Sarah Ingram is a volunteer extraordinaire in Nashville. Her current position as President of the Board of Saddle Up! piqued our interest, as it’s an organization that has long captured our hearts. Catching up with Sarah and learning more about her, this organization, and some of her favorite haunts in Nashville, was certainly fun — we hope you enjoy today’s FACES of Nashville!
Have you always lived in Nashville?
I grew up in Owings Mills, Maryland, and moved to Nashville in 1989 when I married my husband, David, a native of Nashville.
When did you start riding?
I begged my parents for lessons when I was 4 years old, but stopped riding at age 10, when I became interested in golf, tennis, lacrosse, and basketball. My parents were delighted, since they never had an appreciation for horses. After I married my husband, who has a horsey family, I began riding again and soon bought a horse. It has been all downhill from there!
Can you tell us a little about Saddle Up!?
Saddle Up!, a wonderful organization, provides recreational, therapeutic horseback riding to children and youth with mental and physical disabilities. Established in 1991, Saddle Up! began serving 6 children on 2 borrowed horses for one 8-week session per year at a rented farm. Since then, Saddle Up! has grown immensely, and, in 2011, served 176 children on 20 plus horses for 42 weeks on its own 20-acre farm off of Old Hillsboro Road.
What led you to get involved with Saddle Up!?
I kept my horse at Schandwin Farm off of Old Hillsboro Road. in the early years of the organization. Saddle Up! volunteer instructors came to the farm with a couple of borrowed ponies once or twice a week to teach lessons to children with special needs. I was often at the farm during these lessons, and on several occasions they were short a volunteer or two, so they asked me to side walk. I thought it was amazing to see the horses and children interacting with each other. When I ride horses, I feel empowered and exhilarated. I love for others to get the chance to have the same experiences. It is wonderful to see the smiles on the children when they are on horseback, and to see their confidence grow while developing physically and mentally. There are so many incredible stories of children who have had really meaningful events while on horseback, such as saying their first direct words or learning to walk the horse unaided. I have worked with Saddle Up! in some capacity since 1997: board member and president, side walker and horse leader in lessons, current chair of the Music Country Grand Prix and past chair of another SU! event, Chukkers For Charity.
What type of volunteer work is needed with Saddle Up!
If someone were interested in helping out? There are over 300 volunteers that help Saddle Up! throughout the year. We are always looking for and in need of volunteers, the life blood of our organization. Training is available to volunteers who are interested in working in lessons as a side walker or horse leader, or if they are interested in helping to care for the horses. There are many other needs in the offices, development, marketing, etc. Please visit our website www.saddleupnashville.org for more information.
Tell us about the Grand Prix Fundraiser coming up on June 2nd.
The Music Country Grand Prix, presented by Tractor Supply Company, is a premiere horse show jumping event that brings 20 – 30 horses and riders from across the United States to Franklin each year to compete for $35,000 in prize money. It is a fun-filled day for spectators with a variety a ways to enjoy the competition. In addition to general admission, we have a ringside patron tent with tables of 8 and 6, where our guests can enjoy a delicious buffet by Nero’s Grill and Wild Iris, as well as a full bar. We also have the Paddock at the Pavilion, located next to the warm up arena with bleacher seating at the competition arena. This area features tables of 6 and includes boxed dinners (provided by Nero’s Grill and Wild Iris) and a bar with wine, beer and sodas. The People Prix is a fun activity for children to practice their own skills and speed over jumps on their own two feet. For the second year in a row, we will have a silent auction that promises to have fun and interesting items. For more information, please see our website at www.musiccountrygrandprix.com.
What do people wear to the event?
Patrons usually dress somewhat casually: Sun dresses, nice shorts, skirts, or cute pants for women, and khaki pants or nice shorts and a golf shirt or button down for men. The most important thing to remember is to dress comfortably in clothes that are cool because it can be very hot.
I remember that you were the #1 amateur golf player of the year in 1993. Do you still golf regularly today?
I don’t play much golf these days. I played competitively for 20 years and had a great amateur career. Now I enjoy raising my children, showing horses, playing tennis and doing volunteer work.
Best piece of advice you have been given?
Growing up, my parents’ motto to me was “Jack of all trades, master of none.” They told me I could do just about anything I wanted to do in life, if I would just put my mind to it, work hard and have a willing heart.
Do you have any irrational (or rational!) fears?
What books are found on your bedside table (or Kindle)?
I still like to hold a real book. Right now, I am reading Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.
Favorite restaurant in Nashville for a date with your husband?
El Palenque. We can get in and out of there in 30 minutes!
Do you have any weekly rituals that help you stay connected as a family unit?
I wouldn’t say that there is any one thing that we do on a weekly basis as a full family unit. We do try to eat dinner together as much as possible, and every summer, for the last six years or so, we have taken a family vacation to somewhere interesting. I hope my boys will have great memories of our times together as a family. I know I do.
Favorite place in Nashville to escape and relax?
Duke It Out Farm, with my horses.
Favorite meal to cook for dinner with friends?
Lasagna and a salad.
If you had friends visiting from out of town, what would be your recommendations for them to see in one weekend to “get” Nashville.
There are a number of museums, shops, restaurants and other venues that are “must see” if you visit Nashville, but what I like about Nashville is the beautiful countryside, hills, and neighborhoods in and around the city. I love the easy, relaxed lifestyle, the friendly people, and the volunteer spirit. Nashville is a wonderful city to live day to day and raise children. Breakfast at the Pancake Pantry is also a must!
Name three things you can’t live without (excluding friends, family and God.)
Sweets, animals and sports/competition.
Thank you Sara! And special thanks, as always, to Ashley Hylbert who captures the FACES of Nashville images for us each week. To see all of our FACES of Nashville captured by Ashley, click here. To see more photos from Sarah’s shoot, see Ashley’s blog, here.