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Women's Lifestyle Magazine

Non-profit brings "Real Happiness" to Grand Rapids with Mobile Horse Therapy Unit

May 27, 2020 10:51AM ● By PRESS RELEASE
Grand Rapids, Mich - May 5th, 2020 - In the challenging and unknown times that Michigan has gone through the past several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local businesses, companies, and non-profits have been forced to improvise. Equine Assisted Development, an evidence-based horse therapy center, located in Grand Rapids was no exception. With social distancing and stay at home requirements, EAD has expanded its horse therapy services to those who need it most.

With 2020’s calendar year of programming and services put on hold, EAD is bringing the horses directly to the West Michigan community through the newly created “Real Happiness” Mobile Horse Therapy Unit. They’ve switched their in-person, hands-on model at the farm to bringing horses to the people. Two current visiting locations include Byron Manor and Railside Assisted Living, with preparations to visit Bethany Christian Services residential home. 

EAD is already preparing for an influx of service requests as Michigan is permitted to “re-open.” With mental illness on the rise in the last few weeks (one of their key program groups) EAD will be waiting as a place of hope and healing when the time comes. In addition, EAD is prepping for first-responder, medical professionals and EMT structured therapy days to allow those on the front lines to get the support and help they need.

“Because individuals and families are isolated, this is a critical time for us to bring hope and a smile with the experience of horses. It’s the least we can do in these unknown and uncertain times.” 

– Deb VanderBand, Executive Director

In effort to continue to positively impact the West Michigan community, EAD currently plans to offer horse therapy services during allotted days and times in the coming months free of charge to all service categories offered (Schools, Ministries, Assisted Living, Military, First Responders, Mental Health, Abuse Victims and Corporate) Details are currently pending with dates and times as the restrictions due to COVID-19 change on a weekly basis.

In effort to support the latter initiatives and with a lack of regular funding, EAD has launched a fundraising challenge in support of Mental Health Awareness month (May) through Go Fund Me’s charity platform. The $10 Gives Hope Mental Health Awareness Challenge encourages individuals to contribute 10 dollars to help our local community process the mental and psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All funds given will go towards the 2020 general fund to support the horses (feed, vet/farrier bills, bedding, etc), cover the costs of the mobile therapy horse unit and program outreach and development for those needing support through the free therapy days to be scheduled later this year. To contribute click here

For information Equine Assisted Development or how to book the "Real Happiness" Mobile Horse Therapy Unit, please visit: or email: [email protected] something to get started