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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

Community Stories

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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!

Review from Guidestar

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

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.

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

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