Thanks to the generosity of three donors Waves, Inc. and Saddle Up! have started a partnership to provide equine-assisted learning for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is a unique opportunity as this type of programming is not typically available to adults over the age of 50. Saddle Up! supports children and teens in their programming while Waves supports adults over the age of 22 with a majority of the supported adults being over 50. Through a special partnership, the Saddle Up! Board of Directors has approved a collaboration program so that Waves Adult Day Program participants can take part in a curriculum with the mini-horses and ponies. Grants were obtained through First Horizon, Downtown Franklin Rotary, and Simmons Bank to assist in this collaboration. Without the support of these organizations, Waves would not be able to take advantage of this opportunity.

Through Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL) at Saddle Up!, participants will learn about the responsibilities of working with ponies/mini-horses like grooming, cleaning stalls, interacting with animals, feeding, etc. Through these lessons, participants will learn the value of ownership and responsibilities. This experiential learning course will help develop life skills and enhance personal growth for those participating. The partnership started August 21 and will run through the remainder of the year.

Marci Patricelli Cohen, the Adult Services Director at Waves is excited to see the partnership come to fruition. “We are excited for this program to get started. The smiles and excitement can be seen as our day program participants entered the facilities. For many of our adults, this will be the first time they have interacted with an animal like a horse. It’s an amazing experience and opportunity for our programs. We are incredibly grateful for Saddle Up! and our donors.”

To learn more about Saddle Up!, please visit

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