Long-time Member of the TEC Horse Team to Receive Michiana Award – Heart of the Horse

Long-time Member of the TEC Horse Team to Receive Michiana Award – Heart of the Horse


     Watervliet, MI – April 2, 2021 – The Therapeutic Equestrian Center (TEC) is pleased to announce that one of their long-time horse team members – Garth – will be recognized as the 2020 Heart of the Horse honoree.  The award will be presented to Garth at the TEC barn in Watervliet (615 N. M-140) on Tuesday, April 6, 2021, at 4 p.m.


     The Heart of the Horse Award was established by Cathy and Bill Alwine in 2013 as a way to honor their own horse – Boru, who had a heart as big as he was.  Boru stood 17.1 hands high and embodied a kind, gentle spirit.  The award is not about singling out one horse but rather about celebrating the “heart” of horses across the Michiana area.  It’s meant to recognize the impact a horse can have on the people it touches during his lifetime.


Boru was an Irish Draught/Cleveland Bay cross imported from Ireland.  His original owners gave him to Janeen Pasquill after an injured retired him from his career as a fox hunter.  He served as a babysitter for Janeen’s younger horses, took beginners on rides around the pen, and was a therapy horse until early 2013.  At that point, he came out of retirement and was leased to the Alwines to serve as Cathy’s dressage riding partner.  Sadly, Boru passed away in the fall of 2013 after being struck by lightning.  Had the bolt of lightning missed him, it would have possibly hit the electric transformer, traveled along the ground, and killed all the horses in the pasture.  This gentle giant helped so many in his 22 years, including his pasture mates at the end of his life.


     Garth is another gentle giant.  At 29-years old, he has served as a therapeutic horse making “I Did It!” moments happenfor participants of TEC since 2008.  He’s a HalflingerQuarter Horse cross that stands 14 hands high.  Being as tall as he is wide makes him ideal for riders with balance issues who need a broad base of support.  And his laid-back, patient personality is perfect for participants who may be experiencing emotional outbursts.


      “He has been a blessing for TEC; in our 14-year history, no other horse has given more or made such an impact on participants and volunteers as Garth has,” said Autumn Zick, TEC’s Board President and PATH-certified riding instructor.  “In fact, I can honestly say that in my 40-year career, he’s the very best horse I have worked with.”


      Many at TEC refer to Garth as a “go-to” horse.  He’s the perfect size for both children and adults, and can sense what each needs.  He has energy but also a calm temperament.  Garth has been known to give gentle nudges to riders and volunteers as a sign of encouragement, he’s taught countless beginners how to halter a horse, he’s been hand-painted by school children, and the list goes on.  Words often used to describe Garth, include: intuitive, versatile, uncomplicated, rock solid, a teacher, and the perfect horse.  It’s these characteristics that make Garth a Heart of Horse Award honoree.


      The media is invited to partake in celebrating Garth at the TEC barn (615 N. M-140) on Tuesday, April 6, 2021, at 4 p.m.  Due to COVID, there will be a limited number of participants, volunteers, and instructors available at the barn for interviewing.  Masks are required and appropriate COVID safety measures will be in place as well.

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Since 2006, TEC has been making “I Did It!” moments happen.  TEC is a nonprofit service organization that provides year-round, horse-related activities, and therapeutic riding to people living with special needs.  All programs at TEC are designed to help participants find hope, reach beyond their expectations, and discover unlimited possibilities.  This is done by engaging the power of horses to challenge, inspire, and strengthen participants’ bodies, minds, and spirits.  TEC is open to residents young and old living with special needs in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties.  There is also a dedicated program for veterans, active members of the military, and their families.  To learn more about TEC, visit www.tecfarm.org.

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