Sure, she was on a pony by the age of five, but the plush fairway of a golf course is where Dena’s passion for horses ignited into action. Intrigued by the horses and their riders walking the trail alongside the 9th hole, she finished the junior golf clinic, ran to investigate and discovered her happy place: Potter Stables where she signed up for riding lessons and took to her path.
Summers growing up in Michigan were all about riding, caring for, respecting and connecting with horses and others who shared her enthusiasm. Owning a horse taught her discipline and dedication and helped her make sense of life. Her summers guiding others on the trails turned into a lifetime love for horses and the gifts they bestow.
Prior to college she temporarily traded horses for a Ford Mustang and soon drove off to pursue her degree. Initially a pre-law major, an influential professor and William Shakespeare persuaded her to pursue her B.A. degree in Renaissance Literature, and post-graduate work at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. She was writing quite a life story.
The allure of California’s extraordinary weather and beaches made relocation after graduation a foregone conclusion. Drawn to the arts, including 10 years playing classic piano, she found satisfaction working for a Fortune 500 company selling and designing lighting projects. She eventually settled in the interior design space where she achieved her B.A. degree, and serves as a Consultant today. Her affinity for wondering, and wandering furniture stores as a child definitely played a role in her endeavors.
Like so many others, Dena’s interest in equine-assisted psychotherapy stems from life’s struggles. Up close and personal impact was felt when a family member’s severe illness posed extreme challenges. At the height of the journey she turned to her retired thoroughbred horse Merlin for comfort – as usual. One night while seeking refuge on the sofa, Dena saw the documentary Saratoga Warhorse about retired thoroughbreds being rescued and repurposed for equine-assisted psychotherapy. Once again these horses caught her eye and she knew she had to take action.
Dena arrived at Rise Canyon Ranch to complete her Eagala certification as an Equine Specialist and made an immediate connection with the surroundings and the staff. Merlin did too and will join the team of horses bringing healing to those in need. Dena lends her creativity to Rise Canyon Ranch by designing activities and programs for children. She wholeheartedly believes that the law of attraction plays heavily in her life, which consistently brings her back to the comfort and grounding essence of a horse stable. She knows it. She feels it. She’s home.
WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY
B.A. Renaissance Literature & Pre-Law
INTERIOR DESIGN INSTITUTE
B.A. Interior Design
Eagala Certified Equine Specialist
Horse Powered Reading Instruction