40 years of equest

Take a walk back in time, and revisit some of Equest's greatest achievements in the last 40 years!

1981

  • Equest, originally knows as "Freedom Ride Foundation" is founded by Evelyn Zembrod and Susan Schwartz

  • 1 instructor, 1 horse, 2 riders, 4 volunteers 

  • Click here to read more about Equest's inception

1983

  • 60 riders annually

  • 1st Exhibition Performance with 8 riders at Willow Bend Polo

1984

  • 94 riders annually, 2 instructors, 6 horses 

  • Freedom Ride Foundation becomes affiliated with NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association)

  • Riders Brenda French, Lisa Gold, and Jim Barton, with coach Evelyn Zembrod selected for Team USA-International Games for the Disabled in New York
     

1985

  • Julie Butterfield is hired as 1st Executive Director

1986

  • Freedom Ride becomes Equest

  • New logo is designed

  • Profits from the Royal Ascot West Party raised enough funds to purchase Equest facility

  • Louise Griffeth begins Women’s Auxiliary 
     

1987

  • 1st Instructor Training Course is taught at Equest

  • Riders Brenda French and Jim Barton, with coach Evelyn Zembrod selected for Team USA-International Dressage Championship for the Disabled in Sweden

  • Program moves from Zembrod Ranch to Summertree Stables

  • Gail Pace and Susan Schwartz step up to acting Head Instructors

  • Equest hires Lili Kellogg as Head Instructor 
     

1988

  • Equest moves to new facility in Wylie, Texas

1989

  • 277 riders annually

  • Meadow Foundation retires debt on the facility

  • Rider Sylvia Gonzalez with coach Lili Kellogg selected for Team USA- Special Olympic World Games in Minneapolis

  • James Brady comes to Ridefest as Honorary Chairman 
     

1990

  • Rider Brenda French, with coach Lili Kellogg selected to Team USA-World Disabled Sports Championship in Holland 

1991

  • OT/PT is added to the curriculum

  • Cindy Thomas is hired as first Physical Therapist

  • 10 Year Anniversary

1992

  • Equest/Texas A&M Partnership in Excellence is formed

1993

  • Miss Velvet wins NARHA Region 8 Horse of the Year 

1994

  • Rider Tony Hojnacki, with coaches Lili Kellogg and Gail Pace selected for Team USA-World Dressage Championship for Disabled Riders in England

  • South stable addition is funded by EDS

  • Cookies and Cream wins NARHA Region 8 Horse of the Year

  • Equest horses, riders and instructors filmed in a Walker Texas Ranger episode.

1996

  • Receives NARHA Premier Accreditation

  • Program Director’s home is moved to Wylie facility

  • Rider Tony Hojnacki, with coaches Lili Kellogg and Gail Pace selected to Team USA- ’96 Paralympics, Atlanta

  • Therapeutic Carriage Driving is added to curriculum

1998

  • Nannie Hogan Boyd Trust donates F-350 XL diesel truck for hauling horses 

1999

  • Joe M. and Doris R. Dealey Family Foundation wing office complex is built

  • Adjacent 14 acres are acquired

  • Farm Manager’s house is purchased

  • Sundowner Trailer is donated by Sundowner Trailers and TQHA Members 

2000

  • Princess Anne visits Equest

  • Rider Tony Hojnacki wins NARHA Adult Independent Rider of the Year award

  • Carol Chamberlin wins NARHA Region 8 Volunteer of the Year

2001

  • Deb Lewin wins NARHA Independent Adult Rider of the Year Award

  • 20th Anniversary

2002

  • Program Director Lili Kellogg wins the NARHA James Brady Professional Lifetime Achievement Award 

2003

  • Riders Stacey Johnson and Amy Bentler, with coach Katie Miller are selected to Team USA- World Special Olympic World Games in Ireland

  • Stacey Johnson wins NARHA Adult Rider of the Year Award

  • Equest begins winning AQHA Equestrians with Disabilities end of the year awards

2004

  • Mrs. Butterworth wins NARHA Horse of the Year Award

  • Susan Schwartz wins NARHA National Volunteer of the Year Award

2006

  • 31 therapy horses, 400 riders annually, over 300 volunteers

  • Outdoor arena is renovated thanks to the Margot W. and Ben H. Mitchell Fund of the Communities Foundation of Texas

  • Therapeutic Vaulting is added to curriculum

  • Gail Pace wins NARHA Instructor of the Year

  • Bobby Valdez wins NARHA Region 8 Volunteer of the Year

2007

  • Rider James Taylor selected for Team USA- Special Olympic World Games in China

  • Planning stages for a potential second Equest facility, to be located in the Texas Horse Park, an addition to the Trinity River Project in Downtown Dallas

  • Susie Q wins NARHA Region 8 Horse of the Year

2008

  • Amy Causey hired as Program Director

2009

  • True Eyed Jack wins NARHA Region 8 Horse of the Year

2010

  • Services for Veterans in development stages

2011

  • Equest acquires first Mini Ambassadors, Sugar and Tex

  • NARHA becomes Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International (PATH, Int.’l)

  • 30th Anniversary

2013

  • Gail Pace wins PATH Int’l. James Brady Professional Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Rachel Hustis wins PATH Int'l. Adult Equestrian Recognition Award

  • Hooves for Heroes Veterans program begins under direction of Jeff Hensley and Susannah Denney

  • Al Hill, Jr. donates naming gift for Al Hill, Jr. covered arena at Texas Horse Park

  • Read's Noble Gil wins PATH Int'l. Region 8 Horse of the Year Award

  • Joan Cutler hired as Program Director

2014

  • Equest receives 2-year Crystal Charity Ball grant for children’s program expansion

  • Romvaldo "Aldy" Saturino wins PATH Int'l. Equine Services for Heroes Equestrian Award

2015

  • Ribbon cutting for Equest-Texas Horse Park facility

  • First semester of programs begin at Texas Horse Park

  • Equest wins CNM Connect Nonprofit of the Year Award

  • Amigos In Jags wins PATH Intl. Region 8 Horse of the Year Award

2016

  • Equest celebrates 35th Anniversary

  • Lili Kellogg becomes CEO of Equest

2017

  • Equest sells Wylie facility and consolidates all operations to the Texas Horse Park

2018

  • Amy Causey re-hired as Program Director

2019

  • Terry Wilk wins PATH Int’l Volunteer of the Year Award

  • Joan Cutler wins PATH Int’l Credentialed Professional of the Year Award

  • Volunteer Teresa Fishman wins Dallas “Good Works Under 40” Award and $10,000 gift for Equest

  • Ground breaking for the construction of Al Hill, Jr covered arena
     

2020

  • Dr. Kenton Arnold (Equest’s Vet) wins PATH Int’l Region 8 Veterinarian of the Year Award

  • Equest survives COVID – 19 Pandemic

2021

  • Equest celebrates 40th Anniversary

  • Completion of the Al Hill Jr. Arena