Alumna Designs Facility for Equine Therapy Center

by Emily Finlay, Public Relations Writer

Cedarville University innovative and industrial design alumna used her capstone project as an opportunity to design a therapeutic riding center’s dream facility.

Mary Dennis, a 2013 graduate, first learned of the need through the center’s owner, Jen King, who was a friend of her family. When King learned that Dennis was looking for a capstone project, she offered the opportunity to design the facility for the program she owns with her husband, Tim, in Delaware, Ohio. The center, Equine Alley, offers equine therapy for children with physical and mental disabilities. Games that involve counting and sight words help the children in school and riding increases muscle tone and confidence, enabling them to face fears in a safe environment while connecting to the horses and instructors.

Dennis observed the facility the center was currently using and then met with King and a few of the center’s volunteers to create a wish list for a new facility, which included a large indoor arena, two offices/therapy rooms, an observation room for parents and siblings, six horse stalls, and a handicap accessible bathroom. She then made the design, creating a facility that was unique and perfect for the program’s work. The Kings were excited by the plans, which will help expand their program and will hopefully be completed in the next 10 years.

Jen King said Dennis’ design will definitely help the center, especially as it allows them to be competitive when applying for grants in the future, and that it was reflective of Equine Alley’s spirit.

“Mary exceeded expectations with the design,” King said. “She did a great job, really thorough, and her design will help in every adventure we have.”

Dennis said she enjoyed working on the project and felt as if her time in the innovative and industrial design program helped prepare her for the three-month task.  

“It was an amazing opportunity to be involved in the beginning stages of such a unique program,” Dennis said. “It’s really impactful because it is set up as if you’re working in a design firm. It gives you a good taste of design.”

Dennis said the project helped broaden her interests into architectural design. She is currently employed as an assistant in a law firm and hopes to work in the field of interior design.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,400 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Inspiring greatness for over 125 years, Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at