Pork Stories

Horse nonprofit gallops away with $1M from taxpayers

Legislative earmark for Detroit Horse Power is intended to build a Detroit equestrian center

A horseback riding nonprofit will receive $1 million in the 2024 Michigan budget in order to build an equestrian center in the city of Detroit.

Detroit Horse Power was founded in 2015 to teach Detroit students to ride and develop skills that will assist with their “academic, career, and life success,” according to its website.

The organization holds summer equestrian camps in suburban locations, teaching middle and high school students how to ride and care for horses. It plans to build a facility near Linwood Street and Fenkell Avenue in Detroit, according to the group’s Facebook page. Founder and CEO David Silver told CBS Detroit July 23 that the organization serves an average of 100 students each summer.

Detroit Horse Power has enjoyed increasing net revenue in recent years. It reported revenue of $313,210 for 2019 and $587,310 in 2020. That increased substantially in 2021, to $1,075,890. The group hit its stride in 2022, with $2,078,672, according to IRS Form 990s available on GuideStar.org. It reported receiving $800,000 in government grants in 2021.

Democrats in Michigan control the state House and Senate, as well as the governor’s office. Of the $1.3 billion in district pork projects approved in the 2024 state budget, 90% went to districts represented by Democrats. The Citizens Research Council classified 65% of these as "eleventh-hour earmarks." They did not appear in the Executive Budget, nor in either of the budget bills that passed the House and Senate.

Michigan’s $81.7 billion 2024 budget spent most of the state’s $9 billion surplus — an unsustainable spending rate, according to James Hohman, director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

CapCon went right to the source, but Detroit Horse Power did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.