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About Our Founder and Executive Director:
Madison Berridge

Madison Berridge, born and raised in St. Johns, MI, discovered her passion for horses at a young age. Growing up with her parents and two younger brothers, Madison's fascination with these majestic creatures was evident from the start. As a child, she immersed herself in books about horses, eager to learn everything she could about their care and companionship.

At the age of 12, Madison's parents arranged a free lease of a pony from their neighbors, despite not being horse enthusiasts themselves. Recognizing her daughter's passion, they enrolled Madison in the Rose Lake Pony Club, providing her with the opportunity to deepen her understanding of horse care and equestrianism.

By the age of 16, Madison had embarked on her own journey in horsemanship, training a four-year-old horse up to the Novice level in eventing. This early experience instilled in her a profound appreciation for the bond between humans and horses, as well as the therapeutic potential of equine interactions.

Madison's first exposure to Equine Assisted Wellness came at the age of 14 when she volunteered with Kathy Glew and Hands on Harmony. This initial encounter ignited her interest in utilizing horses as a tool for therapeutic interventions. In her first year of college Madison participated in an Alternative Spring Break trip to Minnesota, where she volunteered with Riding on Angel's Wings, a renowned Equine Assisted Therapy Program. 

Her academic journey led her to Grand Valley State University's Therapeutic Recreation Program, where she underwent fieldwork experience at Ascendigo Autism Services in Carbondale, CO.

During her time at Ascendigo Autism Services, Madison was responsible for implementing Equine Assisted Therapy programs at the ranch. The profound impact of these programs on the participants further solidified Madison's determination to incorporate Equine Assisted Therapy into her future endeavors. Madison's dedication to the field led her to seek out opportunities for continued learning and growth. 

Madison graduated from Grand Valley State University with a BS in Therapeutic Recreation and her certification as a CTRS (Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist). Madison returned to her hometown of Saint Johns, MI following her studies and knew she wanted to create her own therapeutic riding program. Madison works full time for the Michigan Army National Guard as the Child and Youth Programs Coordinator and runs Elevate on the side.

As the Executive Director of Elevate Equine Assisted Therapy, Madison combines her expertise in recreational therapy with her profound love for horses to create transformative experiences for individuals facing various challenges. Through her leadership, Elevate Equine Assisted Therapy continues to expand its reach and make a meaningful impact in the lives of its participants, embodying Madison's lifelong commitment to serving others through the power of equine interactions.

Elevate's Story

Elevate Equine Assisted Therapy emerged as a beacon of hope and healing in June of 2020, igniting its mission to serve individuals facing various challenges through the transformative power of equine interactions. Founded with a vision to make a difference in the lives of others, Elevate began its journey by piloting its program, initially serving just six clients per week with one dedicated Equine Partner.

Driven by a commitment to expand its reach and impact, Elevate took a significant step forward in the spring of 2021 by filing for 501(c)3 non-profit status. This milestone marked a pivotal moment in Elevate's evolution, solidifying its dedication to serving the community and fostering positive change through equine-assisted therapy. In July of 2021, Elevate's non-profit status was officially granted, opening doors to new opportunities and avenues for growth.

Since attaining non-profit status, Elevate has remained steadfast in its mission, continually growing and expanding its programs to better serve those in need. By 2023, Elevate's impact had multiplied, with a minimum of 16 clients per week benefiting from its services, supported by a team of four devoted Equine Partners.

In 2024, Elevate reached a significant milestone with the launch of its community outreach program, made possible through invaluable partnerships with Meijer and Liquid Cares. This initiative exemplifies Elevate's commitment to extending its reach beyond traditional therapy settings, reaching out to those who may benefit from equine-assisted interventions but may not have had access otherwise.

Further solidifying its dedication to expanding its programs and impact, Elevate secured a standalone stable in 2024. This new facility provides a dedicated space for Elevate to continue its mission of healing and empowerment through equine interactions, allowing for even greater opportunities for growth and service to the community.

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