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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

33 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.

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

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

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter was born with a problem with her large motor skills. Kellie was the only one who would work with my child due to her age. After 5 years she has been able to catch up to where she should be with her motor skill and still loves to ride. Thanks Kellie for all that you do - we appericate it all.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My granddaughter is a special needs child. She has bipolar disorder and rather sever ADD. Saddle Up Riding Club gives her an opportunity to particiate in a group activity with her peers. She cannot function in a group of children without special needs. She also gets the chance to interact on her own level with the horses. The owner, teacher and volunteers are all wonderful! They all know how to talk to and teach these children. My grandaughter told me that riding a horse makes her very happy and that it gives her self confidence. She looks forward to her lessons every week. Being able to ride gives her time to feel like she is not any different from other children.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been with Saddle Up riding Club for 2 years. She is a special needs child with Cerebral Palsy and Developmental delays. Prior to experiencing Saddle Up, she was afraid of almost all animals, especially bigger ones. But there was something about the staff and horses at Saddle Up that she seemed to immediately connect with. We first discovered them at a fund raising event To our amazement, she told us that she wanted to ride a horse. And she got on the horse, and loved it. We were astonished!! This is when we found out about their Therapeutic riding program. It was absolutely what we were looking for. Now she has no fear of horses. More importantly though, is what Saddle Up has done to help her Physical and developmental needs. The program has done amazing things to increase her balance and core muscles. She works on following commands, sequencing, independent functioning, and a host of other developmental skills while she is riding. We have seen her make great strides in her development after she started with Saddle Up.
The program is one of only a handful in the state that offer this type of program. Kellie( the owner and coach) and Melissa (also a coach) and all of the volunteers put their hearts and souls into this organization, and it truly shows. It has made a huge difference in my daughters life, and we see and hear this happening with other that are in the program as well.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Madeline. I am 11 years old. I have been participating in the Therapeutic Riding Program for two years. I love riding Roxy every Saturday. It is so much fun. It is the only time I don't have to wear my leg braces. Everyone is so nice! I have learned a lot about horses. I have even been in horse shows and won pretty ribbons. I like cheering for my friends too. I love Miss Kellie and Miss Melissa.

My daughter has CP with cognitive and developmental delays. It was two years ago when I was introduced to Saddle Up Riding Club during an event. This was the first time I had heard about Therapeutic Riding. They were having horse rides that day and my daughter wanted to ride. I had tears in my eyes seeing my daughter on a horse for the first time. She was hooked and has been riding every Saturday since. She has gained confidence, is talking more and has made friends.

My daughter also has PANDAS, which causes OCD behaviors. Being around the horses and riding calms her. She loves being at the barn and outside. Everyone is so nice and understanding with our children who have special needs, which is not always the case. Kellie is a special lady with a big caring heart. This is her ministry and it shows. I am so thankful!