By Susan Bromley
Groveland Twp.- O.A.T.S. has moved to greener pastures.
After more than 20 years on Weidemann Drive in Brandon Township, Offering Alternative Therapy with Smiles has relocated more than 20 horses, a variety of farm animals, and an excited staff to a 40-acre farm at 4920 Groveland Road, where children and adults with special needs are welcome for horseback riding therapy and more.
The new place is a dream come true for Beth Pellerito, executive director of the non-profit organization.
“Now we have lush green pastures,” she said on a recent sunny afternoon. “We wanted to buy property that would allow us to grow and better suit our dreams and aspirations. We took the plunge.”
But that plunge, which allowed O.A.T.S. to get paddocks that weren’t knee deep in mud, sufficient stalls for horses (the new location has 24, where the former only had eight), more usable land, and a house as well, comes at a cost. She is planning no increases in fees to the 92 riders per week who receive therapy or to campers, but needs to fundraise to pay for making the facility more accessible for those with disabilities. She is also hoping for great attendance at the O.A.T.S. Mane Event, a grand opening for the new location planned for 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., June 25, 4920 Groveland Road. The event features a horse show with ribbons and trophies, concessions, vendors, and more.
“It’s open to everyone,” said Pellerito. “Come and enjoy the day and see what we do here. We are a volunteer organization and we need volunteers always.”
The facility has already been warmly received by the children and adults who benefit from equine therapy.
“For some autistic kids, change is hard, but they absolutely love it,” Pellerito said. “We are excited. The property belongs to all of the O.A.T.S. family. The opportunities here are endless.”
For more information, call 248-620-1775, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit oatshrh.org.