OUR TEAM

Comprised of volunteers, instructors, staff, and the founders John and Beckie Thompson, the Green Meadow Farm team is a reflection of individual gifts and of collaborative efforts contributing to the heart of the lesson program.

Keri Altland – Lesson Instructor & Instructor Support

Whenever I pull into the driveway of Green Meadow Farm, I feel like I am transported to another world. I feel peaceful and comforted and happy. This is a place that I truly enjoy working and spending time. My favorite places to be are the meadows next to the stream where I find quiet places to think and pray. My hope is that all who come to Green Meadow Farm experience these same types of transformative emotions.

I am an Occupational Therapist and an animal-lover at heart. It has been a dream of mine for many years to combine these two loves into one passion. When this opportunity was presented to me, I was so very grateful and excited to join this team of amazing people who love horses and care deeply about children and families.

I am married to my high-school sweetheart, Nathan. We have three children. Quinn joined our family in February 2012 by way of adoption from Ghana. She loves coming to the farm and loves to pet Belle. Mason is our animal enthusiast and loves all things furry or feathery. His favorite things to do at the farm are feed the horses and chickens, play with the cats, and collect eggs. Seth also joined our family in September 2012 from Ghana. He enjoys petting Domino and pulling “Ned” the water tank. In my spare time, I love to drink lots of coffee, bake pies, and go for long hikes.

Betty Baltozer – Lesson Instructor & Office Manager

For as long as I can remember I was “into” horses. It was a way to escape the life challenges in difficult growing up years. As a child, I read books on horses, watched TV shows about horses, dreamed of horses, drew horses on every piece of paper I could get, played “horse” with my friends, rode the neighbor’s plow horses (as they were plowing) or a friend’s horse, but when I was 21 I finally got a horse of my own.

Having horses of my own through the years, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned how to be patient, kind, nurturing, encouraging and when life calls for it, how to be firm and disciplined. I was in rhythm with life on the back of a horse and working with horses! It was through giving riding lessons to kids that I learned empathy and compassion for those that were hurting and facing those same challenges in their tender years. I firmly believe that God in his infinite wisdom, privileged me with difficult young years so that he could use me to influence His Kingdom in my adult years. For most of my life I’ve had opportunity both vocationally and in my personal life to be involved in ministry to children/youth and their families. It is my passion to help families navigate the sometimes difficult road they may face.

I heard about Green Meadows Farm from a couple different people in passing, and one day in the Fall of 2013 when I was out and about with a friend, on a whim we decided to stop by and check it out. I liked what I saw and, as I spoke with Beckie, I felt the heart beat of the farm. I was invited to be a part of the team and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! I enjoy the animals, the calming atmosphere of the farm and, most of all, the children that I have been privileged to connect with in lessons.

Bri Beiler – Lesson Instructor

I’ve always loved horses and was fortunate enough to be able to compete during high school, earning two varsity letters through the USEF. For five years I focused on three day eventing with my beloved thoroughbred. I gained a strong relationship with him and learned how to communicate with, care for, and better understand these big, beautiful animals.

I graduated from high school in 2016 and started working full time, making the difficult decision to find another home for my horse, as I knew that I could no longer give him the time and attention he wanted and needed.

It was in this tough season of life that I discovered Green Meadow – online. I knew I needed to find another horse-y adventure to focus on, and I was intrigued by Green Meadow’s strong desire to a) serve the Lord, b) work with children and c) work with horses – all things that I am passionate about!  I have learned so much here about creating even deeper relationship with horses and I can’t wait to continue learning.

Today, I am a full-time college student working toward my bachelor’s degree in social work.  My goal is to become a clinical social worker and ultimately work with horses and hurting people.  I also love spending time with friends and family, riding any horse I can, and going camping.

Bree Bryant – Lesson Instructor & Horse Training Coordinator

My mother had always wanted a horse of her own since she was a little girl so when I was 8 years old and started asking for a pony, she jumped at the chance to fulfill both our childhood dreams.  I very soon joined the local Pony Club and 4-H, eager to learn as much about horses as I possibly could.  I worked at barns and took on training projects all through high school.  

When I went off to college, I competed in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association but made sure to organize my schedule so I could work at the barn every weekend we didn’t have a show. During the summers, I gave lessons, trained horses and helped run horse camps.  I also started supplementing my college education with Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) accreditation and training with the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA).  

During that time, I started to feel a calling to ministry, but I loved my horses too much to completely surrender that part of my life.  I remember asking God to make it obvious to me if horses weren’t part of the future He had for me.  Soon after that, I was asked to be the “equine expert” for the planning committee for a residential home for at-risk girls that wanted to use horses as part of their program.  In the spring of 2013, I was offered a position on staff at that program, which we named Meadows of Hope. As the first Equine Supervisor there, I got a front-row seat to both the triumphs and the challenges of growing a new ministry. Over the years, God provided countless opportunities for me to deepen my understanding of relationships, both with horses and hurting people.

The same year I came on staff at MOH, I married my husband Derek.  Five and a half years later, in December of 2018, our son Booker was born.  His arrival changed many things in our lives, not the least of which was forcing me to take a break from ministry and reflect.  I found I had a vision for empowering others to do ministry work with horses. Once again, God was setting things up for me.  

Just at the time I was ready for the next level in coaching horses and people to help each other, the folks at Green Meadow Farm were looking for someone who could support their current instructors and bring on new ones to deepen the excellent work that has been happening with the children who come to the farm. Coming on board at GMF has dovetailed with a lot of transitions in my life, including moving to a new house and welcoming our second son Kellen in June of 2020.  These shifts, both with the farm and in my family have continued to move and grow me toward what God has in store. I feel so very blessed to be part of the team and can’t wait to see what more the Lord has in store for us. 

Gemesen (Carper) Baer  – Lesson Instructor & Volunteer Coordinator

I heard about Green Meadow Farm through a friend at church. She knew about my heart for working with horses and children and thought the farm would be a great fit. My heart for the program is to connect children through horses, to their families and others. I hope to be able to share my passion for horses and Christ with the kids and their families. As the children come and learn more about horses and the other animals on the farm, my desire is to help them to see God’s love and sacrifice.

I got married August 2018 to Alex Baer. We have a bay Quarter-horse named Banjo, who was officially retired from GMF fall of 2018, and 3 cats Fred, Coal, and Kevin.

I became the Volunteer Coordinator Fall/Winter of 2018 and love the time getting to connect with all of the wonderful volunteers.

One of my favorite places to be on the farm is out with the horses! I love being with them, whether out in the pasture, in the barn, or riding and grooming.

Kellie Charles  – Lesson Instructor

I grew up with a passion and love for all animals. I always had a special passion for horses and dogs. I began riding when I was around six or seven at a farm in Farmersville and absolutely loved it. Being on the back of a horse gave me a feeling of comfort and joy that was so much more special than anywhere else. I had to stop taking lessons due to the extra expense and not having the right farm to ride at. For the years leading up to finding Green Meadow Farm I used horse movies and observing the horses in the farms around me to keep that passion for horses alive.

I was a Freshman in High School when my mom came home and told me that her friend from work volunteered at Green Meadow Farm and she thought that I’d enjoy it. Green Meadow Farm has been such a blessing in my life since I started volunteering that year as evening chore person. So of course when I was approached about becoming an instructor and God nudged me a little bit out of my normal comfort, I was thrilled! There is just a special kind of peace and relaxation that comes with being on the farm. It’s a place of rest and a small haven to come to when you need a break from the “real world.”

Other than my time spent on the farm and time spent at work, I spend my days dog sitting for my own business, being a small group leader at my church, working on my other small business which is a crafting business, tending to my pets (five ducks, two rabbits, one cat, my dog and my puppy), and spending time with my friends.

Deb Jeffrey  – Lesson Instructor

I grew up on a horse farm; owning and showing horses since I was 8 years old.  I had a sweet childhood immersed in horses; learning responsibility, patience, sportsmanship and accountability. Horses were in my blood and I loved spending endless hours at our barn. It has been said “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man (or woman).” I’ve always known intuitively that horses were healing.  After getting married and while raising my children, I ran a lesson and boarding facility for 20 years and mentored several groups of girls through the barn. They often reflect on how important and soothing the horses were especially during their turbulent teen years. The barn was a refuge from the tough world they lived in daily.  

Having recently sold our farm in York and moved to Lititz I needed to find a way to get my horse “fix”. I became a PATH certified therapeutic riding instructor at Greystone Manor TRC where I teach 2 days a week and help school horses. I still had an older lesson pony named Sammy who I had owned for 22 years. He needed a job and attention. I approached Beckie and was able to donate him to Green Meadow. I feel truly blessed to have him at the farm and being an integral part of the program. So nice for him to live out his senior years in such caring hands surrounded by children which he loves so much.

I would stop by frequently to check on Sammy and interact with staff at Green Meadow. When Beckie and I talked about me helping with the program as an instructor. I was very excited to merge my two loves. I became a Christian as an adult and am excited to use horses to help share the hope and light of Christ with children struggling with tough experiences. Horses are so pure in their presence with no agenda or judgement. This peaceful farm, wonderful horses and loving people are truly a blessing from God to the hurting child. Sammy and I are so happy to be a part of such a beautiful ministry.

Carolyn Polonus – Lesson Instructor

Long ago I decided that Green Meadow Farm was the most beautiful farm in Lancaster County. I was fortunate to live near it and drive past its fenced-lined meadows, enjoying its amazing natural beauty. Little did I know that event by little event over a ten year period would allow me to be part of this amazing venture on this beautiful piece of God’s creation.

I love horses and was given a year of horseback riding lessons for my ninth birthday. This blossomed into quite a passion, and I spent the next several years riding every day, participating in Pony Club, and competing in three phase eventing. My first love was definitely a horse! At Green Meadow Farm, I hope to combine that love and knowledge of horses with my interest in helping youth succeed, to encourage their confidence, to wholeheartedly listen to them, and to provide a safe place for them to learn and grow.

The Fern in me (the girl in Charlotte’s Web) comes out each time I walk into that big red barn, my favorite place on the farm. I love the rustles of animals moving, the crunch of the cat eating, the camaraderie of the people and the animals…even the smell does my heart good!

I am married with three adult kids and a dog. I enjoy reading, tennis, skiing, and walking with my dog. I love to go out with my friends, and my favorite place in the whole world is Silver Bay on Lake George in New York.

Rachel Tress – Lesson Instructor – Horse Care Coordinator & Media Specialist

When I was almost 9 years old, my parents had decided to become missionaries to Australia. Having a strong interest in animals, as soon as I found out there were horses on the ministry’s property I eagerly accepted the offer to learn how to ride. It was love at first sight and I knew I would spend my life with horses ever since that day.

After my opportunity there I continued to seek out ways to involve myself with horses by, completely out of character, taking it upon myself to contact barns and people who could help satisfy my thirst for more when each door closed over time.

After coming back to the US when I was 17 I continued with the thought that I would work with horses for the rest of my life but slowly saw God close that door. After struggling to accept what felt like a loss, I was given the opportunity to help with a children’s Christian camping ministry teaching young children how to ride horses. It was an amazing experience that showed me a completely new way to reach out to people while still using my love of horses.

Unfortunately, after that short chapter of my life, it appeared horses would not be a viable option for me and I began to pursue a career in art as an illustrator. Still longing for more interaction with horses I came across Green Meadow Farm through Melanie. (It’s a funny story, you should ask us some time.) I quickly fell into the program here and have found an amazing opportunity to share my love of Jesus and horses with people who might feel the same need that I did when I was young.

I am a graduate of Pennsylvania College of Art & Design with a BFA in Illustration. When I can find a moment to myself I enjoy all things creative, spending time with my dog while watching movies, hiking, and having adventures.