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Saddle Up Riding Club Inc

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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

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

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter has been involved with the Saddle Up Riding Club for about 6 years now. What a gift this organization has been to her and myself. The experience has helped her confidence level grow and keeps her focused in a positive direction. You can't put a price on things like this.

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.

Barbi P.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I and my two daughter have been greatly blessed by knowing and being involved with Kellie Sipos and Saddle Up Riding Club. She is an amazing person so driven by her love of horses, children, and helping those with handicaps.
My children have been part of her riding club since she bagan. I have been a volunteer parent. She teaches these children responsibility, horse care and so much more. I feel that a program like this is so beneficial to our community for our children and all the therapy needs as well. My children have become more confident and responsible through the years. They learn to and help those in need more and are learning the importance of team work and volunteering for those needy people and seeing what good comes of it. She takes each child and makes him/her feel so special as he/she is her very own. I have seen some of these kids that are involved in therapeutic riding and have seen incredible improvements in their ability to walk better, better balance and amazing self confidence. As far as the kids who ride in her riding club, I have also see improvements in attutudes and self confidence in these kids too. There is no doubt that this is a wonderful program for everyone involved. Kellie gives it 150 percent of herself and I believe she is an angel and this organization deserves getting all the support it can so it can continue on and help that much more of our community.

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have known and watched Kellie for several years as she pours her heart and soul into providing a safe place for people with disabilities to come and, for brief moments while riding, leave their cares and worries behind them. My son and I helped during a public event and were amazed at how terrified children were allowed to approach the horses at their own pace, gently being led around when they did get up the courage to trust the horse and the delight on their faces when they realized that they were free to move around at will (some of the children for the first time).

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

My family has donated supplies and what they can to support this wonderful organization. The benefits of therapeutic riding on persons with disabilities is amazing. Please come out and see it for yourself.

Review from Guidestar

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son, age 12, has Asperger's Syndrome and was afraid of everything outdoors. We found Saddle Up Riding Club last year and we haven't looked back. He is calmer, more confident and even his physical health has improved. His posture, temperment and abilty to complete tasks are also improving. Thanks to the patience of his riding teachers, he is soaring! When he is in the saddle, it's like there is nothing wrong at all. Thank you SURC for all you have done for our family. Now I volunteer to help other families find the joy we have discovered.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Saddle Up Riding Club for about a year now. My experience at the club has been a wonderful addition to my life. Not only do I love horses, but the social aspect of the work is very good for me. I am mostly involved in the Saturday Therapy Riding program. We have many clients who are physically or mentally challenged. The satisfaction I get from watching our students ride, gain strength and just have a good time, actually helps me! I talk to the parents who's children are involved and they always tell me that Saturday riding is the brightest spot in their week. Getting outside, riding, playing games and the parents get to socialize too! I am happy and proud to be a part of this organization!

Review from Guidestar