Saddle Up!
615-794-1150 ext. 320
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1549 Old Hillsboro Road
Franklin, TN 37069
Organization Details



Saddle Up's mission is to impact the lives of children and young adults with disabilities by providing opportunities to grow and develop through therapeutic, educational and recreational experiences with horses.


In November 1989, a core group of volunteers quietly launched a dream. They wanted to give wings to children with disabilities through a program they named Saddle Up! that would focus on recreational activities with horses. Saddle Up! began as a one-night-a-week program in daylight and good weather only for 10 students at a loaned farm using borrowed tack and horses, and offering only one program (Adaptive Riding). The dream of that core group of founding volunteers has grown far beyond even their imaginations. Saddle Up! now operates eight programs year-round from our own 34-acre farm, which includes an all-weather riding arena, specialized therapy spaces, stables for up to 28 horses and the ability to serve over 200 children and young adults each year. Saddle Up! programs include Adaptive Riding, Therapy Services (Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy, which use the horse as a treatment partner), Advanced Rider Equestrian Club, From the Ground Up, Adaptive Horsemanship, Interactive Vaulting, Fun on the Farm (summer only) and Alumni Transitions (a program serving Saddle Up! graduates, many of whom have aged out of other services).

Saddle Up! relies on 500 dedicated volunteers assisting in a myriad of ways, providing over 15,000 volunteer hours of service annually. Saddle Up! is the oldest and largest program of its kind in Middle Tennessee, and the only one exclusively serving children and young adults with disabilities. The growth that Saddle Up! has experienced over the past 30 years demonstrates the ongoing need for their unique programs and services.


Children and young adults enrolled in Saddle Up's programs show improvement in flexibility, balance and muscular strength. For individuals with mental or emotional disabilities, the unique relationship formed with the horse can lead to increased confidence, patience and self-esteem. Saddle Up! provides opportunities for physical, occupational and speech therapy; physical exercise; cognitive stimulation; learning; confidence building; creation of social and team networks and recreation.

Testimonial from rider parent Elizabeth R.:

"Our abiding desire for Kenbe is for him to live the life he chooses without any boundaries that others might place on him. Saddle Up! builds confidence, spreads hope, brings comfort, improves balance and strength, brings joy, and provides answers. It's a place where, as a parent, I see all the things that Kenbe CAN do. Some specific examples of how Kenbe has benefitted from Saddle Up! programs include: gaining core balance and strength; improved confidence; and self-satisfaction of accomplishing his goals. With the profound influence of Saddle Up! programs, instructors, staff, volunteers and all those part of its healing influence, Kenbe has gained an enhanced sense of pride and accomplishment. As Kenbe's mom, I see his transformation and progress that defy all expectations."


Financial / budget needs include the growing cost of maintaining our herd of therapy horses, as well as our facility, which requires regular maintenance and upgrades to meet our high safety standards for riders, horses and volunteers. Furthermore, with a growing waitlist of riders, we are also challenged with maintaining instructors and therapists on staff that have the PATH International credentials needed to meet demand for our services.

CEO Statement

For over 30 years, Saddle Up! has been transforming the lives of children and young adults diagnosed with a disability or learning difference through the movement and motivation of the horse. Saddle Up! annually empowers over 200 special equestrians ages 2 through 26 to grow stronger and thrive by employing a care team of trained instructors, therapists, therapy horses, and volunteers. Through interactions with their fellow riders and care team members, riders learn to socialize independently and gain confidence that impacts every aspect of their lives.

As Middle Tennessee's largest and oldest Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) Premier Accredited Center exclusively serving children and young adults, Saddle Up! is often recognized as the benchmark facility for best practices in our industry. A premier accreditation ensures that our programs are safe and evidence-based, and that our management staff, certified instructors, and licensed therapists adhere to the strictest professional standards. Our therapy horses are carefully selected and trained and then matched to the needs of each rider and their volunteer team. The non-judgmental relationship between horse and rider, the encouragement of each team member, and the warm and familiar environment of our 34-acre farm often allows a child to go beyond what they have achieved in other settings.

Board Chair Statement

As President of Saddle Up!'s Board of Directors, I have long witnessed Saddle Up!'s programs in action, and have been moved by the life-changing impact that these horses have on their riders. As a competitor with a life-long passion for riding, I know first-hand about the powerful and healing effect that horses have on people. It is for these reasons and more that I choose to support Saddle Up! through my volunteer service and financial contributions.

In the past three decades, the community has come to rely on Saddle Up!'s top-notch programs, and families have built their social lives around the friends they make at the farm. For our riders, Saddle Up! represents a safe place in a sea of uncertainty, a place where parents can take a break, where children feel loved unconditionally and accepted completely, and where the stresses of the outside world melt away, if only for an hour each week.

The power of the horse-human connection is undeniable, and at Saddle Up!, we see its impact on our riders every day. We get to watch their journey to improved strength, confidence and skill-building. It's a very special place, and I'm honored to be a part of it.

Service Categories

Primary Category: Human Services  - Children's and Youth Services 
Secondary Category: Recreation & Sports  - Equestrian 
Tertiary Category: Youth Development  - Youth Development Programs 

Areas Served

Saddle Up! serves children and youth in all counties of Middle Tennessee; however, most participants come from Williamson and Davidson Counties.

TN - Robertson
TN - Coffee
TN - DeKalb
TN - Marshall
TN - Humphreys
TN - Cheatham
TN - Davidson
TN - Dickson
TN - Maury
TN - Montgomery
TN - Rutherford
TN - Sumner
TN - Williamson
TN - Wilson