Saddle Up Riding Club
Hi! My name is Catie Hashem and I have been with the Saddle Up Riding Club team for 10 years. Like many of you I began my journey with horses right here on these very horses! Through the years I have taken every opportunity to gain knowledge about horses and riding and I am proud to say that I have gone from a&ending Barn Times and volunteering with therapy to now teaching at the very place that sparked my passion. I am currently the assistant Equine/Barn manager, a riding instructor, and I also instruct and run our Barn Times. I have shown both english and western and can teach both, however I prefer western. I am currently in the process of taking our horse Moonshine through the Clinton Anderson method and will hopefully be doing more horse/people training in the future possibly even as a career. Being a full time student, my schedule is not the greatest however, if you would like to learn more about our programs or schedule a lesson with me please contact our liaison Alexis Williamson. I look forward to meeting you and furthering your equine education!
I started Saddle Up in 2003 due to a passion for horses and teaching. I am a mom of 4 beautiful daughters and 1 gorgeous granddaughter. I have been teaching for over 12 years. I love teaching and combine that love with the love of horses just seemed natural to me. Saddle Up began on a small farm in Seminole and quickly out grew our space. The organization became a 501 c3 and moved to Pinellas Park. I never knew how theses gracious animals responded until watching our first horse Flip relate to a child in a wheelchair. Everyone has an "Ah Ha" moment when it comes to horses and therapy and mine was watching my horse lay his head on the tray of a quadriplegic so she could pet his head with her chin. We give HOPE where sometimes there is no hope and I thank God everyday for using me as his vessel for Saddle Up.
Liaison and Riding Instructor:
The first time I rode a horse I was about Six years old, from that moment on I was in love. I quickly learned that every horse is different just like we are. I joined the Saddle Up family when I started taking lessons 7 years ago. I instantly fell in love with their programs and what they are trying to do. In 2014 I found myself severely disabled after being hospitalized for a surgery. My ability to sit up, stand, walk, and even talk were all severely compromised. I fought depression and had to undergo a lot of physical therapy, where I found my comfort was at Saddle Up. Remington was the horse I had formed quite a bond with he helped me both mentally and physically through the roughest time in my life. I found hope with him, I learned to walk again and when I was finally able to start riding again he was gentle and easy going it was like he knew I needed help and was there for me 100%. From then on I’ve tried to help the program anyway I can. I think this program has so much to offer our community.
I believe my experience as a patient and a rider helps me to relate to a lot of people that come into these programs. I love working with riders in helping them to reach their full potential. I look forward to continuing with the program.
I am the equine manager here at Saddle Up Riding Club, as well as a Jr. Instructor and volunteer for the therapy program. Being the Equine manager I do all the medical treatments and training with our horses. I am also currently a member of the 4-H organization and use that training and experience in everything I do with this program. I have been around horses since I was 2 years old when my mom started this program, so I’ve grown up riding. I have shown in many 4-H and AQHA shows, specializing in Western Pleasure and trail. Needless to say horses have become my life. I hope to continue to grow and expand my knowledge of training and caring for horses in the future.
My first introduction to horses was when I was 6 and my dad was stationed in Wyoming. I fell in love immediately with the horses, the barn smell, and the sounds of leather saddles. I would never forget the joy it brought me.
Fast forward –many years. I had lost my second husband and was living in a small town in Washington when I came across an organization offering equine therapy. After asking a few questions I found that their services where offered free to our service veterans. I didn’t qualify for their services but they welcomed volunteers. I thought at least being around the horse might just be enough to help me to feel better. I started volunteering to clean stalls on Sundays after church.
My four years with that organization gave me the passion I now have for equine therapy. I have volunteered in many capacities from those beginning days of stall cleaning to grooming, tacking, side walking, leading, horse training, horse care, riding, and being a Horse Team Captain. I also learned much about people, the challenges we all face, and how horses are able to help in so many ways. I have seen these though others and my own experiences.
My background includes a degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in special education and reading. I spent ten years as a Para-educator (teacher assistant) working with both general and special education students. After receiving my degree I spent several years as a substitute teacher by choice. Doing this gave me the ability volunteer for the therapy organization and allowed me to work directly with the participants and horses.
Upon coming to Florida to care for my mother I was excited to connect with Saddle-Up Club. It is a mission of mine to help others through the use of equine therapy. I look forward to continuing my education and my ability to help other through the completion of my PATH Certification.
Saddle Up is a place not just for riding horses, rather is a place of the heart.