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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Equestrian, Sports, Youth Development

Mission: Therapeutic horseback riding

Programs: 38 adults and children ride horses weekly, some of whom are developmentally challenged. The riding builds musclature, self- -esteem and caring. 30 preschool children ride each month as well

Community Stories

65 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Lccpraise

Client Served

Rating: 5

As an Air Force Veteran with a disability, I've been participating in the theraputic horse riding at Saddle Up Riding club for a few years. The improvement to my circulation is amazing! I work at maintaining muscles and keeping atrophy at bay. It is a wonderful organization filled with uplifting people that help others through therapy while riding horses. It is far better than going to the gym!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been riding with Saddle Up Riding Club in Pinellas Park for 2 years. As a parapeligic with traumatic brain injury I have difficulty maintaining balance and exercising my upper body.
Riding keeps my weight down, increases blood flow, and allows me to work muscles when sitting on the horse that I couldn't work on sitting in a wheelchair. My capability to balance has increased tremendously. It might not seem like a lot to other people, but I can actually brush my teeth standing up now. It's a personal best. LOL I exercise my ankles and thighs while riding, and have increased my arm strength. I am healthier all around because of riding. it is the only exercise I get during the week. I ride on Saturdays.
I have met wonderful people at Saddle Up, from the volunteers to management, everyone works together to provide a great environment for the horses and the people that ride. I am so blessed to have met them, they have certainly changed my life for the better.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My aunt found Saddle Up Riding Club via an internet search for horseback riding for kids in Pinellas County. Connor has been attending the program since September 2010. Kelly and her staff are very knowledgable, interactive and helpful with treating my autistic son. He continually benefits from his experience. Thank you to all!!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

It is every parents' dream to see their child grow to be independent and happy. When you have a child with a different ability, it is often hard to accomplish both those goals on an equal playing field. Saddle Up Riding Club has provided my daughter, Gina, with the opportunity to experience both independence and happiness all while riding a horse. This experience has carried over to all other areas of her life! It has given her common experiences with other teens her own age, allowing her to verbally participate and understand in conversations about horseback riding, both at the Saddle Up barn and at school. She has been in riding competitions, just as other typical kids her own age do. Her speech and social skills have improved as she interacts with the volunteers at Saddle Up. The expectations from her equine therapists, Kelly & Melissa, are high and achievable. I have watched Gina go from having low muscle tone and ache from having to use her muscles to having great posture while riding. She even sits up tall in her chair at school! No more slumping!!!! She can now carry the saddle used by her horse, without complaining that it hurts her! I have watched Gina go from being led around with a side walker and a leader , afraid she would fall, to riding independently without the lead or side walker. While not totally comfortable yet, Melissa and Kelly continue to give Gina the courage to get out of her comfort zone and rise to new heights. She trusts these ladies! Gina absolutely LOVES the horse she rides. She talks about her horse to all her friends, abled and differently abled.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Katherine Lee, and I am a junior High School student who volunteers at Saddle Up Riding Club in Pinellas Park, Florida. This non-profit organization has not only changed my life but countless other's, there is abosultely nothing that is even close to being as rewarding as watching a child once labled as "disabled" become the strongest, most selfrelient and determined child you've ever met. The words "I can't" are never spoken, and new-found possibilities are endless. I have never seen so many hardworking, caring, and optimistic people all in one place. Mrs. Kellie and all the other volunteers and participants have taught me that nothing is impossible, and that the healing power of the horse and caring people has brought nothing but goodness and hope to a community that was in grave need it.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a rider at Saddle Up Riding Club. I ride the horse Alice. She is my favorite horse. I call her my little buddy. I have been riding Alice for two years. I love riding at Saddle Up because I can ride a horse there and I have friends there too. My name is Gina. I have a different ability. My different ability is Sensory Processing Disorder. I have trouble learning things too. I can learn, but I learn different than others. When I ride Alice at Saddle Up I am like my friends who ride horses. They do not have a different ability like me. They are Samantha and Julia. They have their own horses. I like Saddle Up because I can go in a competition. I went in a competition two times. I have got a first place two years, a second place and a fifth place. My friend Samantha does competitions too. We can talk about our different competitions. I like that I can talk about that to Samantha. It makes us the same in a little way. At first I used to have a walker all the time. But now I ride by my self sometimes. It makes me nervous, but I can do it. Lisa is my walker. She is a great person. She is my friend. She will sometimes tell me what to do because I don't always remember. I have to steer her close to the fence to stay on the railing. It is hard for me. I can do obstacle courses on Alice, I make Alice back up. Lisa will tell me good job. I have also learned to tack up Alice this year. This was hard at first, but now it is easy. I can even carry the saddle. I help Lisa with tacking up. Melissa and Kelly are my teachers. They give me hugs sometimes. I am learning a lot about horses from them. They make me work hard. They are nice. I love going to Saddle Up every week. It is a great place to feel good.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My nephew, Zack Vanderbeck, was diagnosed with a carnatine deficiency where his muscles don't absorb protein. He has lived with this for 19 years and ever since he began with Saddle Up Riding Club - he has improved beyond anyone's expectations. This has been the best thing for him because not only have his balance and motor skills become stronger from riding but he has a real sense of purpose and drive in his life. He eagerly goes twice a week and would live there if he could. He absolutely loves the responsibility of taking care of the horses and learning about stables, equipment and competitive riding. Ms Kelly, who runs the program has the perfect balance of encouragement and discipline within her program. She really cares for her participants and vice versa. It is such a wonderful program - I wish her and everyone involved continued success!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have ridden here for nearly four years and have loved it! I have wanted a horse since I was 2 and this is very close to having one! I go to barn times monthly and I have a great time. I have progressed soooo much since i have come to Saddle Up. Kellie is a great person and has helped me achieve my goals in horsemanship. She really does a great job of running this program and contributes to everyone's growth.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Saddle Up is the most wonderful program I've been involved in during all my years of service and ministry. It is a hands on program that enables you to make an immediate and long term impact in the life of a child. Many of these children don't have the opportunities or abilities to excel in the sports and other programs that most kids are involved in. They come each week excited and filled with anticipation, and they leave with hope and encouragement that helps sustain them. They also reap the physical benefits of the program ( strength, balance, coordination, ...) which enable them to function better in their activities of daily living (mobility, independence, ...) and to more effectively interact with the world around them.

Kellie, the one who makes this all happen, is an amazing woman who has devoted much to this organization and the people it serves. And it's not just the children. There are several adults in the therapeutic riding program, and most recently she has started a new program for disabled veterans. She also has special riding programs for small children and a program for youth who want to learn to ride and care for horses. And these programs are all available for prices you just can't find anywhere, making it affordable for families. Kellie offers great services in a safe and nurturing environment at a very reasonable cost. Kids learn to love, trust and respect animals in a way that is fun and rewarding for them, while also improving their overall physical, mental and emotional well being. Many parents have told me how Kellie helped their child when no one else would, and how this program has helped in ways where nothing else could. It's very inspiring to be a part of something like this. I guess Kellie has her own idea of "no child left behind". A truly awesome place!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter has found a love in horse and she love going to the Saddle up Club. This is a great program for younger children and when they get older the progress in experience. I love how patience everyone is and how Kellie Sipos is with the kids.This is great place for kids for all ages and parents to spend quality time with there kids. i love this ans i am glad my daughter does too.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Saddle Up Riding Club is an equestrian facility like no other. The organization offers activities for absolutely everyone, the barn times, lessons, shows, veterans programs and therapeutic riding. Kellie Sipos is a wonderful woman who manages to get it all done! I love going there and riding every week, i love the freedom you experience when your there and just being with all of your friends on horseback is one of the best feelings.
I thank Saddle Up Riding Club for all that they have brought to me, I've grown up so much, learned a TON of self confidence and i love volunteering to help others. I hope that Saddle Up will be right where its at for many years to come!

Review from Guidestar