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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

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

Donor & Volunteer Advisory

This organization's nonprofit status may have been revoked or it may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Community Stories

65 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 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
1

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter and I have loved our experience with saddle up club. We have enjoyed the mommy and me horsey class since my daughter was a 2 she is now 4. The genuine love and passion for animals and children is really felt every time we go to the farm. We always have so much fun and leave with more knowledge than we came with. THANK YOU Saddle Up for letting us experience a little bit of farm life.

Sincerely....Mel Wallace

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It has been a joy to see the excitement in Kailea, my granddaughter, when she knows it is time for her to ride Flip, the horse she has been riding for quite a while now at Saddle Up Riding Club. It not only gives her something to look forward to, but it has been really helpful in stabilizing Kailea. Kailea has had many challenges, but this is one adventure she really looks forward to every week. We truly do appreciate the opportunity she has been given.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A friend of mine is a new volunteer at Saddle Up. Each and every day spent there is a rewarding experience for her. She enjoys working with both children and adults and especially enjoys the joy that horseback riding brings them. She enjoys helping the riders build confidence and especially loves the looks on their faces when they know they have accomplished something new. If I lived closer I would love to volunteer for this organization!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at Saddleupridingclub for about 2 years. I am a disabled veteran at 100%. Since that time there are several things I can do including using the horses to talk about whatever is bothering me. They won't tell anyone. I have also been able to decrease some of the medications I take & been able to STOP some altogether.
I am getting more involved in the Veteran programs and able to talk to too my fellow Veterans about how they can help & be helped as well. TRY IT YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED

Linda F.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have to say that Saddle Up Riding Club is a wonderful non profit organization! My daughter Karli has been taking lesson there for about 3 years now. It's amazing what she has accomplished. She has had some wonderful trainers. The trainers are very loving and caring. I know that Kellie has poured her heart and soul into this wonderful establishment. They do wonders for the special needs people and the veterans of this great country we live in. I highly recommend SURC. Wonderful and caring people.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been a rider at Saddle Up for three years. Saddle Up has been there through many changes in our lives, and has seen Kailea through many ups and downs in her health, and in our lives, in general. I could go on and on about the advancements my daughter has made as a result of Saddle Up, like her balance, her stability, her core strength, and her mobility. But, when you have a little girl who has been through as much as mine has, I'd much rather tell you about her smiles.

Kailea has very limited ability to communicate. She has some general signs that I understand, but for the most part, I am able to understand less than 1% of the things she wishes to tell me. She has been signing "horse" for a couple of years, though. She walks up to strangers on a daily basis just to sign "horse." Riding at Saddle Up is something that brings her such joy, she wants everyone to know about it. She signs "horse" every morning to me, asking if it is the day she will get to go see the amazing horse she is so bonded with, Flip. When Saturday comes around, I know she would dart straight out the door in her pajamas if I didn't hold her back.

Kailea has a condition which causes countless health problems, and will likely cause many more as she grows older. To have an organization which has done so much for my child is priceless. To have that day when my child is so excited to be doing horse therapy, and not thinking at all about stenuous therapy appointments, or doctors and procedures, means the world to me as a mom.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Saddle Up has given me every welcome as a volunteer, just to see the riders smiles of happiness tell the story of an amazing experience everytime they are on a horse, incredibly fulfilling.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Tina Hernandez and I am actually a parent of a volunteer. My son "Brandon" had the opportunity to train and participate as a volunteer this past school year. This was a wonderful experience for him for many reasons. He was taught compassion and patience working as a volunteer horse walker used during their theraputic riding sessions. I wish that when Brandon was younger we would have known about the program as a student with mutiple disabilities and traumatic experiences he as endeared I believe that his experience would have been even more magnified. Brandon is now 17years old and has been employed for 7months and dual enrolled at our local college. Thank you Saddle Up for being a part of his learning process.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great experience for both the volunteers and participants. It really amazes me how much therapeutic horseback riding can help disabled people.

Review from Guidestar

Brian M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a part of Saddle Up Riding Club for over a year. When I was making a decision, as part of a New Year's Resolution, I knew that I wanted to work in my local community serving others. I found SURC in my own backyard, well actually down the street. It is such a joy to see our clients smile everyday, increase their balance, and overall improvement in their health.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My twenty year old daughter has Down syndrome and am also the director of our local support group for families for families of children with Down syndrome. My daughter has been involved with the Saddle Up Riding Club’s therapeutic riding program for some time now and in that time we have seen many changes in her. When she first started riding I’d get a chuckle from her stiffness and uncertainty while on the back of the horse. Within just another lesson or two her whole body language began to change along with her confidence and comfort level. The changes we continue to see in her are wide range. When on the horse her whole body seems to just “wake up”, and the “after effects” of riding, seem lasting. For a day or two after each lesson I (and others) have noticed that she even seems to have improved posture. She also always seems to just walk a little taller with an improved attitude and self-esteem from the whole well rounded experience. Aside from riding the students are involved in the preparation of the horses for riding and then the unsaddling and re-stabling of them and she equally enjoys all aspects of the barn. Aside from the excellence experience with the horses the volunteers are equally amazing! They speak to each rider with respect and I am amazed at how quickly they have picked up on each of the riders little quirks. Everything about the Saddle Up Club and it’s group of wonderful people is comfortable and enjoyable, not only for our kids who ride, but for us moms who wait and watch as well. Our time there has been enjoyed by all!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Tampa Bay Area Buddy Walk has twice been blessed with the support of this great organization and it's volunteers by their providing horse rides to our walkers at our annual event. Kellie Sipos, her family, staff and volunteers are a joy and a blessing to the community they serve!

Review from Guidestar

Cat P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer at Saddle Up Riding Club, I am a truly blessed person. I get first hand experience helping our children and adults. It is such a blessing to be able to make a child smile, and to see their face light up when you greet them. I have been touched in so many ways through this organization.I feel proud to be apart of such a wonderful group. The people we work with are so inspiring, we as a community are inspired by the success of our riders. The organization is a wonderful addition to my life. To be able to put a smile on a child face is the most precious thing on my earth.Thank you so much for your dedication to making disabled riders lives, as well as my own enriched through equestrian therapy! :)

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 4

My daughter is an able bodied rider at this non-profit program. She has always been interested in horses, but when she was 8 her father passed away and I was looking for something to help her get over her grief. We found this riding club and was thrilled that it is close to school and home. We were doubly thrilled to find out it is a faith-based program that helps disbaled individuals. My daughter loves Saddle Up Riding Club and the responsibility she has been given over her two years participating here have helped her find herself.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering at Saddle Up Riding Club about 9 months ago. I was experiencing a devastating depression and had just moved to Florida from Virginia. I grew up with horses, owning several and I saw an ad in the Clearwater Beacon for volunteers. I started as a horse handler. The very first day I was hooked. Talking to the kids taking therapy lessons they were so excited and proud of themselves for every obsticle they completed on horseback. The equine therapy has such a profound effect on these kids and adults. These kids aren't afraid of these big animals, they love on them like they were puppy dogs. The disposition of our Club horses is such that I think if they don't see their regular student one week, the horses miss them. This interaction between these kids and these giant animals leaves me awe struck. My greatest joy has been by participating as a volunteer, now Volunteer Program Manager. So many people, teens and adults, even families look so forward to working with all the students and are so generous giving of their time. The vision Kellie has for this organization is makes this organization a stellar example of sucess and growth. From barn staff, volunteers, Board of Directors,students and parents, the minute you step on the property, you become family. I thank God for Kellie and her 2am epifanys that make Saddle Up such a gift!

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughters have attended the Saddle Up camp every summer for several years. It is hard to find a "good" horse camp in our area. One just recently closed. We had attended that camp as well, so I can compare the two, and tell you, they were night and day. Ms. Kelly teaches the kids in a strong but warm manner. They are able to ride much more often than at the other camp, where the majority of the time was spent on free labor. The kids at Saddle Up are valued just as the horses are. Respect permeates the camp. Ms. Kelly also seeks to mentor others interested in being leaders, and takes on the role of supervising beginning horse camp leaders as they worked with my kids. Whenever I had an issue, Ms. Kelly responded quickly and responsibly. While we don't participate regularly, I get emails from the club and you can see the heart and dedication that she has. Especially exciting is her commitment to helping special populations (i.e., people with disabilities) interact with the horses. This camp is fantastic.

Review from Guidestar

Sara G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My chiildren (& I) have gained so much over the past 3 years at Saddle Up Riding Club. They have learned a great appreciation for the wonders God has given them, whether it be through differently abled people or the wonderful creatures/friends he has blessed us with.
The people who work at Saddle Up help to reinstill that appreciation each week we are there. My children are encouraged, even at their young ages, to take responibility for the creature(s) they ride and "love upon" to the full extent they are able. The Saddle Up focus is on ability, not inability. We were blessed to have learned firsthand that when "their" families are in need - regardless of the nature of the need, the management there is understanding, caring and helpful.
The people and animals we have come to love have become extended family for us.
We are thankful there is a place like this for us all to share in and enjoy, despite our drive of 45 minutes. It is well worth the expenditure of time and we are well rewarded for that investment.
Saddle Up Riding Club it seems is always looking for another way to help the differently abled in the community, offering riding lessons to a wide assortment of ages and abilities, just launching Horses for Heroes to help our disabled vets, just having entered students in to Special Olympics, and so much more. I would encourage anyone to donate their time, talent,goods or services to this charity!!!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been involved with Saddle up Riding club as a volunteer for a little over a year. I have had a very postive experience, and have learned a lot about horses, and disabilities in general. Saddle up has wonderful instructors that exhibit patience, and a passion for teaching others.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My special needs daughter has been involved every summer at Saddle Up in Pinellas Park for the past three years. The transformation that takes place for her is nothing short of miraculous every year when she attends! She learns about riding, and much more. She has an opportunity each year to be with "friends", to make new friends, to learn about caring for the animals and each other, and to be a responsible citizen. Angela doesn't wait until school is out to ask about Saddle Up - every time we drive past the road that leads there she wants to know when she's going again. Miss Kelly and her staff truly bless our family and our community by offering this opportunity for our children.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and need physical therapy to build my core and strength. I have been riding at Saddle Up for just over two years now and the people at the barn are like a second family. After my diagnosis, I learned about horseback riding therapy and was saddened to find that there was no facility near my home. I discovered that Saddle Up was preparing to open close to me and was extremely excited when I registered for my first class. I am no longer able to work and spend quite a bit of time alone at home.
I look forward to my time at the barn, not only for the physical therapy, but also the emotional support shown by everyone there. The sense of freedom when I am riding is indescribable. I feel like I have full use of my legs again and, being a former professional dancer, that lifts my spirits like nothing else.
There are days that my health prevents me from riding, but I still try to make it out to the barn to see everyone. Even if I just sit and encourage the wonderful ladies that ride in the class with me, another MS patient and a disabled vet.
Saddle Up has made a huge difference in my life and given me a sense of purpose again. Without Saddle Up, I am certain that I would not still be able to walk with only a cane and would be spending much more time in my chair.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Saddle Up Riding Club has been the answer to my daughters dreams. She has been asking to ride since she could talk. We didn't want to just give her riding lessons we wanted her to understand all that being with horses entails. We decided to join Saddle Up because the barn times give the children a full experience of being with horses. Our daughter adores going to the barn...not just to ride but to work with the horses and even groom and clean up after them. She adores all of her instructors, and we feel confident that she is safe and cared for while she is there. Kelli Sipos is am amazing woman with an incredible vision and a beautiful spirit. She has manifested her vision and the children so benefit from it's reality.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a disabled US Veteran rated at 70% and have been a Volunteer and the Saddle Up Riding Club, Inc for a about a year. I work as a side walker and interact with the clients. I have been able lose weight and get the exercise I need as a part of my VA treatment. But I get so much more then that the joy and love I receive from the the clients has helped me with my PTSD and overall mental well being. This program makes me fell useful again. I am able to help disable veterans like myself and give back to the community. I have been disabled since the Gulf I would war about 18 years and this has been the first program that has significantly help me, and thought from my volunteer work would only help others. It would be a great loss to the community.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Saddle Up Riding Club allows my son with profound multiple disablities enjoy the benefits of horseback riding. Not just the joy of being on a horse but also the important sensory feedback of how the horse feels walking. Riding the horses encourages his body to work better, increasing his core body strength and body awareness. The staff and volunteers are AWESOME very professional and kind. This organization goes above and beyond in a challanging environment. Travis was one of the first riders and they built a ramp right away to allow him to safely get on the horses. They work hard coordinating and caring for the horses, volunteers and riders.

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been attending Saddle Up Riding Clubs Mommy and Me program with my children for the past three years. They have a great program introducing the youngest of children to horses in a supportive friendly way. My children have now been recreational riding from the age of 2 years old. They are not frightened of huge horse compared to their small statures. They really seem to really enjoy them thanks to this program.
The children are initially introduced to them by feeding them and brushing them before they ride. This really allows them to understand that the horses are gentle and mild; nothing to be afraid of.
The program also introduces many other animals that are around the grounds such as: pot bellied pigs, miniature horse, and dogs.
Our family just loves this place and are so thankful it is available to us!

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Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been taking riding lessons at Saddle Up Riding Club for the past few years. It's remarkable how well she's doing. It has built her self confidence, as well as her leg muscles. She sometimes rides with an autistic boy. He has also grown over the years.

Saddle Up provides a community for these kids to thrive in. The kids love and care for the horses and it gives them a sense of resposibility and belonging. Kellie works tirelessly to provide a safe, friendly, helpful environment for these kids to thrive in. The people that Saddle Up reaches is broad. It's not just kids and their parents that are helped, they also help the Veterans, handicapped and more. Saddle Up is goving back so much to the community. We all benefit from that.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

I ride at Saddle Up Riding Club. It is the best place in the world! My favorite horse is Syd,but I ride the others too. I love being at Saddle Up as much as I can. All the other people there are so nice to me and it makes me want to go every day! This farm should win all the awards!

Client Served

Rating: 4

My daughter has been riding with the staff at Saddle Up Riding Club since she turned 1. She is horse crazy and part of that is the staff and their enthusiasm for children and horses. My daughter has learned so much about animals and farm life, care of animals, and pure love. I think Saddle Up has helped my daughter in so many ways to learn and grow. They provide numerous opportunities for riding and community enrichment including an Easter Egg hunt, Spooky Barn, Christmas Horse, Mommy Me and Horsey Too, Pony Pals, and many more! We can't wait to continue down the path of growing and learning with them!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This riding academy is staffed only by voulnteers that truely love what they are doing. Their love of the horses and children is evident.
What a great place this is!!!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter has attended Saddleupridingclub for 3 years. She loves it and learns how to take care of the horses, ride the horses, and many other things related to other animals and events on the grounds. There are pigs, dogs, cats, goats, chickens, rabbits, and various animals there. She has never been injured and in particular loves the trail days where they ride off of the ranch. She also learns teamwork in taking care of things. Thank you for giving her such a wonderful experience! The Nikolov Family

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

On behalf of my daughter who has cerebral palsy and is non-verbal, we could not be happier with the joy and physical benefit that our daughter, Jacqueline, receives from her therapy as well as the intereaction wiht the horses. Our Saturday visits to Saddle Up are the one thing each week that we can plainly see her look forward to and anticipate. As we approach the ring in the car, she gets more excioted, adn the closer she gets to the actual horses, the faster the run/walks.

Of course, it is the physical benfit that Jacqueline derives from the therapy that is the true benfit from the exercise. As soon as she sits astride the horse she noramlly rides, Roxy, she sits up straighter than at any other time. She becomes more focused and alert, clearly relishing the experience and using muscles that she normally never would. The volunteers and staff of Saddle Up could not be kinder and more interested in our daughter's well being.

Review from Guidestar

Janice T.

Client Served

Rating: 4

Saddle up Riding club is the best! My daughter loves that she gets to care for the horses she rides. She LOVES the horses and her instructor! Learning so much too. Thanks Saddle up riding club!!

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I met Kellie for the first time in 2006. When I heard her talk about starting a riding club, I thought "what a great idea". When I was a child I would of given my right arm to be around horses. Saddle Up gives children a chance to be around these magnificent animals while keeping the cost low for parents. I know that my daughter who is now 20 still associates with some of the friends she met through Saddle Up years ago.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have a three year old daughter with autism. I heard about Saddle Up from other parents in a support group that were getting very positive results. The first time Maggie was on the horse she was very upset, cried, etc, but the staff at Saddle Up stayed right with her, didn't give up on her, judge her, and allowed her to continue to come. The staff at Saddle Up could not be more supportive, positive, and geninue people. They care about our kids just as much as we do.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter Becky, attends barn time at Saddle Up Riding Club in Pinellas Park in Florida. I am so impressed with how she has grown by interacting at Saddle Up Club. Unlike most riding organizations where girls arrive, get on the horse, ride and leave, Becky must participate in all activities related to owning a horse, especially cleaning up after the horse. She now understands much better what it takes to have a horse. Through this organization I see her gaining maturity, independence and a sense of self worth.

Becky is not a special needs kid, but I can only imagine what a difference this kind of interaction would mean to a special needs kid. My nephew who lives in Chicago has autism and I know if he had access to these kinds of activities it would help him greatly. Right now Becky is to young to help directly with the sessions with individuals with special needs but she is looking forward to when she can help out more.

Overall this is a great organization and we are fortunate to have this kind of place in the middle of a large city.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Saddle Up Riding Club is a safe haven for ALL individuals to ride and spend time with the horses and other farm animals! I especially LOVE the pigs!
As a volunteer, I have experienced individuals getting on a horse for the first time in years, feeling very frightened. Shortly after, they have gained confidence being on the horse and many other areas of their life. The individual appears to have even surprised themselves!
It is a very rewarding experience for me, and I totally enjoy the hours that I spend at Saddle Up!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter loves Saddle Up Riding Club. The opportunity to ride has helped develope independence. She can't wait to get there and "saddle up". As a mom I love seeing her riding so high in the saddle with a huge smile on her face.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love volunteering at Saddle Up Riding Club Inc. I have always loved horses and children and could not make up my mind as to who I would rather volunteer with kids or horses and then I came to learn about a place that I could volunteer with both!! I have learned a lot about keeping up with the horses and that they require so much more than just slapping a saddle on their back.
I realize that most important things that you can give a child is love, understanding, compassion and encouragement.

I just love my Saddle Up Club!!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Riding at Saddle Up is the highlight of my daughter's week. She cannot express herself with words, but her eyes and movements say it all! She lights up the moment she awakens on Saturday mornings when I tell her it's riding day. She happily rocks backs and forth the entire hour drive it takes to get there. Then she walks as fast as she can to the barn. If she was able to, I think she'd sprint down the path! After her ride, she helps hold a bucket with a treat for her horse and grins from ear to ear. Pure joy!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering at saddle up riding club is a really great experience. I enjoy working there and its great to see what the therapy does for all who participate.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have MS and learned about Hippotherapy. I went to barn about an hour away. That didn't work out because of the distance. I tried to find a program closer to home. There was none. Then I read about Saddle Up Riding Club starting up in the local paper and immediately got involved. The barn is a mile away. I was there at the beginnning 3 years ago and still going. It is haven of tranquility in the city. The fellow riders I have gotten to know are as thrilled as I am to have the hippotherapy program so close to home. The benefits are tremendous. My legs are stretched. My trunk is strengthened. My balance is tested and improved. I have young friends and gown up friends. The commraderie is a valueable as the physical therapy. The atmosphere is as beneficial to my mind as the therapy is to my body. I look forward to my saturdays at Saddle Up all week. It keeps me postive during the work week. I am lucky to have Saddle Up in my life.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My four year old daughter, Sophia, has been riding at Saddle Up Riding Club for a year. We found out about this organization from the Autism Speaks website. We did research on different forms of horse therapies and Saddle Up offered an exceptional accredited program in our area called NARHA, a federally-registered 501(c3) nonprofit, was formed in 1969 as the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association to promote equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) for individuals with special needs. As parents of Sophia, we wanted the best form of horse therapy for her in which instructors are certified and that is what Saddle Up Riding Club has provided. Every Saturday morning we look forward to seeing Sophia ride it is the highlight of our week. To watch our beautiful non verbal autistic daughter week after week riding.... well it never gets old. I am the proud mama always taking pictures and videos of Sophia riding. With so many limitations in Sophia's life it can be frustrating but not on Saturdays. Riding has given Sophia self confidence, improved her core muscles and addresses her sensory processing disorder in more ways than I ever thought possible. Sophia has a bond with the horse she rides, Roxy, there is a connection between them that is hard to express through words. I am so thankful to all of the volunteers that make it possible for Sophia and the other disabled riders to have this opportunity.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was visiting the area with family when I went to the stables to see my Moms horse. This happen to be the same day the volunteers where working with the handicap children. I met a young man that greeted with a hug and very big smile. In talking with his Mom she told me he begins smiling on Wednesday as he knows Saturday will be his ridding lesson. She said the only time she sees that joy on his face is when he is preparing to go to Saddle Up Ridding Club. His mother also shared with me that they were preparing for their first competition. I watched as they tried boats on they had at the ready, hoping he would not have to go buy his own ridding boats as his mother explained she never thought she would see the day he could compete in something. Her pride in his accomplishment was overwhelming.
This ridding club touches the children it serves, as well as their family and friends. It also impacts and touches the community is severs through acceptance and love of all young people. When I left the stables that day I felt a warm spot in my heart

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have a son with autism that loves horses. We looked all over our county to find a farm suitable for him and when we came upon Saddle Up Riding Club we had a feeling all our prayers had been answered !! Kellie Sipos has been more than kind,generous and loving towards our son. He feels so at home there and Kellie has been gracious enough to accomodate Nick and make him feel a part of the "family" there. This is truly a wonderful farm and I encourage anyone who knows someone who has the love of horses to go out and visit and talk with Kellie. I feel greatful everyday that my son has such a safe,fun,inviting place to fit in.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at Saddle Up Riding Club for over a year, and during that time I have witnessed the joy that horse therapy can bring to adults and children with various disabilities. The rocking motion of the horse offers many benefits to our riders which include increased balance, muscle development, increased self confidence, independence, and cognitive skills development. Our special equestrians compete at Challenge events, and earn ribbons for their participation. Our Executive Director, Kellie Sipos is a certified NAHRA (North American Handicap Riders Association) instructor and together with our other trainers and volunteers, create fun activities for our riders. No two lessons are ever the same and our riders look forward to each session. Riders progress at their own pace and each rider starts with two side walkers and a horse leader. As their skills progress, some are even riding completely independent. It brings a smile to my face to watch our riders overcome barriers and benefit from this special experience.

Review from Guidestar