With a mission to encourage and promote the health, well-being, and happiness of handicapped individuals through horseback riding and related activities, O.A.T.S. (Offering Alternative Therapy with Smiles), provides equine therapy and activities for individuals of all ages and disabilities. Equine therapy is an alternative form of therapy that brings not only physical and mental benefits, but much enjoyment, friendship, and a sense of well-being to its participants.
Accredited through Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH International), O.A.T.S. offers programs year-round, with summer being the most popular time to ride. During the warmer months, O.A.T.S. serves more than 100 special needs children and adults each week. School groups and other organizations can also participate in specially designed program days.
As an avid and passionate equestrian, Jocelyn Hagerman, CEO of The Hagerman Foundation, knows firsthand the physical and mental benefits of working with horses. When The Hagerman Foundation was approached by O.A.T.S. about shelters for the horses, it was a perfect opportunity to blend her personal passion with philanthropy. The Foundation supported a grant for the construction of outdoor shelters to protect the horses from the elements. “Too much stall time can have profound negative impacts on horses physically, emotionally, and psychologically,” said Elizabeth Pellerito, executive director of O.A.T.S. “The grant will allow O.A.T.S. to keep our horses, the centerpiece of our program, healthy.”