1990 - The year Saddle Up! was founded

  180 - Number of riders served in 2012

4500 - Average number of lessons in a year

  300 - Number of active volunteers

​Saddle Up! is the region’s oldest and largest recreational therapeutic riding program, and it is the only one exclusively serving children and youth with documented disabilities.

Saddle Up! is also one of only four programs in Tennessee to earn accreditation by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl), the national organization that sets the standards for quality and safety.
Saddle Up! is a facility member in the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA).

Saddle Up!’s mission is to provide children and youth with disabilities the opportunity to grow and develop through therapeutic, educational and recreational activities with horses.


Year round therapeutic riding
SU! equestrian club
Equine Facilitated Learning

Since our first lessons in 1990, Saddle Up! has used various systems to track rider progress. Like many centers, Saddle Up! encountered problems with many of those systems, such as:


The current system was fully implemented in January 2012 with amazing results. Saddle Up! has realized improvements in:


In 2010, an instructor task force was formed to identify the holes in the existing system and brainstorm ways to eliminate the inconsistencies in measuring rider progress. The team worked approximately 1½ years to identify and develop these participant skill charts. The process involved developing a system that showed a rider’s current skill level, tracked rider progress within a skill or set of skills, and eliminated redundancy.

  • Grouping riders with similar skills into classes.
  • Inconsistent documentation of rider development.
  • Measuring rider progress.
  • Providing substitute instructors with an ‘at-a-glance’ view of a rider’s skill set.
  • Offering and/or effectively measuring unmounted components.
  • Using consistent language and terms across riding disciplines.


 Riders are grouped more effective by skill level.

 Rider/Horse mismatching reduced.


 Improves instruction accuracy and consistency.

 Improves communication and goal-setting.

  • Scheduling: Riders are ‘grouped’ more effectively by skill levels.
  • Equine Assignments: Assigning horses to riders is more systematic and has reduced inappropriate assignments (e.g. low-level rider that must be on lead being assigned to a horse that performs best off lead).
  • Instruction: Improves accuracy and consistency of instruction with lesson planning, goal setting, documentation, communication, and rider progress.
  • Progress: Provides documented progress within a skill level and across skill levels.
  • Parent/Rider Communication: Enhances communication and understanding of rider skills and their progress.
  • Structured Flexibility: Promotes individual goal setting by using the structured flexibility within each skill level regardless of riding discipline.


 Improves documentation.

 Enhances parent/rider communication.