Autumn Trails Stable working to grow funding to continue programming

Situated on eight acres on Folk Ream Road in Clark County, Autumn Trails Stable (ATS) offers more than just “pony rides.”

The equine-assisted service center, established in 2016, serves children and adults with developmental disabilities or who are experiencing life challenges.

“Like many non-profits, COVID hit ATS pretty hard these last three years,” says Angela Stan, founder of ATS. “Each time we provide a service with a horse, we must raise $150. Donations and funding are way down this year, and it has been a struggle to keep moving forward, but we know there is a big need for our services – as seen by our waiting list - so we try to keep fighting for them.”

In addition to traditional fundraising, ATS has added some additional activities, including an ice cream social, a Not Your Mother’s Bingo night at Mother Stewart's Brewing, and a bourbon raffle earlier this year. This weekend, ATS will host a Movie Night with Horses on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Patrons are inviting to a screening of Racing Stripes under the stars with the horses of ATS.

Tickets include a bag of popcorn and bottle of water. Additional snacks will be available for purchase. Attendees should bring a chair or blanket and dress for the weather as the movie will take place in the outdoor arena.

Tickets to Movie Night with the Horses are $10 and available at:

ATS will also host its 8th annual Duke Memorial Horse Show. The show is named after Stan’s “heart horse” Duke.

“He was to help start Autumn Trails Stable as he was an amazing horse who would have excelled with helping individuals,” says Stan. “He passed away in late 2015.”

Stan says all ATS participants are invited to be a part of the horse show that features mounted and unmounted classes. The event will also feature a chili cookoff and raffles drawings.

The Duke Memorial Horse Show will begin at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14.
Stan says the organization hopes to raise $25,000 and there are still sponsorship opportunities available. More information can be found at:

Despite being a non-profit organization, there are still costs to operate the ATS farm and fees do apply for programming opportunities. Stan says the fees can be paid weekly, and many participants can get financial assistance and scholarships through outside organizations.

“We are a non-profit – funding comes from donors and fundraisers,” says Stan. “The program fees are only 30 percent of what it costs us to operate those programs.”

Volunteers are also the heart of ATS. From office work, barn chores and side-walkers, there is something for every person seeking a volunteer opportunity.

Stan is a certified riding instructor through PATH International: the credentialing organization for accrediting centers and certifying instructors and equine specialists.

Through therapeutic riding, the goal is to teach participants riding skills based on their abilities.

“We base the goals that we set on the individual,” says Stan. “All instructors are certified through PATH. We set the goal after the first lesson and set up the sessions to work toward achieving those goals. Families have input on the goals, and we collaborate for each session.”

The barn at ATS houses nine vetted program horses. Each horse is accepted into the program on a 60-to 90-day trial before entering the program. Many of them are volunteered through a free lease by their owners while others are donated or adopted.

“The horses are diverse,” says Stan. “They must be sound with minimal maintenance, and very good natured.”

New this year, ATS added “Hay for a Day.” Hay for the horses is one of ATS’s biggest and most necessary expenses. Donors are able to sponsor hay for a day or a month.

Currently ATS is serving 35 to 40 individuals during each 8-week session. ATS offers spring, summer and fall session. At the heart of the ATS programming, is the volunteers.

“We definitely always need volunteers,” says Stan. “We need side walkers, horse leaders, barn buddies (assist with cleaning stalls and barn chores), as well as Saturday morning mentors for our job and life skills building program: Taking the Reins.”

Lesson volunteers (side walkers) must be 14 or older. Barn Buddies must be 12 or older. Taking the Reins mentors must be at least 18 and out of high school.
Stan says ATS is looking into a bridge program for Taking the Reins which is a job and life skill building program.

“We are also looking into a Stable Moments program - a mentoring program for children in foster care,” she says. “When we serve participants, we are also serving their families.”

Those interested in volunteering or learning more about Autumn Trails can call 937-536-9912.
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Read more articles by Darci Jordan.

Lifelong Clark County resident Darci Jordan is a freelance writer and former staff writer/columnist for the Springfield News-Sun. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a bachelor of science degree in Agriculture Communications. She currently also serves as a writer for the Clark State Community College marketing department. She enjoys time with her family, horses and Ohio State football. Go Bucks!