The mission of Upward Transitions is to enhance the lives of people with physical, emotional and/or mental challenges through horse-related programs and the dedication of our community. The goal of Upward Transitions is to provide a safe, positive environment, allowing participants to become more self-sufficient and enrich their daily lives. Upward Transitions provides independence to participants by enabling them to feel the freedom of sitting on top of a horse and leaving the confines of their disability behind. For individuals with mental or emotional challenges, the unique relationship formed between a rider and horse can lead to increased confidence, patience and self-esteem. The therapeutic environment that horses provide cannot be duplicated in a clinical setting and as a result every rider benefits from their accepting and trusting interaction.


In therapeutic riding the lessons are developed around equestrian skill development and progression. Learning to ride is the objective. While learning to ride may be the objective, in the process of learning to ride comes the therapeutic value. The long term goals may be physical, psychological, educational, cognitive, skill and/or recreational based. Therapeutic Riding Instructors are the primary professionals responsible for the design and implementation of the therapeutic riding session. The lessons can be taught privately, semi-privately or in groups of 3-6 students. The instructors will enlist the help of volunteers to aid the riders during lessons. These assistants may be horse leaders, side walkers or communicators. The instructor may request lesson plan involvement of educators or medical professionals to help the riders achieve their individual goals.


In riding a horse we borrow freedom.

Helen Thomson




First used in Greece in the 5th century to rehab wounded soldiers, horseback riding or equitherapy has grown over the decades and spread across the ocean to the Americas. During World War I it was used again to treat wounded soldiers. From soldiers to modern day Olympians, the therapy eventually came to the US in 1969 where it is still used for Wounded Warriors, as well as children and adults with challenges. There are over 600 accredited equitherapy centers in the US today.




Benefits include but are not limited to:


  • Balance
  • Muscle Strength and tone
  • Physical Endurance
  • Range of Motion
  • Circulation
  • Respiration
  • Sensorimotor Integration
  • Confidence
  • Concentration and Attention Span
  • Motivation
  • Human-animal Bonding
  • Social Skill


Therapeutic Riding

Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructors integrate horseback riding skills into lesson plans designed to enhance the physical, cognitive and emotional wellbeing of the riders. Lessons are individually designed to suit each rider’s particular need, ability,
stamina, and are consistent with predetermined goals that are established in conjunction with parents, therapeutic riding instructors, caregivers, physicians and other therapists.


Veteran Programs

Therapeutic Riding Instructors use equinebased therapy for active duty service members and veterans who have returned with physical and mental challenges as a result of their service. The goal of this program is to improve the lives of servicemen and women who have suffered injury in the line of duty, helping them adjust physically and emotionally to their postwar lives.


Donate Today

Donate in Honor of Someone Special.
By supporting Upward Transitions, you have the opportunity to honor a special person or pay tribute to someone by making a heartfelt donation that will make a difference in the lives of individuals with special needs through equine-assisted activities and therapies. Once your gift is received, Upward Transitions will send a card to the honoree or family acknowledging your gift.



Please fill out the volunteer registration form and text or call Denise Reding at 210-867-1188

Please fill out the rider registration form or call Barbara Taylor, instructor and Program Director at 972-977-3833

Upward Transitions depends on your contributions to keep our stables open. Please donate today to help fund our equestrian therapy programs


1. Please call Barbara Taylor, instructor and Program Director at 972-977-3833 to discuss if the rider meets the minimum requirements as follows:

• Weight less than 200 pounds in order to be safely dismounted in an emergency. • Must have sitting balance (side walkers can’t be asked to support the weight of the rider) • If minimum sitting balance, must weight around 40 pounds or less • Must be a minimum of 4 years old • Must have a disability that is compatible with therapeutic horsemanship

2. Upon determining that the applicant meets minimum requirements the Program Director will email or the applicant may download required forms (click the linksbelow). The applicant will be asked to have the medical form signed by a doctor before the next step in the process. Click below to download our Student Application Forms.






Equine Therapist


Equine Therapist


Equine Therapist


Equine Therapist


Equine Therapist


Equine Therapist


Equine Therapist


Equine Therapist

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