Our founders, Marcy and Art Laver, met as a labor & delivery nurse/nurse educator and obstetrician, when they cared for a couple who knew their baby would have lifelong special needs.  Their mutual emotional connection to the patients and observation of each other’s intensity of caring led  to thirty five years of marriage and the inception of All Riders Up.

 For twenty five years they bred, showed, trained and raced their Arabian horses.  In 2006, Marcy participated in a yearlong course and became a Level II certified therapeutic riding instructor (and subsequently a PATH Intl mentor of instructors and an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning) with the ultimate plan of starting their own center.  While assisting in Special Olympics at State College, she invited Art to come along.  When he saw the look of pride on the faces of the riders and the joyful tears in the eyes of their parents, he became totally committed to the establishment of All Riders Up. Their 1750’s historic farmhouse, refurbished barn and covered arena became the birthplace and hub of All Riders Up.

They knew that the demand was great since there was no therapeutic riding center in Delaware County.  Attracting and training a team of volunteers and staff, knowledgeable in horsemanship and interested in helping people with special needs was the next task.  As their Arabian broodmares and offspring grew older, they no longer would be asked to deliver foals, but, instead, would be trained to accept a wide variety of unusual noises and movement from disabled riders, to be accompanied by leaders and sidewalkers in close proximity, and to tolerate toys and balls being tossed around them.  They welcomed their new careers!

The administrative requirements for nonprofit 501(c)3 status demanded a great deal of time and energy.  They had to learn the basics of operating a nonprofit with the help of experts in the field.  Most importantly, they needed to develop expertise in grantwriting, since it was obvious that lesson fees would not sustain their efforts.  As a result of the grants awarded, they were able to purchase and install a hydraulic lift, construct a sensory trail, and make improvements to the barn and arena to better serve students with special needs.

In 2014, they were successful in obtaining PATH Intl Premier Accreditation, a designation shared by only six other centers in Pennsylvania, and which allowed the center to blossom.  Among other benefits, ARU qualified for a PATH Intl program for veterans through its alliance with the Wounded Warriors project. Immediately, many veterans who served after 9/11 contacted ARU and began to receive lessons. This new status will also allow ARU to host future workshops and instructor certifications.

All Riders Up is ready to welcome you.