goals. Thank you to the many volunteers who walked alongside each student and contributed to their success. We are grateful for you all and hope to see you during some of the special program offerings this summer. A four week abbreviated session of therapeutic riding lessons (Session 4) will be held in July.

MSU Horse Show | May 17
A great crew of staff, volunteers, students, and horses made their way to Lansing recently to compete in a horse show. Students work hard all year honing their horsemanship skills, and this competition provided a way for students to experience the joy of competition and satisfaction from achieving their goals. We’re incredibly proud of all of you!

Summer Programming Registration Closes June 7
Summer brings different rhythms to the farm and creates the opportunity for different groups to be served. Silver Saddles will be offered to people who are 60+ years old and want to learn a new hobby or continue an old one, stretch and strengthen muscles, and find connection and fellowship. Interactive Vaulting will once again be offered, providing students with the opportunity to stay active and increase confidence as they tackle and master challenging skills. A third session of Pony Pals Camp for children impacted by foster care and/or adoption was added due to the incredible demand for service. Students are paired up with one horse partner and one volunteer for the duration of camp and have the opportunity to learn trust, communication, teamwork, healthy habits, and more. Renew will also be offering Family & Friends riding lessons. If you would like more information on these summer programs and more, please reach out to Kennedy at Registration for these programs will close on June 7.

Phase Two of the Ride With Renew Capital Campaign

Thanks to the dedication and generosity of many partners in the mission, Phase Two of the Ride With Renew capital campaign is well underway. The gray hog barn has been completely deconstructed and will be repurposed on another farm. The ground is being prepped and the foundation of the new barn will be laid the first week of June.

The new barn will be a tremendous asset and ensure that Renew’s horses and participants are served with excellence. This fully accessible space will allow Renew to increase the herd, add programs, and serve more students for years to come.


Renew Celebration Horse Show
Saturday, July 27 at the Holland Western Horse Park
The third annual Renew Celebration Horse Show brings local horse enthusiasts in the community together with Renew riders for an inclusive day of showing and riding. All abilities welcome and show clothes not required. Classes and information will be available soon. Bring your horse and enter some of the fun classes, or bring a chair and cheer on the riders – it will be a fun day for all!

Small child reading to one of our therapy horses Will.

Renew Reading WRanglers

Looking for a fun, creative way to keep your kids engaged in reading over the summer?

Reading Wranglers is designed for children ages 6-12 who can sit and read independently. This weekly program will consist of one-on-one reading time (one child to one horse), time to brush a horse and bond with them, and a story time or story walk around the 20-acre farm. Registration is limited so sign up today through the Herrick District Library.

Partnership Spotlight

Equine assisted services have wide-ranging and life-changing impacts on peoples’ lives, but it can be hard at times to quantify and track those impacts. Renew and the Hope College Center for Leadership (CFL) have been partnering together over the past academic year to address this need, providing students with hands-on experience and Renew with the ability to organize data in a meaningful and accessible way.

The CFL connected us to Dr. Yurk, Hope Mathematics’ professor, and Clara Voskuil, a senior at Hope looking to do an independent study. Melissa, Renew’s Executive Director, explained “Clara worked on our project for both semesters during the past academic year, and presented us with her final synopsis on May 2, 2024. Her part of the project is now complete, and Renew has access to regular reports providing data on participants related to skill progression and life change occurring as a result of services — specifically, physical, spiritual, cognitive, behavioral and emotional growth that has been documented.”

“They are working with our Google form data collection system to assist us with gathering useful information,” Teresa, a Renew CTRI, added. “They are writing codes that will help us pull information together in meaningful ways after we have input it on the Google form. Because we are working with approximately 300 individuals and groups, we are in need of ways to gather information effectively and efficiently.”  

The hours of work that was put in will greatly improve Renew’s ability to more easily monitor and observe trends in both students and equines. “Their codes will assist us with tracking rider participation, population served, type of lesson, horse usage, the meeting/achieving of objectives, growth of the rider, life skill acquisition, and so much more,” Teresa added.

“We are very grateful to Doug Ruch at CFL at Hope College, Dr. Brian Yurk, and to Clara Voskuil for taking on this project and being committed to helping Renew in this unique way,” Melissa said. “We have discussed ways to engage with other PATH Intl. centers across the country to enable others in our industry to have these simple yet powerful and efficient tools to record notes and analyze information in order to not only promote the value of Equine Assisted Services, but to serve participants from a more informed and data-driven perspective. These lessons learned help our instructors to perform at a higher level in keeping with our Core Value of Excellence in all that we do.”  

Team of professors and students from Hope College.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *