Meet our staff who are dedicated to making the mission of Serenity Grace Farm a reality in the community.
Courtney has had a love of horses since childhood. Her family owned horses when they lived in California. She spent a lot of time with these horses and I'm not sure she knew what a saddle was. She would hop on one bare back and off she would go along with friends and their horses riding them to town on and off the trails. The horses had to stay in California when her family moved across the country to North Carolina. Courtney has wanted horses ever since her family moved here. Her dream was to offer a service focused on people with disabilities no matter what the situation may be. She has talked about this for the 20 years I have known her. Now, during the course of our marriage fate started to step in and eventually get us to our farm. In July 1998 our son Austin was born and truly graced our lives. Austin is handicapped however very functional. Austin started participating in Special Olympics track and field through his school. A few years ago we were introduced to another aspect of Special Olympics in the Equine games. Austin loved this aspect of Special Olympics and was ready to start practicing for the following year while riding home from the recent event. For two years Austin rode with the farm that was the Franklin County Special Olympic Equine sponsor. This sponsorship is offered free of charge to the participants. We learned in the latter half of 2010 that they were unable to continue sponsoring this service. After much brainstorming and consulting with family and friends we started Serenity Grace Farm. Courtney's dream is realized.
AJ is Courtney's husband and biggest supporter. AJ by nature is an animal fanatic and has been since the age of 2. AJ is more into the more exotic type animals and he includes horses in this category. Here's why. AJ is not necessarily a dog and cat person even though we have one of each. His love was for reptiles. He has the “touch” and knowledge of reptiles even though he has no formal education in their biology. He was a successful breeder of Boa Constrictors for several years. AJ is a firm believer that when one door closes two doors open.The reptile project ended and luckily this was more hobby than our lively hood. AJ is a Paramedic by profession and provides for his family lovingly and willingly. Now here is the funny part. AJ has a love of the draft horse breeds as he has had all his life but has never owned a horse. In the latter half of 2010 we attended a draft horse show and witnessed these magnificent animals in all their glory. When the draft-hitch teams showed, he was hooked. He had to get one or twenty. He wanted to learn to train them and then to drive and eventually have his own hitch team. AJ researches everything he takes to task and this was no different. Starting from little to no knowledge of horses he has excelled in our horses care, their needs and learning their behavior in general. AJ is a very giving person. He had lived his dream with his reptiles and taken it as far as the economy allowed. AJ decided it was time for Courtney to live her dream with Serenity Grace Farm as he had done with his. He believed his draft horses particularly Percherons due to their calm, quiet and easygoing nature, would be a tremendous asset to the farm for riding as well as teaching driving skills to anyone that wanted to learn. Some participants may have a handicap that inhibits them from leaving their chairs and this would be their opportunity to get out and participate coming to know the peace and serenity of equitation. AJ continues to work his full time job providing for his family but his love for our horses and this service of therapy using horses has surpassed his reptile life.