A peaceful morning! Our normal Wednesday visit not so normal by Nancie Roahrig

Mosey full filled his mission yesterday morning with a peaceful presence….. We began early at TMC Pediatrics. The little patients came out into the sunshine to meet Mr. Mosey. One little girl rode and another little boy was quite content soaking up the sunshine and petting this black and white furry friend. His parents had said they had been stuck inside for the past four days since he had been admitted. It felt good to be outside and to see their son smiling again. Our next stop was TMCs Hospice. The RNs and Administration staff invite Mosey to come right on inside. Mosey loves going inside……between the AC and the attention, he’s a happy pony. This morning we went into ten different rooms with ten different patients all with ten different stories. Our quiet and loving little guy would place his muzzle on their beds or pillows and fall asleep while being caressed and hearing how they too had horses or just loved animals.  We walked into one room where a woman was having difficulties with comfort. Her family members were trying to calm her and with a tired and frustrated look they asked if we could help. Mosey and I went beside her bed. Mosey placed his head next to her body and I picked up her hand and began gently stroking Mosey’s face. With calming, quiet words and the softness of Mosey this woman began to find some peace. Her body began to relax, her eyes closed and she drifted into sleep. Her family, exhausted looked relieved. They now felt that their loved one was quiet and comfortable and this gave them permission for them to go home. Mosey and I met a very special young woman who had lost all mobility of her body. Although trapped in her body and diagnosed with a terminal illness she had such a kind personality and witty sense of humor. She was so pleased to see and meet Mosey. She had done gymkhana when her body was healthy. She loved horses. She asked if I could pick her hand up and place it on Mosey. Mosey placed his nose on her pillow next to her arm. I picked up her hand and her fingers wiggled threw his mane and fur. She then asked if I could bring her hand up to her nose so that she could smell Mosey. Once a horse lover always a horse lover–that smell–awe!!! She asked if I could parade Mosey around the room so that she could see him move and his coloring. After our session, as we were leaving I noticed a smudge from Moseys’ nose on her pillow. I apologized and she laughed and said—“Horse boogies! Now, that will be a conversation for everyone who comes to visit me, thanks Mosey!”

Our last room we were intercepted by the family. With tears in their eyes they said If only you would of been here ten minutes ago. She loved animals and horses but she has passed. I looked at them and said, her spirit is still here may we go in anyway, just for a moment? With a sense of gratitude they said “Of coarse” The older brother warned me that his younger brother was in the room and that he was very angry. Mosey and I walked in. Mosey placed his muzzle on her body and closed his eyes. The brother began to tell us about his sister, laughing and crying, he shared memories. The other brother and family members came in and we all stood there. The tension between the brothers seem to be placed aside as they watched Mosey and talked. Bringing a sense of peace into the room on all levels. Mosey and I couldn’t forget our visit to The Children’s Clinic and we are glad we didn’t. We had several children ride but we found out that our mission that day was to help bring warm fuzzies to the employees. A stressful morning with new changes. And you know how we all love change! So they came out one by one. Faces and bodies, their smiles on the edge……….They pet, talked and loved this little pony, who’s unconditional love and presence was all they needed. A shot of Mosey helped the pressures of change a little more bearable.

Thanks to all of you for your support and in helping us continue to travel the miles for smiles…

Many Blessings, Nancie Roahrig

A Horse of Course: Filling a Niche of Need by Don Blascak

For over eight years, Nancie Roahrig has been providing therapeutic support to children and adults with a variety of special needs. While helping people with special needs isn’t unique, the tools of Roahrig’s trade are unique. Her tools include a Percheron, a Clydesdale, an Arabian and two Shetland ponies. What these horses do is both surprising and a blessing to many.

Nancie’s non-profit organization is called “Step Up to TLC” and the TLC part means Therapeutic Loving Caballos. The mission focuses on bringing smiles, fostering therapeutic healing, both emotionally and physically, and building self-confidence and social skills through people’s interaction with horses. Although her organization is not faith-based, Nancie firmly believes that the service she offers is “God blessed”.

The larger animals are draft horses and often pull carriages and wagons at a variety of events. The ponies offer pony rides. These activities help provide funds to sustain the real life work of the animals at schools, assisted living homes, pediatric wards and clinics where healing through touch and love is practiced.

The animals seem to know their purpose. Nancie tells of a visit to Handmaker Assisted Living where the Clydesdale entered the lobby, much to the delight of the client guests. In another instance Mosey, one of the Shetlands, visited a former cowboy in Hospice care who had made a final request to see a horse again before he passed away. Mosey provided the answer to that wish right in the cowboy’s room.

Nancie has experienced times when the interaction of child or adult to horse has brought out great emotions, but she states that, too, is a part of healing. One of the most spectacular interactions she has observed was between one of the ponies and a child with autism. At first there was little awareness and then, with a nudge from the pony, an invisible veil was lifted. There was recognition and the passing of affection between horse and child as the child embraced the pony.

Nancie asks for little as she foresees growth in her programs and activities. She could use some horse panels, misters, fans and some lumber to build armadas for shade for the animals. She is funded by private donations, foundations and grants and the “suggested donations” she collects from her carriage rides, pony rides and wagon trips. For more information or bookings, please contact Nancie at 400-7426.


“Mommy, do I HAVE to go to the Doctors? Please Mommy, I don’t want to go. That man gives me the SHOT and it makes me cry. Therapy is hard and I don’t like to do it.”

Do you remember when you were small? Did you like going to see that solemn-faced man in the white coat, the one who mumbled orders to you? “Open your mouth, say ah,” and I like this one, “this won’t hurt a bit just sit still.” Times have changed and so have our clinics and Doctors. Even though the shots are still a necessity and they still bring tears to our eyes, and therapy can feel worse then running up and down stairs on a humid day, the atmosphere and bedside manner of the doctors have become a lot more pleasant for our young children, especially when one little, black and white pony is allowed to help make the medicine go down.

Once a month, our little pony, named Mosey, shares his time along with myself, if I am good, greeting the children as they come for their appointments at the Children Clinic for Rehabilitation and to Tucson Medical Center Pediatric Ward. He provides a calming sensation while they gently pet him. He gives fun rides around the front patio for those who choose to do so. Pet Therapy is a wonderful catalyst in the children’s healing and therapeutic process.

Matthew, a happy go lucky little boy, born with a life long disability which has left him at the age of 6 with many medical, speech and physical problems, came with his parents to apply for services at the clinic. Mosey happened to be out front applying HIS special service. Matthew had no problem communicating his excitement, as he ran up to Mosey and began to pet him. His parents shared with us that he loved horses and always watched them closely on the television or picture books. So for him to get up on top of Mosey, it was a dream come true. Wide eyed and with his big beautiful smile, Matthew sat up on the saddle, his little hands wrapped around the horn and as he rocked back and forth he told Mosey, “Giddy Up.” Once his ride was done and he was walking away with his parents, Matthew looked over his shoulder, waved to Mosey and told his parents, “More Mosey, More!”

Mosey even gives some of the children rides to their car. We call this THE PONY EXPRESS! He has helped to cure the owies and stop the tears of some of the little patients that have had to undergo THE SHOT, pacifying without a pacifier. Oh yeah, the children love him and adults do too. We usually get a lot of the staff out to snuggle up to this little guy.

Mosey was a rescued pony. For the first five years of his life he was in and out of auctions. Being sold as a cute little gelding for some child only for the family to find out that he was still a stallion. An aggressive stallion at that. Mistreated, underweight and skin problems he was doomed until just by chance at one of the auctions a Rescue Horse Organization rescued him. This organization invested into gelding him, taught him some manners and brought him back to good health. I found out he was for sale and bought him and now have had the honor to watch him bring smiles as we have traveled the miles for the past six years giving rides to children at clinics, hospitals, hospice patients, birthday parties and special events around Tucson and it’s surrounding areas. This little guy really does have a purpose.

Now we hear the children say “ Mommy, Can I go to the Doctors, can I see my therapist and if they give me the SHOT, I might cry but I don’t mind because maybe Mosey, that little pony, my friend, he will be there and he will help make it all better.” (A spoonful of Mosey helps the medicine goes down!)


Events Schedule

We visit on a monthly basis these following places:

Tucson Medical Center-Pediatric Ward (520) 324-2075 5301 E Grant Rd Tucson, AZ 85712-2874

Children’s Clinics 2600 N. Wyatt Drive Tucson, AZ 85712

Atria Campana Del Rio 1550 East River Road Tucson, Arizona

La Canada Care Center (520) 797-1191 7970 N La Canada Dr Tucson, AZ 85704-2007

University Medical Center – Pediatric Ward-outside! (520) 882-0205 1501 N Campbell Ave Tucson, AZ

Desert Life Rehabilitation and Care Center 1919 w. Medical  Tucson, AZ 85704

Welcome to the new Step Up into T.L.C. Inc. Website!

Step Up Into T.L.C.Inc.
Equine Assisted Therapy in a “Big Way”
P.O. Box 1012
Red Rock, AZ  85245

Welcome to the new Step Up into T.L.C. website. It is now in an interactive blog format to allow an interactive experience and frequent updates, so come back often to see scheduled events and stories about the horses.

Traveling the miles to bring smiles!
Nancie Roahrig

The tall and short of horse therapy

As we get ready to race out to find bargains for gift-giving, we’re reminded that sometimes the greatest gift of all simply comes from the heart.

Step Up Into T.L.C. Inc is a 501(c)3 non-profit enterprise. Donations are very welcome. All site content © 2012 Step Up Into T.L.C. and Photography By Faith ®

Core Values

Core Values Providing verbal & non-verbal support Lifting the spirits and sharing the joy provided by the unconditional love, comfort, and acceptance offered by our horses and staff Providing a positive visual and touch stimuli Providing a safe experience Providing special moments that can bring life-long or short-term happiness Providing a reminiscent tool for seniors

Benefits of Interacting with Horses Stimulates brain functions which may heighten the serotonin levels, therefore lifting the spirits Provides opportunity for bonding and making connections Helps to break communication barriers Enhances attention to tasks Promotes motor skills Builds self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-respect Teaches discipline and respect Provides physical activity to help with circulation Improves balance Provides a calming relaxing feeling, a soothing sense of touch Helps with emotional and social development