Therapeutic horse-riding farm avoids foreclosure

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:


SNELLVILLE, Ga. - A Gwinnett County therapy center that works with special needs children is no longer operating under a cloud of uncertainty.

Channel 2 Action News first reported about Parkwood Farm's foreclosure crisis in November. It threatened to cut off therapeutic horse-riding lessons.

Tuesday marked the end of a very long road for the Snellville horse farm and the beginning of a new, more secure journey.

"This is a great day," Dr. Marilyn Peterson told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh.

Peterson told Kavanaugh she now owns Parkwood Farms once again, but said a nondisclosure agreement prohibited her from elaborating on the details.

Peterson said her lengthy foreclosure fight is over and most importantly, her students are back in the saddle for good.

"We've been operating since November. But we've always had this cloud and we didn't know what was going to happen," Peterson said.

When Kavanaugh first visited Parkwood Farms Therapy Center in November, Peterson was on the verge of eviction, jeopardizing these life-changing riding lessons.

"It's been like a miracle to us," said mother Mary Duke.

Duke said the horse riding therapy has transformed their son, Matthew, 19, who has Down's syndrome.

"We've seen the changes in his life and it makes him more complete. He feels like he's accomplished something," Dukes said. "His independence, he feels in control when he's on the horse."

"We've always had confidence that things would work out the way they were supposed to," instructor Jill Davis said.

Peterson also said Occupy Atlanta helped in her fight to keep the farm.

Peterson hopes she can expand the program and serve more students. She said they are always looking for volunteers.

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