Sugarland performs at Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding

A surprise performance as Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles joined the stage in front of an audience of around 250 guests of the Equest center.

Country music duo played to celebrate local friend and athlete, Johnny Agar

Johnny Agar, with parents Becki and Jeff Agar enjoy the concert.
Photo by Zoë Newmann.

By Zoë Newmann

Sugarland performed a private concert in Rockford Michigan last week.

Before Sugarland’s  show at Van Andel Arena, the band played at the Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding, Friday, August, 10.

The country music artists played to help bring awareness to the Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding and to honor a local friend, Johnny Agar, an athlete with cerebral palsy. Johnny Agar competes in triathlons with his father Jeff. The family is a supporter of the Equest Center and is very involved in its events.

Thad Beaty, lead guitarist of Sugarland, is now the Agar’s trainer for the triathlons they participate in. This happened after Johnny and his father participated in Ironman triathlons twice but failed to complete it.

“I am so grateful they came to play for everyone,” Becki Agar, mother of Johnny said.

Due to this relationship, Sugarland asked the Agar family what they could do to help out in the Grand Rapids community, and they suggested the Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding in Rockford.

Scott Patton, Travis McNabb, Annie Clements, and Thad Beaty perform together.

“Country music and horses go well together,” Johnny said.

The event was a private concert for volunteers, families and friends. The event brought a lot of joy to the community members and anyone who attended. There was a lot of dancing, smiling and laughter that filled the crowd.

“I think it is important for bands like Sugarland to come out to see the community they play in,” Johnny said. “It speaks to what kind  of band they are.”

The Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding is a nonprofit organization in Rockford. It has been in the community for 29 years. The Equest Center has used horses as a form of therapy for people of all ages with physical as well as social and emotional challenges.

Mini horse, Flicka, enjoying the music and a mouthful of grass.

A crowd of about 250 volunteers, families and friends of the Equest Center were invited to the special performance by the hit country group.