Our mission is to nurture body, mind and spirit through God and horses.
Mary Kay Soergel
Facilities Director, Riding Instructor
Mary Kay has been fortunate to own, show, train and enjoy horses most of her life. She has participated in many clinics and apprenticeships emphasizing natural horsemanship and the bond that forms between horse and rider. She practiced as a registered nurse in a variety of settings for 40 years. In addition to working as a nurse, she raised 4 kids and worked with her husband, Richard in the greenhouses they had on their farm where she started all the vegetable plants their family grew from seed. In 2023 Mary Kay and Richard built a new greenhouse so Mary Kay can get back to her love of growing flowers and herbs and planting a cutting garden. She is excited to share her green thumb and love of growing herbs, flowers and vegetables with the participants at OVS.
Mary Kay attended Mercy School of Nursing, has been certified as a riding instructor through CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association) and is a member of AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association).
Executive Director, CTRI, Equine Professional
Tessa earned a bachelor’s degree in education at Slippery Rock University, with certifications in Elementary and Special Education. She worked as a special education teacher at Linton Middle School in the Penn Hills School District for 2 years until she moved to Suffolk, Virginia with her husband, Bill. Bill worked as a police officer for the city of Suffolk and Tessa worked as a special education teacher at E.W. Chittum Elementary School, Chesapeake Public Schools. After their two daughters were born, Bill and Tessa decided to move back home to Wexford to be closer to family.
After moving home, Tessa worked for her family’s business managing a retail department and also assisting with marketing and event planning. She started helping Mary Kay with teaching lessons because she was knowledgeable about horses and riding and could use her teaching experience to help others. In 2015 Tessa became a PATH Int. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and professional member. She is grateful for a calling where she can share her love for the farm that she grew up on with her educational background to make a difference in the lives of others.
MA, NCC, LPC, CCTP/Equine Assisted Psychotherapist
Sandy is a National Certified Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor with over 23 years of mental health experience. She is also a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, is Level 2 Trained in Natural Lifemanship and is trained in EMDR. She employs Internal Family Systems, Somatic Experiencing, Mindfulness and other Adventure Based approaches when conducting group wellness events and individual trauma informed psychotherapy. Sandy received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and an Equestrian instruction certification through Houghton College. She gained her Master degree from Waynesburg University. She joins in partnerships with horses to empower people to find their own restorative healing and rebuild the life they wish to live. She specializes in trauma, anxiety, grief/loss, relationship issues, self care for the helping professional, life adjustments and depression. She is currently working towards a dual certification through Natural Lifemanship Institute as a clinician and equine professional. She is also training in IFS & EMDR Equine Engaged Psychotherapy.
Fundraising & Marketing Assistant, Equine Professional (In- Training)
Carli came to OVS as a volunteer in 2019 (with no horse experience!) helping with stalls, Adapted Riding Lessons, and odd jobs around the farm. At the time, she was also working for REI as a Retail Sales Manager (2012-2021). Among her proudest accomplishments at REI include serving as a Visual Merchandising Team Lead on Relocations and New Store Openings in locations such as Berkley, CA, Rockville, MD, West Hartford, CT and Williston, VT.
It was when REI Settler’s Ridge closed its doors in 2021 that Carli knew it was time to make a change from the stresses of Retail Management. She has since started taking on more at OVS including helping with Fundraising, Marketing, developing EAL curriculum, and supporting EAP’s as an Equine Professional. Carli has her BBA in Marketing and BSHCS in Retail Merchandising from Ohio University (2008).
Outside of working at OVS, Carli also works part-time as an Apprentice at Pittsburgh Upholstery. Her and her husband also have their hands full with a 1 year old daughter and 2 cats. They love to spend their free time hiking, biking, skiing/snowboarding, traveling, and going to see live music.