Equine assisted Pet therapy

Traveling the Miles to Bring Smiles in a Big Way :

We would love to come for a visit-

Nursing and Retirement facilities, Rehabilitation centers, Hospice patients, Children’s clinics, School’s and Libraries.

Call 520-400-7426

 Follow us on
 Horses change lives. They give our young people confidence and self esteem. They provide peace and tranquility to troubled souls- they give us hope!
Toni Robinson
Presentations:  Excellent way to learn about horses and get to get up close and pet them.
 A star is born…JJ in a commercial:)




November Peppis





He’s like no Shetland pony that I’ve ever known. Mosey walked into the courtyard at Peppi’s House. A door opened and three people came out to greet and meet our four legged therapist. After Mosey enjoyed some time with them he turned to go inside the room and was stopped by a horseman who began telling us of his years of being a Marshal for the Tucson rodeo parade. Mosey politely stood for a bit allowing the man to pet him but then Mosey began to get impatient and started to nudge the man with his head. The man continued to talk and Mosey continued to nudge. The family finally told the man to move and let Mosey come in. The man took a step to the side and our little therapist walked in leaving me outside holding his still attached lead line. Mosey walked up next to a woman who was bent over the bed holding the hand of the patient. Mosey lifted his head up and over the rail and placed his muzzle on the bed next to the patients body and closed his eyes. Everyone was in Aw. The man who had stepped to the side and let Mosey in kept saying, I’ve never seen anything like this. He’s like no Shetland I’ve ever met or owned. Like no other…

Mosey brought Smiles and comforted hearts @TMC pediatrics, Peppi’s House and Diamond Children’s hospital




Her eyes were bright,
Her energy glowed,
From this little 40lb body her love flowed.
TMC’s Childlife Specialist told us that her little patient couldn’t count down the days fast enough.
For she was going to be able to meet, pet and ride a “Real” pony.
Little Miss Happy Go Lucky with her hair beginning to grow back, her IV trailing behind, and a colostomy bag peaking out from under her hospital gown was So full of Life, questions and Smiles for her new furry friends.  Moments shared from one of our visits to TMC pediatrics.

JJ Matthews inside 2022

How You Can Help: Volunteers and Donations

Step Up Into T.L.C. is funded through DONATIONS.

Wish list for 2023
Physillium and worming paste

Desitin/ zinc oxide
GAS cards
Monetary donations

I would like to thank all of you for your interest in volunteering. There are several ways you can help:

(1) Ranch chores.
2) Make phone calls to local day cares and schools to set up times for us to come in and give a presentation with JJ our Clydesdale horse and Buddy our Miniature horse. A small donation really helps with gas.
3) Hand out and post brochures and info for Step Up Into T.L.C.
4) Ideas for fundraisers and someone to be in charge of putting it together. For example: Bake sales, rides and games out in front of a store. Maybe contact a Rotary, Lions or Kiwanis club that is looking for a charity to do a fundraiser for.
5) Help at the events.
6) Help with the visits to our local nursing and retirement homes and hospitals.S

Since moving to Virgina in November of 2021 we have had an incredible amount of support from my son, Alex, his wife, Jennifer and her entire family and friends along with my grandchildren.  They have helped with continuing our mission here. We welcome several new volunteers. Julia Wallace and her daughter Savannah, Meredith Holaday and her son Cal.

A SPECIAL “THANK YOU” to my husband. Gregg, with all he did for Step Up Into T.L.C.. When people ask if he was a horse lover, I would smile and tell them I am the horse lover, he loved to build and lucky for me, he loved me. He was a great source of support and inspiration.
Also to my Father who use to love sharing the horses at the nursing facilities with me. He would always tell the residents at the various facilities when we introduce ourselves that I am the best daughter he has ever had. And I jokingly say..”that’s because I am your only daughter.” The residents would all laugh and it helped to get our “feel good” therapy started.
Thankful for all the donations, time and support from Ann Herrington-Publisher/Editor of the Tucson Dog Magazine July/August Issue, Heather Rowe, Carol Smith, Annie Brett, Leann Williams, Linda Allen with L.A. Ranch texashorseandbuggy.com , Lori Faith, Jimmy at Big Tex Trailers, Tucson Dodge, El Rio Health Center, Kris and Don Hendrix, Scott and Karen Smith and their three children, Anne and Harold Foster, Susan Marshall, Gayla Strong, Ashley Albert, Hailey Albert, Tamera Albert, Kirsten, George Roach, Lisa Rankin, Justine and Tallie Negaard, Sherry Harris Hardy, Darlene Wager, Mary, Cynthia Levfko, Jenny Kendall, Kandie and Drew Vactor, Sylvia, Bryce, Braden and Karli, Post Feed, Doug and Diane Mayhew, Savanah, Melissa and Abigale, Laurie Easley,  Stephanie Hendrickson, Todd and Lisa Roahrig,Debbie Confer, Betty Confer, Debbie Confer and Tucson Medical Centre,  Bruce and Ginny Shaffer, Susie Wilcox and Bank of America,  and David and Betty Confer. Scott Kodysz:photographs   Nicole Zupan: my beautiful daughter and an awesome volunteer, Channel 4 News– 12/2/09 Making a Difference segment

Not what we give,
But what we share,
For the gift
without the giver
Is bare.
~James Russell Lowell
Step Up Into T.L.C. would like to thank all of our volunteers and donors for their precious gift of sharing.

A blessed day for a walk, a pet and a Smile:)

Our visits today began with TMC pediatrics..Buddy was lead down the sidewalk by a little boy while our Dillon pony was rode by one VERY happy little girl.  Sunshine and a smile!



Our next stop brought us to the Childrens Clinic..Walking Buddy along side of her chair was just as much fun as riding Mosey the pony a few years ago.




 Buddy brought “blessing” and smiles for everyone at Peppis House


She may have wanted to ride Dillon pony and walk Buddy but today she was just glad to be able to pet and take in the love these two little guys had to offer. Diamond Childrens

Pirate Ponies out on their adventures

Our adventurous Pirate ponies, Captain Dill and his mate, Slick Snick traveled the high heat to four different far away places in search of treasures.

Visits included:
Tucson Medical Center’s Pediatrics
Square and Compass Children’s Clinic
Peppis House Hospice
Diamond Children’s Medical Center


And treasures they did find. Colorful gems, I love yous and SMILES…arr matey!

A note from Eva’s Mom

Dear Nancie, Karen, George and volunteers of Step Up Into T.L.C.,

Eva’s first pony ride!

In April my 3 year old daughter Eva and I stayed at Peppi’s house, anticipating an overnight stay she would be having the following week. While we were at Peppi’s house, you allowed Eva to ride one of your pony’s, something I never thought imaginable! That was a wonderful and emotional day for me, for a moment my child was normal and healthy on that horse! On June 15 at 6 am, our Eva left us to take her place in heaven, it has been a difficult and lonely road for me and for our family, but as I work through my emotions and particularly as I look to find comfort, I remember that Eva enjoyed the short life she had. Eva knew love, Eva knew joy and your program and your horses were part of that!! Please relay this message to the volunteers, I am eternally grateful for the experience Eva had that Wednesday in April at Peppi’s house!

Sincerely, Gabriela Diaz Pena



A presentation, photos and pets at the Bear Canyon Library on Tuesday 7/10/12

We were greeted by an eager crowd. Ready to learn about JJ, Dillon and Sir Snickers. After the presentation everyone was asked to line up  so they could come up and pet each of our quiet horses and have photos taken.

I gave the presentation while volunteer Don Hendrix held JJ.
JJ is 8 years old, stands 17.2 hands tall and weighs approx. 1800 lbs
He eats about 50 lbs of food a day (and the children corrected me when I asked if he ate hamburgers?) and drinks about 30 gallons of ….yes- Water a day!

A blessing is: a volunteer who loves sharing smiles!
Diane Rockhill shares Dillon with the children and their families.

Volunteer Sherry Harris Hardy helps with making special moments.
Sharing her love for horses and SIr Snickers!

Just as we were getting ready to load JJ into his trailer a very upset woman asked if her elderly father could meet and pet our “Gentle Giant”. They had missed the presentation at the library and were very disappointed. Volunteer Diane stepped up to the job..parking lot pets and Smiles!

“Hey Snicks, we sure did have a nice time in the city today but there’s no place like home. Race ya back to the barn”