What's Up at Saddle Up?
2023 SUMMER SESSION WRAP-UP EDITION
Whew! It was a HOT summer all over the world and the farm wasn’t spared! But even with record temperatures, we had a wonderful session full of friends, fun, and learning! The Vaulting Week crew learned so many new skills, including lunging (thank you, Sampson, for being the best boy!). Miss Heather and Miss Kiva stepped into a full summer of teaching and made every day of Vaulting and Fun on the Farm a blast for everyone. Did we toss a lot of water balloons? You bet we did! Did we bathe a lot of ponies? Check! Were there hay rides? You know there were! And, when the weather allowed, we rode our ponies, too!
Equestrian Club got lucky on the weather and had the fun of roping lessons with Russell, trail rides along Shady Lane, and a fascinating field trip to the Jaeckle Center, where they got to see state-of-the-art equine rehabilitation in action! Miss Lynne and Miss Linda and all of the faithful EC volunteers made the week one to remember. We got to see a LOT of progress in riding and social skills as this group worked hard and played hard on advanced skills.
We love summer here on the farm and we are more than grateful to the instructors who made every week special and to the dozens of volunteers who braved the heat to support programs and help care for the special needs of our heat sensitive horses with extra baths and late turnout. We made it together and we are looking forward to fall!
Celebrating the Accomplishments of
Our Saddle Up! Graduates
'22 Partners in Policymaking Graduate and Saddle Up! program graduate, Peach Chinratanalab, is still young but has long been a policy advocate for people with disabilities. These days, Peach is passionate about accessible transportation. Her parents serve as her primary form of transportation, driving her to work and medical appointments in their accessible van.
Peach says that more accessible public transportation would allow her greater independence. She has met with her state legislators to talk about her concerns. She asks for more investment in accessible transportation options. “I want to see people with disabilities be able to get where they need to go just like anyone else,” she says. “Most public transportation or private ride services like Uber or Lyft aren’t accessible to people who use a power wheelchair. I am advocating for more options for people like me, who need to get to work and want to be out in the community.”
Congratulations, Peach, on being recognized by the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Partner’s Spotlight.
On May 12th, Vanderbilt University held graduation ceremonies at Bridgestone Arena. Graduates, families, and faculty members gathered to honor the accomplishments of the Class of 2023 and look who was among the graduates!
Congratulations, Connor, on this incredible accomplishment. We are so proud of you in so many ways!
Welcome New Saddle Up! Staff
Many of you have met our new Barn Manager, Josie, and if you haven’t you are in for a treat! The smile in the photo is the smile that lights up the barn every day! Josie is a graduate of Asbury University in Kentucky with a BA in Social Work & Equine Studies with a concentration in Equine Assisted Activities. She is well started on her PATH Certification and will be completing that certification with us. We are so excited to have someone in this position who is PATH certified, has specific experience in equine-assisted services, and shares a true passion for our mission. She brings to the position over 17 years of relevant equine experience and currently rides, and cares for, her own three horses. Fun fact – Josie is getting married September 1st!
We are also thrilled to welcome our new Speech Therapist, Natalie Stasch! We are so excited to have her join us and to be able to serve even more children with equine-assisted speech therapy. Natalie owned horses until she was 16 and competed on the UT equestrian club team. She has worked in private practice around Nashville, and recently opened her own practice, Honeysuckle Pediatric Therapy. Natalie received her Master of Science, Speech-Language Pathology from The University of South Florida after completing her bachelor's degree at UT. She has extensive pediatric clinical experience and has worked in evidence-based practices. Welcome, Natalie, to Saddle Up!
Saddle Up! Nominees Selected as PATH REGION 5 Veterinarians and Horse of the Year
This month, several of us will be attending the PATH Region 5 conference in Georgia and will have the pleasure of accepting two Region 5 awards! Tennessee Equine Hospital is the 2023 PATH Intl. Region 5 Veterinarian of the Year! Tennessee Equine is a long-time supporter of Saddle Up! in so many ways, and we couldn't be more excited that our nomination of this wonderful group of professionals has been recognized. As the letter from PATH stated, "Veterinarians willing to commit their time and talents are so essential to the success of a therapeutic riding center. Your nomination of Tennessee Equine Hospital from Saddle Up! shows them to be an outstanding representative of the veterinarian community, and PATH Intl. agrees.” AND SO DO WE! Congratulations to Dr. Monty, Dr. Nathaniel and the entire team!
And, we know if you haven’t already heard the news, you are going to be excited about this! Hard-working and wise equines are the heart of a successful therapeutic riding center. Quick Eternal Sonny AKA BOOMER is an outstanding representative of the equine community, and PATH Intl. agrees! Congratulations, BOOMER 2023 PATH Intl. Region 5 Equine of the Year! Woohooo!! And don’t worry, Boomer will be getting extra treats here on August 19 during the awards dinner since he can’t be there in person.
This summer, Margo, Emily, Dan, and Thumbelina traveled to Murfreesboro every week to share some equine love with the kids at Camp Ability. Camp Ability is a respite day camp for children and young adults with special needs between the ages of 11 to 25 years old that focuses on each camper’s ability to grow in Christ and emphasizes the camper’s abilities, not disabilities. Just as at Saddle Up!, Camp Ability focuses on what kids who have special needs CAN do, not what they cannot. A 4:1 camper to staff ratio allows for modification and adaption to be made which ensures each camper can participate to their fullest potential.
Camp Ability is designed to allow children and young adults with special needs to participate in an interactive, social, and just plain fun environment. Camp Ability's mission is to provide hope, fun and most importantly support to children and young adults with special needs and their families.
It is a joy to be a part of this program and we hope to return next summer!
Music Country Grand Prix 2023 Achieves Highest Gross Receipts in History
The 2023 Music Country Grand Prix, sponsored by Tractor Supply, was a beautiful summer day of exceptional show jumping competition and a wonderful success for everyone involved in planning, décor, logistics, silent auction, and sponsorships. With gross proceeds of over $226,700 (highest revenue total ever) and net proceeds of almost $155,000 (second highest ever), this event continues to generate foundational funding for our mission year over year.
Saddle Up! Founder Alton Kelley was honored during the opening ceremonies by Lynne Evans, who presented the 2023 MCGP Honoree Award to Alton's wife, Sheree Kelley, and his two sons, Robert and Blake.
Special thanks to Honorary Chair, Sarah Ingram, to 2023 Co-Chairs, Trina Hayes and Lise Bohannon, and to Tractor Supply Company and the Tractor Supply Foundation for including Saddle Up! in your support of the communities you serve. And to the dozens of volunteers who make an event like this possible, a thousand thank you’s!
Do all of the SU! Volunteer emails, texts, and phone calls drive you crazy???? Wranglr is the answer!!!
Wranglr is a Volunteer Management Software specifically designed for therapeutic riding centers that you will be able to access from your phone or computer. You will be able to sign up for lessons, view your schedule by day and time, manage your own availability and choose how you want to be notified – all from the convenience of your computer or PHONE!
Training groups have begun and we will be announcing all of the details on full roll-out soon! This will be a huge change for our volunteer program – thanks to Sarah, Kat and Sally for their hard work on this project. And HUGE thanks to the Dugas Family Foundation for funding this program-changing software!
From the Ground Up! EAL Program
Continues to Grow
From the Ground Up! is the newest program at Saddle Up!, and provides Equine Assisted Learning programs to individuals with special needs of all ages using the power of ground work and connection with the horse. This program allows us to provide wider support throughout the community, while using our blessings of facilities and horses to their fullest potential during times when therapy sessions and Adaptive Riding lessons are not typically scheduled.
This fall, we welcome back young people from the Youth Villages program and are thrilled that Jill Snell will be back to lead those sessions. We will also have a new group of participants here from WAVES, a fellow non-profit that empowers individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to progress toward their full potential. These groups will consist of seniors who will spend time with the horses and enjoy lunch in the training room before returning to the WAVES day program. This partnership has been over a year in the making and we can’t wait to get started!
Fall Session Needs Volunteers!
Contact Sally at email@example.com with your availability. We have a bold goal to increase lesson hours by another 20% this year, but we can’t do it without you! Thank you for all you do and for being there for our kids and our horses.
Our hearts are broken as we’ve said goodbye to the beautiful and kind Morgantown. He was surrounded with love and was in the exceptional care of Dr. Nathaniel and the team at Tennessee Equine. We are incredibly grateful to Dana Burke for the loan of this magnificent gelding and to Lorie Duke for thinking of Saddle Up! when it was time for Morgantown to retire from the hunt. He was a wonderful addition to our program and will be greatly missed by everyone who had the privilege to work with him.
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1549 Old Hillsboro Road | Franklin, TN 37069 US
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