A Meaningful Connection is Just Minutes Away

Owned and operated by Karin Schmidt, Karin’s Horse Connection and Legacy Stables is located on 28 beautiful acres just 15 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids. We offer horse lovers a full range of equestrian activities in a safe, relaxing, and family-friendly environment. While we cater primarily to new and inexperienced riders, we serve all ages, skill levels, and disciplines.  Open year-round, our highly qualified staff works with over 20 gentle and well-trained horses and ponies to provide a wide variety of riding programs, equestrian vaulting, and therapeutic programs.

Our focus is to offer riders a calm, relaxing environment in which to enjoy time with horses. Life is stressful enough, time at the barn should not be.

With over 20 horses we have something for everyone!

We offer a full range of equestrian activities and services including:

  • Quality riding lessons (English and Western)
  • Young Children KinderPony Program
  • Equestrian Vaulting
  • Therapeutic Riding/Adaptive Vaulting
  • One-Time Rides: Guided Riding In Open Terrain
  • Birthday Parties
  • Field Trips
  • Groups
  • ‘Own-A-Horse’ Camp
  • Amazing Graze
Core Values
We Care
  • About people.  We want them to feel loved and tickle out their potential for horses and for life.

  • About improving rider’s quality of life through more smiles, better physical fitness, balanced mind, healthy self-esteem, and good social skills.

  • We do not make a difference, everyone is treated with the same respect and dignity.

We Share
  • Our passion, our horses, our place, our skills/knowledge/experience, and our Christian faith.

  • Our peaceful atmosphere and laid back, positive attitude.

We are Honest and Transparent
  • We have nothing to hide.  Our vision, goals, and plans are communicated regularly.

  • Our finances are in order.

We Work Professionally
  • High quality horses and training.

  • Well skilled and trained staff.

  • Well developed curriculum for all programs.

  • We have an emphasis on being educational and improving riding skills.

  • Insurance, Financials, Emergency Procedures are in place and get reviewed and updated regularly.

We are Laidback and Positive 
  • See above 😉

  • Gossip, bad language, and drama are discouraged.

  • We are grateful and do not take things for granted

  • We consciously work to provide a fun atmosphere

We want to be a good example of a well-run Equestrian Facility
  • By doing things in a way that other facilities want to copy.

  • We mentor staff to be successful in their future and replicate our purpose and business concept.

Our Story – A Love Letter to Charley The First

Since I was a little girl I desperately longed for having my own horse. Fortunately there were people along my way that had mercy and let me ride their’s. Horses were my life and I made them my living. I rode hundreds of horses, …. but I never had my own.

…. Until YOU, MY Charley entered my life. November 7, 2004, 15 years ago today, you became my very own, very first horse! …. and then we bought a new halter. This is how it all started. I shared you with others, gave therapeutic riding lessons on you and trained you to become our first vaulting horse.

And now, look what has become! Karin’s Horse Connection and Legacy Stables, 25 horses and ponies, 10+ staff, and hundreds of riders of all abilities, ages, and different walk of lives. Amazing!

Charley, you touched countless lives. But most of all you touched Leoni and me. Through you, Charley, it became possible to live my dream. 
Every day I hear laughter and see joy here at the farm, and kids tell me with sparkles in their eyes about their dreams of having their own horse some day…. , and often how they’d share it with others.

But back to you Charley. You are semi retired now. You are still here, out in the pasture “South America”, together with your buddies. One of them is Charles The Great. He is bigger than you, younger, smoother, a hero in the movie Horse Dancer and he was a participant in the World Equestrian Games last year…. , a horse that lives up to his name.
But you, Charley, you will always be my CHARLEY THE FIRST!!!
Thank you! I love you!
And today the bag of carrots is for you ALONE!

Ps: Our slogan here is “You don’t have to own a horse, you can fall in love with ours!”

Name Explanation

Over the years we have grown, offered new services, and with this growth came name changes. When we first started our business, we were called “A Vaulting Connection, LLC” because we founded our vaulting club at the same time.  We had one horse we used for both vaulting and therapeutic riding. A Vaulting Connection, LLC was confusing for our clients with special needs because they didn’t vault.  A couple of years later, we applied for nonprofit status and changed the name to Therapeutic Horse Connection to better represent the nonprofit’s core mission. While this was occurring, we had some highly competitive vaulters competing at national level, and wanted to ensure the judges knew they weren’t therapeutic competitors. So neither Therapeutic Horse Connection nor A Vaulting Connection really worked for us as a name.

At that time, I did not have my own stable, and so we chose Karin’s Horse Connection for our business and left Therapeutic Horse Connection/A Vaulting Connection for our nonprofit.

In 2012 we bought our property, a farm with the land. We built pastures, stalls, an indoor arena, and live here now with 25 horses. We called it Legacy Stables. The next logical step was to change the name for the business to Legacy Stables LLC. This freed up the name Karin’s Horse Connection, which we then used as DBA for Therapeutic Horse Connection. This way, our special needs clients, as well as our competing vaulters, can feel good to be under the same roof.

Our Staff
Karin Schmidt
Karin Schmidt
Grace Peterson
Grace Peterson
Owner & Program Director
Leoni Dekkinga
Leoni Dekkinga
Owner & Administrative Director
Check out life around the stables

Our focus is to offer riders a calm, relaxing environment in which to enjoy time with horses. Life is stressful enough, time at the barn should not be. Click on a photo to see more.