Equine Assisted Therapy in Grand Rapids Michigan




Service Update from Equine Assisted Development:

We are reaching out to let you know that we are taking COVID-19 seriously and through the latest health recommendations, we are making the health of our team and those we come in contact with our top priority.


Per the Governor's order, Public Activities will be postponed until further notice.

We also want to let you know our animals are safe and we are grateful for all who are continuing to support EAD and our herd through this crisis.

Equine therapy services will continue on site for clients in mental health crisis. Equine therapy services are also available for stressed caregivers, essential workers, local law enforcement, and first responders as these will be essential services through this community crisis.

Email to schedule an equine assisted therapy appointment and receive safety protocol instructions eadgrandrapids@gmail.com


Our phone is 616-318-4919

Peace and Safety
Deb VanderBand, Executive Director

Equine Assisted Development is an EAGALA farm in the city, right in Grand Rapids, that makes quality, evidence-based equine therapy services available to our underserved communities. We want to serve through equine healing programs, partnerships, equine assisted learning & development.

Our most critical work is with at-risk clients referred to us by outside agencies throughout West Michigan. Our clients may have troubled histories: abuse, sex trafficking, addiction challenges, low self-worth, behavioral, and identity issues. We provide a safe space for those experiencing grief, depression, PTSD, anxiety, trauma victims, Alzheimers/Dementia, and much more. Equine assisted therapy is able to touch everyone and make an impact in healing and wholeness.

What Does Equine Therapy With EAD Look Like?

Our equine therapy experiential programs are grounded & interactive through a variety of non-riding activities. All of our equine therapy programs are facilitated by an equine specialist, a professional coach, & a therapist who process activities & emotions with participants.

How Does Equine Therapy Work?

Using dialog, horse-centered activities, observation, & open-ended questions, clients discover perceptions & mental processes behind their beliefs & actions. Equine Therapy helps people tell their story & find their own solutions in a non-judgemental, emotionally safe place - an arena & farm, right in the city, right where you are. 

What Is Equine Therapy's Impact?

Our Equine Therapy programs take place in the barn, arena, or pasture using unique interactions with horses. Equine Assisted sessions build upon each other to create new neural pathways for dealing with real life situations by engaging in critical thinking, communication, decision-making, personal growth, healing, & self-awareness.


My first experience with EAD was a team building activity with a large group at work. When reaching out to EAD, we focused on building trust and relationships while learning to work together as one team. What I discovered at EAD was so much more than that. The work that EAD does is life changing. Even a few hours with Deb and her team makes a difference. I can attest to this first hand. When I stepped into that arena, I discovered something inside myself as the horses came up to me. The horses were speaking to me. I felt uneasy, uncomfortable, and scared. But, I had to lead the group I was with and find a way to push through it. On my way home, I had to ask myself why was I scared? I have always loved horses, been horseback riding several times and even gone to horse camp when I was younger. Then I had a realization, I was in an unhealthy relationship. I knew my relationship was not good for me, but until that point, I did not know how abusive and toxic it was. That’s when I was able to start getting help and reached out to the center for women in transition.


Fast forward, it’s been 2 years and I am now back volunteering with Deb. The team building activity was a huge success at my previous employer, the team came back as a more cohesive unit and I came back stronger than ever over time.  As I was looking for ways to share my talents, strengths and stories, I kept being brought back to EAD, so I prayed on it for a couple of months and contacted Deb. I have been volunteering with the kids respite program, each week we see small but impactful changes in the children much like I saw in myself that day I spent a few hours at EAD. The children get the opportunity to be brave, build confidence, trust themselves, show discipline, have fun and do things they never thought they would be able to do. They are proud of the work they are doing each week and it is exciting to see how much they continue to grow in themselves.  

- Erica Herbig

© 2020 by Equine Assisted Development (EAD).

Section 501(c)(3) charitable organization

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