Tammy Farris spends hours in the company of horses and youths with disabilities.
This is Farris’ job and business. She’s owner of Kiddy Up Farms, a new equine therapy service on Osceola Drive near New Port Richey.
In the neighborhood northeast of Ridge Road, Farris guides clients as they learn to ride horses. Farris’ equine therapy offers classes geared toward youths with physical and mental disabilities.
Farris officially started offering classes in January.
Horses were part of her childhood, but equine therapy only recently became her business. Farris is the wife of the pastor who launched Next Level Church in Tarpon Springs. She launched her own marketing company and worked in sales.
Farris started volunteering at Rockin’ Horse Farms in the New Port Richey area in 2010, she said. She started mucking out stalls and then provided instruction in the equine therapy program there. She saw the positive effects the program had on children with disabilities.
“I just knew that I had to do more to help these kids reach their goals,” Farris said.
Farris started Kiddy Up. She rents the property and holds her sessions there. Stables there house horses, including Bella, who was gifted to her by a local family, and steeds she was loaned.
The property “was a mess” when Farris found it, and she made improvements with the help of a brother. She runs it herself and relies on volunteers to help with sessions. In addition to her regular business rate, she accepts clients on sponsorships.
Farris said accreditation for her business is overseen by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International.
Her dream is to eventually own Camp Keystone in Odessa. She wants to have therapeutic riding and have people stay on the property for a multi-day program.
Kiddy Up offers four-week sessions of one hour classes that Farris leads. In addition to riding, she does others forms of therapy with clients.
One day recently, Farris walked next to a horse named Breezy ridden by an 11-year-old girl with autism and cerebral palsy.
Then she went to another horse. Seated on this one was Skylar Gonzalez, a 9-year-old boy with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. He’s seated behind the girl’s sister.
He has symptoms consistent with Asperger’s Syndrome, a developmental disorder on the autistic spectrum, but he hasn’t been diagnosed with the condition. Sometimes he escapes into a fantasy world. His father Jeff Gonalez says he’s never able to get him outside.
But “He loves this," Jeff said. “He doesn’t even know that he’s learning and gaining confidence."
Quick Biz Hits:
What and where: Kiddy Up Farms, 9140 Osceola Drive, New Port Richey, Fl
Owner: Tammy Farris
Classes: Kiddy Up offers 4-week sessions of one-hour classes. One four-week session costs $120, with half due the day of the first class. Clients are also accepted on sponsorship. Visit the Kiddy Up page for further pricing and class schedule info. http://www.kiddyupfarms.com/Classes.html The Lite The City Therapeutic Scholarship Program is a way of donating to the program and is a sponsor of the busimess. Find out more about the sponsorship, and need for equipment donations, at the web page. http://www.kiddyupfarms.com/Donate.html
Grand opening: Kiddy Up is holding its official grand opening celebration at the property on March 10. Time: 3 to 6 p.m. Live music, activities and more will be available.