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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

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!

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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