The mission of Equine Assisted Development of Grand Rapids began over 16 years ago with the vision of one woman, Deb VanderBand and her yearling horse, Cochise. After officially obtaining an LLC status in 2006 and later non-profit status, VanderBand continues with the same simple idea: connecting horses and people. Over the years, Equine Assisted Development has become an opportunity for people like you to help horses help people through the giving of time, expertise, and monetary support.

Equine Assisted Development is located at

3224 32nd Street in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Our address is unique in that we are a farm of 26 acres in the middle of the city. Equine Assisted Development provides unique equine therapy experiences for a variety of people, groups, and ages. Every session is an on-ground (meaning - no riding), client-led, and interactive experience for personal growth and healing through a variety of non-riding activities. And because our sessions are grounded, no prior experience with horses is necessary to participate in any of our programs.


Sessions are facilitated by a certified equine specialist and mental health professional who process activities with participants for self-discovery. Through the use of metaphoric dialogue, observation, and open-ended questions, clients discover perceptions and mental processes behind their beliefs and actions. Horses are used to help people tell their story and find their own solutions in a non-judgmental, emotionally safe place.


Equine therapy sessions take place in the barn, arena, or pasture depending on the needs of the client and nature of the activity. There is a place for everyone at Equine Assisted Development of Grand Rapids. We provide our services to people from all different backgrounds. Our goal is to be a place of healing, leaving each person with a sense of hope.


We want you to leave our farm different than you arrived.
We believe one life changed can change a community.


As believers in Jesus Christ, and the Gospel, John 10:10 pushes us to the why of hope and how of science. We believe in Scripture, and the Holy Spirit. We are the hands and feet of Jesus, wishing to be a light people run to, as we point people to Jesus.

Real Happiness Begins in a Stable.


​Hope • Honesty • Respect • Integrity
Optimism • Perseverance • Dignity • Endurance


To be a place in the city for all to come who are looking for hope, healing, restoration or self-discovery through the unique use of experiential interaction with horses.

Equine Assisted Development offers individual sessions, group sessions and retreat therapy programs through financial donors, scholarships and partnerships committed to furthering equine assisted learning, growth and development. EAD offers client's two distinct forms of therapy, first the EAGALA Model - equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP) and second, equine assisted learning (EAL).


The EAGALA Model is considered the gold standard for equine assisted psychotherapy and personal development. Clients looking to utilize EAP therapy are required to provide their own licensed therapist to accompany therapy sessions to work alongside an EAGALA certified horse specialist and those interested in EAL, work solely with an EAGALA certified horse specialist.
Please note, client's that fall within the military program group MUST utilize EAP therapy and provide their own licensed therapist.

We are conveniently located along the city bus route making us accessible for clients for whom transportation is a barrier. Our farm is a beacon of hope and fresh air within the hustle and bustle of industry and city life. We are not what anyone would expect when they hear 'horse farm' because we are just a few blocks from 28th street, shopping, and dining. Our urban existence allows us to impact the community in which we live because we meet our clients right where they are, right in the city, right in our community.


EAD provides a safe, calm space for individuals experiencing grief, depression, PTSD, anxiety, trauma, Alzheimer's, Dementia and other psychological issues. We believe that EAGALA equine assisted therapy and equine assisted learning can lead to healing, growth, and a better understanding of ourselves, our patterns, and our personal barriers in life.

Equine Assisted Therapy is unique and universal in its ability to make a positive impact on every individual who works with our horses, providing healing to various forms of trauma. EAD wants to bring that healing to our clients, our city, and our community.​

​Our most critical EAGALA equine therapy work is done with at-risk clients referred to us by outside agencies throughout West Michigan (such as Manasseh Project, Family Outreach Center, Arbor Circle and public schools with high at-risk populations). Our clients may have troubled histories: abuse, sex trafficking, addiction challenges, self-worth, behavioral, and identity issues.

For more information on the EAGALA Model, visit www.EAGALA.org

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© 2021 by Equine Assisted Development (EAD).

Section 501(c)(3) charitable organization

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