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Rock band’s $10K donation aids MTSU equine therapy...

Rock band’s $10K donation aids MTSU equine therapy efforts with vets

A second $10,000 donation in a year’s time from Grammy Award-nominated Mississippi rock band 3 Doors Down’s Better Life Foundation will continue to benefit MTSU students and faculty working in equine therapy with veterans from the Murfreesboro-based Veterans Recovery Center.

The money is earmarked for an outdoor training area and meeting space needed for the program, which began in 2013. The band’s foundation also gave a $10,000 donation in 2017.

A second $10,000 check from the Better Life Foundation will assist MTSU horse science's equine therapy for veterans

Along with horses used in the equine therapy program for veterans, those attending a recent luncheon at the MTSU Foundation House on West Thompson Lane are shown with a $10,000 check from the Better Life Foundation for the Center of Equine Recovery for Veterans program in horse science. This is the second such gift from the foundation for the rock band 3 Doors Down. (Submitted photo by Ashley Foster)

The Center of Equine Recovery for Veterans, or CERV program, is a partnership between the Veterans Recovery Center, a psychosocial rehabilitation center, and MTSU Horse Science.

CERV offers VRC veterans an opportunity to ride and benefit from interacting with horses while MTSU students gain valuable experience in helping facilitate the sessions.

“We are so grateful for another donation,” said Andrea Rego, an MTSU Horse Science instructor. “We hope to build a fantastic permanent outdoor trail obstacle course, along with a meeting area for goal sessions. We believe this will enhance the veterans’ time at horse science and allow for more challenging obstacles for them to overcome.”

A local veteran rides Allie in the CERV program.

With help from an MTSU horse science student, a local veteran rides Floyd, a 9-year-old Tennessee walking horse, in the CERV program. (MTSU photo by Ashley Foster)

Rego said one of the veterans told her he was “in my own little bubble that I couldn’t get out of. This has rocked my world and I can’t thank everyone enough.”

Along with veterans in the program, among those attending the recent donation luncheon at the MTSU Foundation House were 3 Doors Down singer Brad Arnold; his wife, Jen Arnold, a noted barrel race competitor; Brian McSpadden, recreation therapist with the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System’s Alvin C. York campus; and MTSU horse science faculty member Holly Spooner, Rhonda Hoffman, Ariel Herron and Rego.

The gathering also included MTSU graduate and Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies class students.

Horse Science is in the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience — one of 11 College of Basic and Applied Sciences departments. For more information, call 615-898-2832.

MTSU has more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.

— Randy Weiler (

A local veteran rides Allie in the MTSU horse science CERV program.

A local veteran in the equine therapy program rides Allie, a 14-year-old Tennessee walking horse with a docile temperament and smooth gait, making her a valuable asset to the CERV program. (MTSU photo by Ashley Foster)