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 & Volunteer Coordinator | Occupational Therapist

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

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-phase eventing with my thoroughbred horse. I gained a strong relationship with him and learned how to communicate with, care for, and 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 that I wanted to and that he 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 love hanging out with my youth and young adult group, riding friends’ horses, going camping, and spending time with my mom, dad, and brother.

Greg Boll – Lesson Instructor

I’d love to say I grew up on a beautiful horse ranch but that wasn’t the case.  In fact, my dad is extremely allergic to horses so despite my requests at age 2, I was horseless until my late 20’s.  I was hungry for knowledge and became a complete sponge for everything horse.  I wish I could say I was equally hungry at that age for my Savior, Jesus Christ.  A deeply personal relationship with Jesus did come eventually as I became disciplined to reading God’s Word every day.  I’m now excited to serve those He brings into my life and share how He has changed me!
My introduction to Green Meadow Farm and their wonderful team came first as a farrier (horseshoer).   Just in case you want to know, a horse needs its feet trimmed every 6-8 weeks.  This gave me regular experience with each horse in the program and conversation during those times often involved specific health or fitness challenges and ways to help the horses perform their jobs better.
I have now retired from horseshoeing and I am part of the instructor team.  I still enjoy working with the horses but EVEN BETTER is getting to know each child that I am privileged to work with.  I love building relationships with them, praying for them, and having fun with them.  There are many animals on the farm that the children learn to know and relate to. Each animal’s personality has many parallels to relating to people.
I am married with 2 boys and live in Ephrata, PA.  I opened a small saddle shop in the downtown area but ship saddles around the world.  Leather has a way of bringing out creativity in people and I have enjoyed learning that God has made me a very creative person!

Hannah Cargill – Lesson Instructor

I heard about Green Meadow Farm while doing some research for work. I am a Children’s Advocate at a local shelter for children and adults who have experienced trauma through family violence. I came across a study by Patricia Pendry that determined that students who spent 90 minutes a week with horses had lower levels of salivary cortisol at the conclusion of the eleven-week intervention. Knowing how harmful prolonged elevated levels of cortisol are for developing brains, I was curious if there were any local programs. A quick search led me to Green Meadow Farm; I was impressed by the program, and have been blessed by my time volunteering at the farm.

Horses have been a source of comfort for me through difficult times in my life, and after hard days, I always am excited to go to the barn and spend time with my two horses, Princess and Peppy. I was given my Welsh pony, Princess, as a child, and Peppy, my Quarter Horse, joined the family a few years later. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of sitting on a log and reading my bible with Princess. In the 17 years that we have spent together, we have done everything from hunt seat shows to barrel racing, trail riding, parades and sleigh riding in the winter.

When I have free time, I enjoy running in the woods, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Gemesen (Carper) Baer  – Lesson Instructor & Evening Barn Manager

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.

My favorite place 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.

As for my family, I have two brothers who constantly entertain me. I enjoy hiking, cooking, reading, photography, and working on cars in my spare time.

Jenica Messner – Lesson Instructor

My desire to serve kids through a horse ministry started at a young age. I realized how impactful horses had been through my growing up years. It was on the back of a horse where I experienced God in the most real way. I would see Him in the beauty of the landscape throughout a trail ride or I could pour out my heart to Him from on top of a horse as I struggled to make sense of difficult situations. Sometimes it was simply worshipping Him as my mount would steadily plod along the trail. It seemed like everything looked a bit clearer from the back of a horse and I wanted to share that experience with others.

In 2012, God opened the doors for me at Green Meadow Farm where I began volunteering as an instructor. It was through the farm that I was introduced to Dr. Karen Purvis. She planted in me the seed to understand better how God designed for us to connect with Him and others, and how trauma directly affects the relationships around us. In 2015, I had the opportunity to travel to Texas and participate in Dr. Karen Purvis’ TBRI seminar. The understanding I acquired from that seminar heightened when I was introduced to Natural Lifemanship and their philosophy on the structure of building a healthy relationship with others.

I hope to continue learning and understanding how hurt and loss affect us as individuals but, my true desire is to point others to Christ. It is only through Him that we will experience true healing and redemption.

Carolyn Polonus – Lesson Instructor | Masters in Counseling

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 – Barn Manager & Marketing and 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. I work as an illustrator for children’s illustration/books, here at the farm, as well as for Sight and Sound Theatres as an Animal Handler in the shows. When I can find a moment to myself I enjoy all things creative, spending time with my numerous pets while watching movies, practicing dog agility, and having adventures.

Patty Walker – Lesson Instructor

Green Meadow Farm has truly been the place where I have been able to “restore joy in the journey”. From the first time I drove up the lane, I felt the peace, love, and joy of just being in the beauty of God’s creation and the warmth of connecting with the horses and all the people who open their hearts to a hurting world. They do it all with excellence!

As a child from a hard place my escape was often in books and dreams of horses and riding off into the sunset. Many afternoons I would escape to the neighbor’s just to visit with their horses on the other side of the fence, bringing them tears and treats. I know the power of the special connection God has put in the equine spirit. As a young adult with my first full-time job, I purchased my first horse.

Years later while participating in a study of the Purpose Driven Life and reading Hope Rising, God placed on my heart the desire to use my journey to help hurting children find hope and healing with the assistance of these “Equine Angels”. Often children have been so hurt by people it is hard for them to open up and trust. We can use the horses and fun activities to bridge that gap, giving us a way to find a path to their hearts and share the hope and love that Jesus has for them.

My other interests include travel, especially short-term mission trips, reading, music, movies, skiing, and spending time with my friends and family.

Emily Weaver – Lesson Instructor

Before I knew about Green Meadow Farm’s mission and their passion for serving children and families, I enjoyed driving past the beautiful farm.  I always thought it looked like such a peaceful place.  When I finally experienced it firsthand, I discovered that it is as peaceful and restful as it looks.
During my teen years, I was blessed to be part of a youth discipleship ministry which taught me a lot about my Christian faith and helped me grow closer to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It has also given me a passion for working with kids and teaching them about Jesus.
I’ve always loved horses, but only recently have I had the opportunity to ride them on a regular basis.  I have thoroughly enjoyed becoming more familiar with these beautiful animals.
When I first learned of the ministry at Green Meadow Farm, it seemed like the perfect fit for me!  It combines some of my favorite things: kids, horses, and Jesus. It is such a blessing for me to be able to teach kids about horses and farm animals, while providing a safe place for them to learn valuable life lessons.
I was home schooled and graduated in 2016. I now work full time and enjoy volunteering in various ministries, including this one. I have five siblings, two of whom were adopted from Guatemala, and I love spending time with my family. I also enjoy reading, crocheting, being outside, watching movies, and hanging out with friends.