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Great Oaks Equine enjoys new home in Plato, seeks to help horses in Texas

Steve and Connie Tusha, owners of Great Oak Equine in Plato, are horse people. So when they heard about the horses that needed housing, veterinarians and food after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, they made the decision to donate 10 percent of their sales from the month of September to the Texas State Horse Council, which will distribute the donations where needed.
“There are stables and ranches down there that volunteered to take horses that had to be moved because of the flooding,” said Steve Tusha, “but there is still the cost for food and veterinarians. Some of those horses had to wade through contaminated water that damaged their legs. I’m sure some will have to be put down.”
Because recovery will be long, the Tushas said they may consider another month’s worth of donations, based on sales, a couple of months down the road.
The Tushas know what it’s like to be short of resources — Great Oak Equine was born in about 2009 when Steve Tusha lost his job when the construction industry crashed, bringing about what is now known as the “Great Recession.”
“I needed to find a new source of income,” said Tusha.
Before he went into general construction as a project manager in the metro area, Tusha designed and built horse barns. He went back back to his roots in the equine industry, and started designing round pens, arenas, stalls and fencing, as well as horse stalls, stall doors, gates, and items for dogs, such as agility training pieces.
Tushna designed a system in which pre-made panels are hinged together to form the finished project.
After starting the business in Waconia, the couple moved it to Plato about a year ago, locating it in the former GM dealership building, a historic building on Main Street near the King Pin Pub. The large back room, once used to store vehicles, proved ideal for building the panels.
“The community has been great,” said Tusha. “Everyone has been very supportive.”
For more about Great Oaks Equine, see the Sept. 6 print edition of The Chronicle.