Saddle Up!
1549 Old Hillsboro Road
Franklin TN 37069
A Saddle Up! rider kicks up some dust with her volunteers during a therapeutic riding lesson.
Mission Statement
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.
We bring that mission to life by providing:
  • Recreational therapeutic horseback riding lessons. This is our foundation program and the one that serves the most children -- 140 a week during the school year. Once enrolled in our program, children are eligible to participate as riders until their graduation at the age of 19. The riding program is the basis for our Saddle Up! Equestrian Club, which serves our advanced riders, and our innovative Wait List Provisional Riders Program that makes it possible for children/youth on our waiting list to experience program benefits while waiting on a regular program spot. The program serves ages 4 through 18.
  • Physical and occupational therapy, also known as hippotherapy. This is a medically based program that requires specially trained and certified therapists who know how to utilize the horse as a key treatment strategy. The therapy program is open to the general public and serves ages 2 through 18. Once enrolled, participants are eligible to participate until they graduate at age 19.
  • Equine Assisted Learning (EAL). This is an unmounted program that combines classroom (and the classroom can vary from being in the barn to a more traditional setting) with hands-on experiences for students. Curriculum can be tailored to meet goals ranging from academics to life skills. Saddle Up! partners with area schools and groups to provide an applied learning experience. Students must have a disability as our mission states. 
  • Saddle Up! is a premier PATH Intl. facility, and serves as a resource to other centers for continuing education and collaboration.
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Laurie B Kush
Board Chair Mr. Seth Estep
Board Chair Company Affiliation Tractor Supply Company
History & Background
Year of Incorporation 1991
Organization's type of tax exempt status 501-C3
Financial Summary
Graph: Expense Breakdown Graph - All Years
Projected Expenses $1,062,275.00
Projected Annual Revenue $1,062,275.00 (2018)
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.
We bring that mission to life by providing:
  • Recreational therapeutic horseback riding lessons. This is our foundation program and the one that serves the most children -- 140 a week during the school year. Once enrolled in our program, children are eligible to participate as riders until their graduation at the age of 19. The riding program is the basis for our Saddle Up! Equestrian Club, which serves our advanced riders, and our innovative Wait List Provisional Riders Program that makes it possible for children/youth on our waiting list to experience program benefits while waiting on a regular program spot. The program serves ages 4 through 18.
  • Physical and occupational therapy, also known as hippotherapy. This is a medically based program that requires specially trained and certified therapists who know how to utilize the horse as a key treatment strategy. The therapy program is open to the general public and serves ages 2 through 18. Once enrolled, participants are eligible to participate until they graduate at age 19.
  • Equine Assisted Learning (EAL). This is an unmounted program that combines classroom (and the classroom can vary from being in the barn to a more traditional setting) with hands-on experiences for students. Curriculum can be tailored to meet goals ranging from academics to life skills. Saddle Up! partners with area schools and groups to provide an applied learning experience. Students must have a disability as our mission states. 
  • Saddle Up! is a premier PATH Intl. facility, and serves as a resource to other centers for continuing education and collaboration.

Saddle Up! is Middle Tennessee’s oldest and largest equine assisted program. Saddle Up! was incorporated in 1991, a little more than six months after the first riding lessons that began in May 1990. We celebrated our 25th anniversary in 2016.

The founders of Saddle Up! were four people who were involved with an existing therapeutic riding program in Williamson County, Tennessee, who shared a dream. These visionaries saw a need in the community for wider services to more challenged children and concluded that a new riding program was needed in the area. The name "Saddle Up!" was proposed and adopted for this vision. Helen Winter graciously offered the use of Schandwin Farm, even donating her horses and tack. The program began with 10 riders and borrowed horses in May of 1990 and a determination to prove that “all children are equal in the saddle.”

 Saddle Up! now operates year-round, serving more than 270 children a year (once enrolled, eligible to ride until they reach their 19th birthday) on our 34-acre farm in Williamson County with a state-of-the art, ADA compliant facility that includes an indoor arena.
We offer multiple programs. These include our foundation recreational therapeutic horseback riding program, equine assisted learning, our medically-based physical and occupational therapy services, and the Saddle Up! Equestrian Club for our advanced riders.
In addition, we offer several workshops and training opportunities on various subjects relating to equine assisted programs and disabilities throughout the year. We also have an Instructor in Training program to prepare candidates for the national Instructor certification, and we host the PATH Intl workshop and certification for Instructor candidates. 

Through growth and change, Saddle Up! remains constant in relying on the power of the horse to positively change lives. Our RIDES® software, developed by our Program Director, tracks measurable outcomes around the success of each rider with physical, cognitive, emotional, and social pre and post assessments.

Like our horses, our people are prepared for their jobs- instructors much have PATH International certifications, therapists must have American Hippotherapy Association certification, and volunteers must complete required training at Saddle Up!. 
From helping with our programs to helping in the barn, office, on the Advisory Board and special events, our trained volunteers served 16,121 hours to benefit our organization in 2016.



At Saddle Up!, lives changes – one hoof beat at a time.

For 27 years, Saddle Up! has been the place “Where all children are equal in the saddle.” Saddle Up! continues that enduring commitment to help children and youth with disabilities grow and develop through therapeutic, educational and recreational activities with horses.

Our 2016 highlights include:

* Serving a total of 60 NEW participants.

* Increasing the number of children served from 265 in 2015 to 274 in 2016.  The program participants experienced 5,546 hours of service. 

* Continuing the use and marketing of RIDES®, the system we created to better set and track measurable outcomes around a rider’s progress. Saddle Up! invested three years in developing and testing the unique system, and it has been well received after the international launch during the 2013 PATH Intl. conference.

* Reducing the number of children and time of our waiting list to 108, down from 196 only two years ago. Plus, we continue to offer our special Wait List Provisional Riders Program so that children on the waiting list have an opportunities to ride until a regular riding program spot is open.

* Maintaining a solid financial position through the combination of planning, generous support from our community, and stewardship of all resources entrusted to Saddle Up!.

For 2018, Saddle Up! is focused on:

* Increasing the number of children served in our riding, therapy and school programs.

* Maintaining strong financial health that helps keep our fees affordable and also puts more than 77 cents of each dollar donated into program support.

* Ensuring that we maintain the safety, quality and highest standards of operation that Saddle Up! is known for as we grow to serve more children.

* Maintaining the standards of our accreditation as a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center, which we did in January of 2015 with a 100% compliance score. Fewer than 30% of PATH Intl. member centers have the Premier Accredited Center designation.  

* Training and mentoring new instructors and providing continuing education opportunities for our current instructors. All Saddle Up! Instructors are PATH Intl. registered, with training to ensure safety and state of the industry instructional standards that demonstrate best results for our riders and herd. 
* Continuing to grow our volunteer base who served 16,212 hours for a total benefit of $379,811 to our organization in 2016.
Donations and volunteers (two legged and four legged) remain our greatest needs. We rely almost exclusively on the generosity of individuals, businesses and foundations to fund the gap between fees and actual cost of programs, including scholarships for riders. Gifts of any size are deeply appreciated and help make a difference. For example, $25 will buy a bag of feed, $100 will pay for dental services for one horse, and on average, depending on the type of lesson, a minimum of $2,880 covers the full cost of lessons for 1 student for 16 weeks. (The $2,880 is based on the true cost of a lesson which is a minimum on average of $180 per lesson). Our Therapeutic Riding lesson fee is still only $30 -- or only 17% of cost BEFORE scholarships.) 

Our program also could not operate without the dedication of the 500 volunteers who serve our more than 274 program participants and throughout the organization including our Board, lesson volunteers, barn volunteers, special event volunteers and more. Saddle Up! was founded by volunteers and remains a volunteer-driven organization.
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer Saddle Up! relies on the generosity of individuals and organizations to make its programs possible. You can help by making a donation online or by mailing it to our farm at 1549 Old Hillsboro Road, Franklin, TN 37069. Volunteers are the lifeblood of Saddle Up! and are part of all we do. If you would like to join the fun, check out website calendar to learn more and upcoming training dates.
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Human Services / Children's and Youth Services
Secondary Organization Category Recreation & Sports / Equestrian
Tertiary Organization Category Youth Development / Single Organization Support
Areas of Service
Areas Served
TN - Cheatham
TN - Davidson
TN - Dickson
TN - Maury
TN - Montgomery
TN - Robertson
TN - Rutherford
TN - Sumner
TN - Williamson
TN - Wilson
Board Chair Statement

Saddle Up! is proud to carry on the visions and dreams of our founders, who saw a need and answered it with action. At Saddle Up!, we see amazing things on an almost daily basis. The child who doesn’t speak saying his or her first word -- ever -- to his/her horse. The child who relies on a wheelchair for mobility sitting astride a horse, experiencing through the motion of the horse what walking feels like and seeing the world from a totally new perspective. The child with autism responding in ways parents didn’t think possible. These and hundreds of other stories are threads in the fabric that is Saddle Up!

As we look to the future, two challenges continue to stand out. The first is to expand our base of supporters, both donors and volunteers. The second is ongoing – how to maximize our capacity to serve more children and in the process continue to reduce our waiting list and time for regular spots in our riding program. We continue our efforts on both of these and know that with the continued generosity of our community, Saddle Up! will remain the place "Where all children are equal in the saddle."

Concerning the first challenge, we know this program works. We also know it is not cheap. Providing a riding program requires financial support for all the components required – the horses, equipment, feed, tack, land, facilities, trained instructors and more. It costs Saddle Up! at least $180 to put a child on a horse. We charge only $30, or 17% of the costs, before scholarshops. As the program has grown, so has the need for increased support, especially as we've experienced rising costs for needed supplies, fuel, hay and more. A huge thank you to our current supporters! If you're not a current supporter, please consider a gift of any size to help keep our programs available for the special children we serve.

Concerning volunteers, we always need volunteers! We could not provide our programs without the more than 225 volunteers who give their time on a weekly basis for our programs -- or without the nearly 500 total volunteers who serve in all areas of Saddle Up!. They are priceless! Without them, either we would be doing much less or our costs would skyrocket to maintain our current services. To our current volunteers, thank you! To those of you interested in volunteering, please check the calendar on our website,, for new volunteer training dates.

We have made significant progress on our second main challenge -- how to reduce the number of children waiting to participate in the program -- is ongoing. We've cut the number waiting from over 183 to about 108, and the waiting time from more than 4 years to about 1.5 years. In addition, we continue our innovative Wait List Provisional Riders Program that offers children/youth on the waiting list a chance to ride until a regular program spot is open.

We are confident that as more Middle Tennesseans know about the work at Saddle Up!, they will want to join us in changing lives for the special children we serve. With committed leadership from our Board, support from our volunteers and donors, and the dedication and expertise of our staff, Saddle Up! is moving forward on a firm foundation.

CEO Statement

Honoring our history and building our future, Saddle Up! remains a mission-driven organization that is committed to providing a quality, safe and effective program “Where all children are equal in the saddle.”

Evidence of the program's quality can be seen by the achievement of 100% compliance in reaccreditation as a PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) International Premier Accredited Center in January 2015. Independent evaluators did an on-site visit to assess Saddle Up! in the areas of program, facilities and administration in terms of actual practices observed and written documentation. We take great pride in hitting our goal of 100%, especially because it reflects our day to day commitment to and implementation of the PATH Intl. safety and quality standards. Fewer than 30% PATH Intl. member centers have earned premier accredited center status.

We know that without our dedicated corps of volunteers, now standing 500 strong, Saddle Up! would either have to drastically reduce the number of children we serve or significantly increase our budget. At the same time, we’re working to continually improve our volunteer program with upgrades in training and expanded volunteer roles that better utilize the skills and abilities volunteers bring to Saddle Up!.

If you visit Saddle Up!, you’ll quickly see that we rely upon the power of the horse, the commitment of our volunteers, and the excellence of our highly qualified staff to bring our mission to life. The horse is at the center of this unique and special partnership. It is the horse who opens the world of possibilities to our riders. And it is the horse that makes the experience fun! In fact, although our riders experience therapeutic benefits from their ground and mounted lessons, most of them think of their Saddle Up! time as fun time.


Wonderful things happen when you bring horses and humans together. We see that daily here at Saddle Up! – the “can do” place for our riders, many of whom hear “can’t” far too often in their daily lives.  

The Saddle Up! founders dreamed of creating a program that would serve children and youth with disabilities through the power of the horse. The recreational therapeutic riding lessons they began in May 1990 remain the centerpiece of our programs. The riding program serves children/youth from ages 4 through 18. Our riders face daily more than 60 types of disabilities, and many of them have multiple disabilities. They also participate in many therapies on a regular basis. At Saddle Up!, they get many therapeutic benefits, but in a single program that offers fun and in a place “Where all children are equal in the saddle.”
In lessons, each child is matched with a horse and up to three volunteers. Lessons are taught by nationally certified PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) International instructors. The instructor creates lessons tailored to the needs of the child. The lesson may be private, semi-private or in a group, depending on the child’s abilities and needs. In addition to riding a horse, students who are able participate in all elements of horsemanship by grooming and putting tack on their horse.

Riding a horse creates a three-dimensional movement that even the most state-of-the art equipment can't duplicate. It provides the motions of walking for riders with mobility problems. Riding also provides opportunities for behavioral, cognitive and emotional learning and growth. We’ve had children hesitant to be near a horse grow into competent riders, uncertainty evolve to confidence, and physical weaknesses become strengths. At Saddle Up!, we’ve seen children say their first word – ever! – to their horse.
Category Recreation & Sports, General/Other Equestrian
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), People/Families with of People with Disabilities, Other Health/Disability
Short Term Success

Our short-term measurement of success took a quantum leap with our creation and implementation of RIDES -- the Rider Instruction, Development, and Evaluation System.

Led by our Education & Training Team and Program Director, all of our staff Instructors were instrumental in developing RIDES. This was a three-year process invested in defining, testing and finalizing the system to provide:
  • Written skill sets for Instructors.
  • Defined development for rider progression. 
  • Written components for creating a rider's goals and objectives.
  • Measured rider evaluation levels.
  • Mounted and unmounted components.
  • Capability for data collection.

The RIDES process is used to teach mounted and unmounted skills and to set and measure rider goals and objectives, from the fundamentals to cantering.

RIDES addressed an area much needed in therapeutic riding: a clearly defined goal setting, progress levels and progress measurement. It was presented at the PATH Intl. conference to a packed house, and has been adopted by other Instructors and/or programs. We anticipate more programs will utilize the process in the future. We know that we will continue to monitor and refine it because it has proven to be a major improvement for our riding program.
In addition to RIDES, we get feedback from families both informally and through periodic online surveys. Parents' stories about how riding at Saddle Up! underscore how our programs change lives -- through the power of the horse. 

Long term Success

Because we are a recreational therapeutic program, we focus on individuals and their successes. We have seen growth in several of our participants. For example, one young rider named Grace began as a very shy, quiet girl who had a natural ability on a horse. Over time, she began to blossom. She talked and interacted with others in the barn. At age 13, she chose to quit riding at Saddle Up! and became a volunteer. By then she had her own horse and was competing successfully in several dressage shows and, in fact, went on to win the high point award in dressage at a national horse show in New York with non-challenged riders. Being a volunteer required Grace to improve her reading and writing skills to know what equipment horses needed and to make any notes about horse needs or problems. In 2010 Grace became part of the paid Saddle Up! staff as a Lesson Assistant with responsibilities to help with horses and lessons. She also chose to financially support the program with her own donation to the Saddle Up! annual fund campaign. Grace has continue to excel as an equestrian, and we look forward to years of watching this young lady continue to grow. In 2016, Grace graduated from our program.

At the same time, we also look for success "beyond the barn" -- in other words, how skills and other areas learned or improved carry over to help in every day life. It may be increased attention span. Or more mobility. Or improved social skills. The "success" varies with each child. We gauge this from feedback that parents and families share. Though it is not a primary purpose of our programs, it is definitely beneficial in both the short-term and potentially throughout the participant's life.
Program Success Monitored By

In addition to ongoing evaluation by the Instructors of each program participant, Saddle Up! regularly does surveys to get input from families, volunteers and staff. The surveys are designed to show where our performance is doing well and the areas we need to improve. Results are shared organization-wide and are used in developing plans to address areas needing improvement.

Examples of Program Success

As the earlier examples show, the therapeutic recreational riding program works. Although our emphasis is on recreation with therapeutic benefits as a secondary area, we regularly see progress in our participants. For example, one young participant regularly used a walker when at the barn due to mobility problems caused by cerebral palsy. Over time, he progressed so that he is rarely seen with a walker. Not long ago, one teenage rider who has autism and rarely says a word surprised his Instructor and lesson volunteers by letting loose with a stream of words and conversation during his lesson. With nearly 180 riders, there are an equal number of success stories to share. And that doesn't count the benefits to the families and to our amazing volunteers, many of whom say volunteering at Saddle Up! is therapeutic for themselves.

Hippotherapy is a medically based program that requires a medical referral. It is like other therapy programs except that it utilizes the horse -- which makes a huge difference.
With hippotherapy, the therapist's treatment has the child responding to the horse. Responding to the horse's movement and performing various therapeutic activities while on the horse helps the child achieve specific therapy goals.
Each therapist must be specially trained and certified to provide hippotherapy at Saddle Up!. Currently Saddle Up! has two physical therapists and one occupational therapist on staff.
The program serves children beginning at age 2 and is open to the public.
The hippotherapy program normally does have openings available on a regular basis. The treatment sessions are typically 10-week periods, with treatment sessions once a week.
Saddle Up! is the only Tennessee facility member of the American Hippotherapy Association.
Population Served , ,
Equine Assisted Learning, or EAL, is a hands-on educational program that uses the interactions and developing relationships between horses and humans in an environment of learning and self-discovery.
It is designed to promote personal growth and the development of positive social/life skills in a fun and supportive environment. Each equine interaction is framed to help students learn and grow.
The barn/farm environment naturally lends itself as a unique multi-sensory classroom. Specially certified Instructors work with the school and teachers to set curriculum objectives and overall goals that can range from academics to social skills.
Through interactions with horses, students have the opportunity to capture concepts, practice new skills, and reflect on  how they might apply what they have learned to their own lives.
Category Youth Development, General/Other Youth Development, General/Other
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), People/Families with of People with Disabilities, Other Health/Disability
Short Term Success
On a short-term basis, the EFL program will deliver two different types of goals. The first is measured achievement of goals set by the participating school/organization for its students. The second is the achievement of individual goals for each student. Again, these will vary based on the curriculum chosen by the school/organization.
Long term Success
Participation in this program can provide lifelong benefits for the students. The exact benefits will depend on the school's goals for their students who are participating and the individual student's experiences. Gaining confidence on how to interact with others. Learning better communications skills. Improving academic skills like arithmetic, history or geography. These are all examples of short-term benefits that can carry over through a lifetime.
In a recent conversation with the Headmaster of our EAL partner Benton Hall Academy, she was sharing the positive impact the program has with students. And their excitement about participating in it. She said:

"If you could hear them when they come back (from Saddle Up!) to school, they are almost breathless telling us what they did.”

Program Success Monitored By
We monitor success by: 1) goals vs. achievements for the group, 2) individual achievement, and 3) feedback from the participating school/organization.
Examples of Program Success
This program marked its first full year in the fall of 2013. Our feedback to date has come from school administrators, teachers and parents of participants. It is more qualitative than quantitative in nature. It has been very positive. We will continue to solicit feedback from those groups and to measure goals vs. achievements over time.
Saddle Up! has offered various educational offerings through the year, including our Instructor in Training program and annually hosting the PATH Intl. workshop and certification for Registered Instructors. The instructor-based programs help make it possible for Saddle Up! and other equine-assisted centers to have qualified instructors trained specifically for our programs.
We continue to offer those two programs, and we have expanded with other learning opportunities during the year. We frequently partner with other organizations and/or experts to provide the workshops/seminars. For example, we have an ongoing relationship with MTSU  and Belmont University taking interns and teaching classes, and in 2018 we will offer to our staff and fellow Path International partners across the country: PATH International Interactive Vaulting and Certification; PATH International Registered Instruction Workshop and Certification; and PATH International Advanced Instructor Certification.
Knowing that continual learning is essential to quality of our programs and organizational operations, Saddle Up! is expanding its training opportunities as part of its newly adopted strategic plan.
Many workshops are open to the public. To learn about opportunities, please visit our website calendar and our Facebook page.
Category Education, General/Other Education, General/Other
Population Served Adults, People/Families with of People with Disabilities, People/Families with of People with Disabilities
Short Term Success
Short term success can be seen in feedback received by training participants. Organizationally, it is also seen in training opportunities being at or near capacity with people attending them.
Long term Success
Long term success can be seen in at least two ways. Training related specifically to teaching/leading equine assisted activities for children and youth with disabilities will improve the level of teaching, with the ultimate result being increased learning by program participants. The second long-term success is that improved teaching and related performances will boost the overall quality of equine assisted programs as an industry.
Program Success Monitored By
Right now we focus on quantitatively measuring short term success. We do this by getting direct consumer feedback at the end of training sessions. We use the feedback to assess the effectiveness of the training provided and to improve our training in terms of topics offered and revising current trainings to make them better.  We also use our RIDES assessment to track measurable progress towards goals.
Examples of Program Success
Feedback from participants in community development training session, "Autism, Equine and Artistic Expressin," received consistently high marks by those participating in the workshop. Similarly, an in-service training day for teachers about our new equine facilitated learning (EFL) program received very positive verbal feedback from the teachers. Many commented that the in-service training really helped them understand what their students were doing in the EFL program and how it benefitted the students.
Both the Waitlist Provisional Riders and Saddle Up! Equestrian Club (SUEC) programs are extensions of our core recreational therapeutic riding program.
Recognized as a finalist for the Frist Foundation's Innovation in Action award, the Waitlist Provisional Riders Program was created by Saddle Up! to provide opportunities for children on the waiting list to participate in our riding program. The program also helped increase the day time use of our facility. The children remain on the waiting list and their place on the list does not change, but the Provisional Riders program does get them on a horse to experience benefits of riding while they are waiting for a regular program opening.
The Saddle Up! Equestrian Club (SUEC) provides a way for our more advanced riders to increase their riding skills while also learning about horse, barn and farm care. SUEC members meet for two-hour periods, with time split between riding and other activities. They've also done field trips, including one to Tennessee Equine Hospital. Modeled after the U.S. Pony Club program, the SUEC members also earn recognition for successful completion of various projects or learning goals.
Category Recreation & Sports, General/Other Equestrian
Population Served People/Families with of People with Disabilities, K-12 (5-19 years),
Short Term Success
Success is measured by members earning badges and other recognition that demonstrates achievement of learning and performance based personal goals. In addition, growth in the non-equine related areas of confidence, communications, social skills, etc. can be seen both short and long-term.
Long term Success
Because this involves multiple activities and goals, SUEC members will have the opportunity to increase equestrian and equine-related care skills, improve communications and socialization, and increase their self-confidence. All those should help them during their time now and as adults.
Program Success Monitored By
Individual member's success is measured by earning badges, etc.
Examples of Program Success
The SUEC is a small program, as it serves those riding students with skills to ride independently and care for their horses. Our SUEC members have consistently demonstrated achievements in goals vs. results as shown by earning their badges, etc. Though not directly measure, we monitor the social, communications, confidence and other factors that this program promotes. It has also been rewarding to see the club members become a group.
CEO Comments

Teaching a lesson at Saddle Up! requires a strong team of Instructor, volunteers, and the ultimate teacher, the horse. The Instructor is the professional responsible for maximizing the learning and growth opportunities for all involved. In partnership with the family and our Program Director, the Instructor determines whether a private, semi-private or group lesson best serves the student. The Instructor also works closely with the Equine Manager to select the best horse for the student. It's also the Instructor who sets goals for the student and creates lesson plans to achieve goals based on the student's abilities. And the Instructor is the ongoing "teacher" for volunteers working in lessons. Saddle Up! deeply appreciates the professionalism, passion and compassion our Instructors bring to their job. In addition, we are grateful that the generosity of individuals, organizations/businesses and foundations in our community make it possible for Saddle Up! to provide the PATH Intl.  Instructor certifications and workshops at our farm. The certifications and workshops benefit not only Saddle Up!'s program but also other programs throughout Middle Tennessee and across the country. Through them, your support helps meet the ongoing increase in need for equine assisted programs to serve individuals with special needs and other types of help through the power of the horse.

For our medically-based therapy services program, goal-setting and monitoring is like that at any therapu office. The major difference is that the horse is key to the treatment strategy. In addition to a specially certified therapist, each hippotherapy session will include a horse handler and supporter, who is focused on the client as a sidewalker in a recreational riding lesson does.
Our equine assisted learning team works hand-in-hand with the school to set goals for each session and for the students. The Saddle Up! Instructor develops specific lessons and activities to achieve those goals and regularly reports progress to the school.
Workshops providing an ongoing learning environment at Saddle Up! from disabilities to equines, and everything in between. They also provide either training and/or certification opportunities for PATH Intl. Registered Level Instructors or for American Hippotherapy Association Level 1 certification candidates. 
All of our programs work to change lives -- through the power of the horse! 
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Seth Estep
Company Affiliation Tractor Supply Company
Term Jan 2018 to Dec 2018
Board Members
Ms. Nancy Bass HCA HealthcareVoting
Ms. Jill R. Bosse Allergan, Inc.Voting
Mr. William Caldwell Ortale Kelley Law FirmVoting
Ms. Beth Davidson HCA TriStar Centennial Medical CenterVoting
Ms. Lorie Duke Community VolunteerVoting
Mr. Seth Estep Tractor Supply CompanyVoting
Ms. Andrea Hilderbrand MARS Petcare USVoting
Ms. Michelle Holland YLC Board InternNonVoting
Mr. Robert Jenner HCA, Inc.Voting
Ms. Fiona King Worth PropertiesVoting
Ms. Laurie Kush BS, MHR, Rule 31 MediatorExecutive Director, Saddle Up!NonVoting
Mr. Art Napolitano DXC TechnologyVoting
Ms. Deborah Newman Community VolunteerVoting
Ms. Margaret Orthwein Lipman BrothersVoting
Ms. Katherine Radel TriStar Southern Hill Medical CenterVoting
Ms. Anna Robertson Ham Robertson Media GroupVoting
Mr. Jeff Wagner Sage ConsultingExofficio
Dr. Nathaniel Wright Tennessee Equine HospitalVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 15
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 10
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 75%
Does the organization have written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Does the organization have a written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage of Board Members making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of Board Members making In-Kind Contributions 50%
Does the Board include Client Representation? Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Advisory Board / Advisory Council
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Risk Management Provisions
Accident & Injury Coverage
Automobile Insurance
Directors & Officers Policy
General Property Coverage & Professional Liability
Professional Liability
Workers Compensation & Employers' Liability
Additional Board Members
Ms. Cathy Stewart Brown Community Volunteer
Ms. Lauren Cannon Metropolitan Bank
Ms. Debbie Wallace Craig Community Volunteer
Mr. Jeff Cunningham Ingram Entertainment, Inc.
Mr. Quick Foy American Constructors
Ms. Karen Garfield Pilates Franklin
Ms. Suzy Heer Community Volunteer
Ms. Mary Anne Howland Ibis Communications
Ms. Sarah Ingram Community Volunteer
Ms. Lisa McInturff Community Volunteer
Ms. Janet Nock Cardinal Health Pharmacy Solutions
Mr. Matt Paco WSMV
Ms. Jennifer Pennington Community Volunteer
Mr. James Stadler Jr.Grace Development
Dr. Meredith Voyles Veterinary Ophthalmology Services
Mr. Jeff Wagner Sage Consulting
Ms. Joni Werthan Warioto Farm, Inc.
Mr. Gerald C. Wigger Ortale Kelley Law Firm
Ms. Janet S. Wilkins Community Volunteer
Ms. Kristy Williams Heritage Foundation of Wm Co - Main Street
CEO Comments

Since its founding, Saddle Up! has benefited from the vision, leadership and commitment of dedicated volunteers willing to go more than the extra mile to bring a dream to life, nourish it and give it a firm foundation for the future. The earliest volunteers set the stage with their vision of a horseback riding program to serve children with special needs. They found a kindred spirit in Helen Winter, who donated the use of Schandwin Farm, her horses and tack to launch the program. They also braved the elements to offer riding lessons to 10 riders, outdoors, when weather permitted.

The founders, volunteers and early Boards persisted through several challenges -- including sometimes donating funds to make sure we had horse feed -- driven by the dream of an equine-based program for children and youth with disabilities. 

Our Board carries on the tradition of dreaming dreams and expanding possibilities. It was their vision that led to our current home that makes it possible to provide a year-round programs for the children and young people we serve. Our current Board is focused on ensuring that Saddle Up! maintains a family feel and quality/safe programs as we continue to grow to serve more special equestrians.

Our Board is also building the future with the mission at the heart of its work and sound business principles as the guide for growth, including an endowment fund to ensure future viability. 

All work is done to make sure that Saddle Up! remains the place, "Where all children are equal in the saddle."
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Ms. Laurie B Kush
Term Start Aug 2017
Laurie Kush brings relevant education to Saddle Up! with a BS Education from the Pennsylvania State University (cross curricular education for special needs populations), and a Masters in Organizational Development and Conflict Management from Lipscomb University (MHR).  Her extensive experience crosses many sectors and states: Teacher, State College School District, PA; Ad Agency Point of Purchase Accounts Manager Peugeot/Volvo, MI; National Sales Manager NBC TV affilate, NY; Director Community Development for the Arts, CT; Special Education Advocate, NH; Campaign Manager Finance Real Estate and Investment Sector, United Way Davidson, TN; Director Corporation for National and Community Service, TN; Associate Director Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County, TN; Director of Employee and Volunteer Engagement and Pet Therapy Programs, Vanderbilt Health, TN; and Hospital Administrator, Veterinary Specialty Hospitals serving a 5 state area.  Her renaissance background adds a great mix of knowledge, skills and aptitude allowing her to juggle the multiple roles of a non-profit Executive Director.
Laurie has also been an instructor at the Center for Nonprofit Management in Nashville as well as for the Mayor's council for diversity and inclusion for mature populations.
Full Time Staff 10
Part Time Staff 26
Volunteers 500
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 70%
Plans & Policies
Does the organization have a documented Fundraising Plan? Yes
Does the organization have an approved Strategic Plan? Yes
Number of years Strategic Plan Considers 5
When was Strategic Plan adopted? May 2013
In case of a change in leadership, is a Management Succession plan in place? Yes
Does the organization have a Policies and Procedures Plan? Yes
Does the organization have a Nondiscrimination Policy? Yes
Center for Nonprofit Management Excellence Network2003
Williamson County Chamber of Commerce2004
Community Health Charities2008
Belmont University2010
Society for Human Resource Management2010
External Assessments and Accreditations
External Assessments and Accreditations
Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International Premier Accredited Center2015
Region 5 Certified Professional of the YearPATH Intl.2014
Region 5 Equine of the YearPATH Intl.2014
Region 5 Veterinarian of the YearPATH Intl.2014
Finalist Revenues Development AwardThe Frist Foundation2013
Region 5 Certified Professional of the YearPATH Intl.2012
National Youth Equestrian of the YearPATH Intl. (formerly NARHA)2012
Region 5 Instructor of the YearNARHA2011
Innovation in Action FinalistFrist Foundation2011
Board Member of the Year FinalistKraft CPA2011
Servant's Heart Award FinalistBaptist Healing Trust2009
National Independent Youth Rider of the YearNARHA2009
Region 5 Instructor of the YearNARHA2007
Region 5 Horse of the YearNARHA2006
Region 5 Volunteer of the YearNARHA2003
Senior Staff
Title Business Director
Title Program Director
Title Development Director
Title Volunteer Services Director
CEO Comments
Our staff brings more than 350 years of combined experience in the field of equine assisted activities. All staff members are mission driven and committed to ongoing learning so that we continually improve the services to our participants. The Saddle Up! management team combines a results focus with an eagle eye on maintaining costs. Our "horse staff" are true heroes who make the programs work.
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01 2018
Fiscal Year End Dec 31 2018
Projected Revenue $1,062,275.00
Projected Expenses $1,062,275.00
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Endowment Spending Percentage (if selected) 0%
Detailed Financials
Revenue and ExpensesHelpFinancial data for prior years is entered by foundation staff based on the documents submitted by nonprofit organizations.Foundation staff members enter this information to assure consistency in the presentation of financial data across all organizations.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Revenue$1,578,087$1,076,984$1,227,135
Total Expenses$990,789$960,439$956,373
Revenue Less Expenses$587,298$116,545$270,762
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$1,243,650$648,616$733,437
Investment Income, Net of Losses$356$75,741$160,388
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$140,385$140,956$143,252
Revenue In-Kind$31,191$40,699$37,404
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$777,060$753,684$753,344
Administration Expense$61,499$66,439$63,185
Fundraising Expense$152,230$140,316$139,844
Payments to Affiliates--$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.591.121.28
Program Expense/Total Expenses78%78%79%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue11%18%16%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$7,948,452$7,107,279$7,209,565
Current Assets$1,444,956$1,434,804$1,566,142
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$0$0$0
Total Net Assets$7,948,452$7,107,279$7,209,565
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, Gifts and Grants $1,243,650Contributions, Gifts and Grants $648,616Contributions, Gifts & Grants $733,437
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountProgram Revenue $162,043Program Revenue $169,799Investment Income $160,388
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising Events $140,385Fundraising Events $140,956Program Services $151,914
IRS Letter of Exemption
Capital Campaign
Is the organization currently conducting a Capital Campaign for an endowment or the purchase of a major asset? No
Capital Campaign Goal $0.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
TN Charitable Solicitations Registration Yes - Expires June 2018
Organization Comments Saddle Up! remains financially strong through the continuing generosity of our supporters combined with solid business practices and stewardship of all resources. Our financial strength makes it possible to keep our fees affordable, maintain quality in all areas of our operations, and be prepared for emergencies. Financial Comments Financial figures taken from the Form 990.
Financial documents prepared by Frasier, Dean & Howard, PLLC.
Comment provided by Kathryn Bennett 10/2/17.
Nonprofit Saddle Up!
Address 1549 Old Hillsboro Road
Franklin, TN 37069
Primary Phone (615) 794-1150
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Laurie B Kush
Board Chair Mr. Seth Estep
Board Chair Company Affiliation Tractor Supply Company
Year of Incorporation 1991

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