We have an incredible team of hearts, hands, and hooves that make Alatheia possible.
Nancy Grette, Co-Founder & Executive Director
Nancy grew up with horses riding through the hills of western Washington. That love continued while raising her own family with husband Glenn. The Grettes spent many summers riding and packing in the backcountry of Eastern Washington on their herd of horses that included 3 fjords. In June of 2010 the Grettes lives were forever changed when they gave a ride to a five year old girl with special needs. The magic between the horse and rider was unmistakable and the vision for Alatheia was born. A year later Alatheia opened its doors to 12 riders with special needs using 3 incredibly special fjord horses (Frid, Blakken, and Sindre) and 20 dedicated volunteers.
Nancy is a certified instructor through PATH International. Teaching and interacting with our special family of riders and volunteers, and loving on our herd of horses is the greatest pleasure of her life.
Heidi Nobles, PATH Int’l Credentialed Riding Instructor
Heidi has been riding horses since she was a little girl and always knew her passion was connecting horses and people. When Heidi was 8 years old, her brother was born at 24 weeks old. He spent months in the NICU and suffered from physical developmental delays throughout his entire early childhood.
During this time, Heidi realized the power and healing of horses. Heidi began teaching her younger brother on her first horse and got to watch as his core developed and his confidence grew. Heidi continued teaching lessons and during her 3rd year at University of North Georgia, she stepped away to complete her PATH International Registered Riding Instructor Certification.
Heidi and her family moved to Washington to work for Alatheia Riding Center in early 2016.
Anna Hopkins, PATH Int’l Credentialed Riding Instructor
Anna grew up around horses and started teaching lessons when she was a teenager. A year before Alatheia came into existence, she met Nancy and started taking trail rides up on the hill with Frid and Blakken. Anna gained a lot from those trail rides and felt that those rides on Blakken were a therapy to her when she was going through some tough times.
As Alatheia came to life, Anna began mentoring under Nancy for her PATH certification. Anna later moved on to work at a youth camp where she taught riding lessons. A few years later and she is now back at Alatheia as one of an instructor and has resumed working towards PATH certification!
Melissa started with Alatheia as a volunteer in the fall of 2013. Her deep passion and interest in therapeutic riding led her to begin instructing in spring of 2015. With a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Science, Melissa is well-suited for her instructor responsibilities.
Outside of Alatheia she owns her own business of a line she created for herself for luxury leisure items and has just launched an exclusive t-shirt line. Alatheia fills her heart with joy; the smiles and laughs created here are contagious!
Jill came to volunteer at Alatheia in 2016 after local horse therapy center closed its doors. She is now an Alatheia Board Member, the part-time bookkeeper and now a part-time riding instructor.
Jill says “Just as many others have found, I receive so much more than I give. The riders and their families have taught me so much about patience, acceptance to life’s ups and downs, compassion and unconditional love. The staff and volunteers have become my extended family.”
Jo Belanger, Riding Instructor
Jo first began volunteering at Alatheia over four years ago before joining the Alatheia team as a riding instructor. When not working at Alatheia, Jo is a Para-pro in Special Education at a local middle school. She says she has Alatheia to thank for helping her to realize a passion she has in helping others, espcially children with special needs.
Franki Poellnitz, Tack Room Manager and Volunteer Coordinator
Franki first started at Alatheia in 2017 as a volunteer, then became a part-time weekend staff member cleaning stalls, but quickly evolved into the tack room manager and also the volunteer coordinator – two very big jobs to keep Alatheia running smoothly. She is now training to be an Alatheia riding instructor.
She says she has learned so much in the time she has been with Alatheia that she felt confident enough to buy her own horse, Hercules and loves to take him on trail rides with her husband Nich, who is serving full-time in the Army. When he is home on leave, he is a welcome fixture at Alatheia volunteering his time with the riders and projects needed at the facility.
Franki says, “Alatheia has become my home away from home and the amount of love and support I get from the staff and volunteers is out of this world!”
A therapeutic riding center is not complete without a great equine team!