Our Mission. . .

is Reaching Inside Souls using Equines by providing the best therapy possible for those who need it most!

Karen has a son who is on the autistic spectrum, making her particularly aware of the challenges presented by unique cases. It is the desire of her heart to bring joy and life to individuals and families with similar needs.

Karen Fergason, PT, HPCS 

Founder, Clinical/Interim Executive Director 

Karen founded RISE Rehab in 2015 at RISE Therapeutic Equestrian Center just outside San Antonio. RISE incorporates her love of neurological rehabilitation and horses. She attended Texas A&M before graduating from physical therapy school in 1993 and developing a special interest in traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputee rehab, stroke and disabled sports.

Gail Hughes

Program Director 

After volunteering for years, utilizing her communication skills and her impressive experience serving families affected by disability, Gail joined the staff at RISE as the Program Director. She has an Associate’s Degree as a Deaf Support Specialist and  is the liaison for the vast volunteer team and for the families receiving services at RISE. 

She spent 30 years working in Texas public schools in various positions  including the PPCD (Pre-school Program for Children with Disabilities), has been  instrumental in starting several Special Needs Ministries in the state and has worked  with Joni and Friends International Disability Ministry hosting Wounded Warrior  Getaways, which is a Family Retreat for families affected by a family member returning injured from Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Her accomplishments include being the proud wife of her husband Sam for 50  years(!), mom of two grown children and the grandmother to 4 wonderful  grandchildren.  In her words, “God has raised me up with  a love for families affected by disability and has been faithful to show me the places He has for me to share the gifts He has given me. It is my privilege to assist families,  kids, horses and volunteers as we strive to give direction, help and joy to our riders.” 

Andi Fergason

Equine Manager

Andi currently attends Texas State University where she is pursuing her major in Animal Science.  She loves to use her extraordinary equine skills to coordinate and train horses at RISE Therapeutic Equestrian Center.

She has been riding since she was six years old and has a natural instinct of horse behavior in addition to a background competing in the  Hunter / Jumper Division with the Interscholastic Equestrian Association.  Andi knows the horses at RISE well and cares for them daily. 


Andi is also a Level 4 Certified Riding Instructor.

Debbie Ross 

Equine Manager 

Debbie came to RISE with a good bit of horse experience. As a child, she was a member of a 4-H Club in which she rode and showed Western. She grew up next to an equine veterinarian, helped care for and ride the many horses and ponies on his farm, and went on many equine farm calls with him.   As an 8-year member of the U.S. Pony Club, she represented Howard County Pony Club (MD) in national and regional rallies (eventing) and as a traveling instructor, participated in Pony Club shows, and graduated with a ranking of H-A.  Debbie also spent 8 years working at Columbia Horse Center, a large riding/boarding facility in Maryland, where she did general barn work, schooled lesson horses, taught lessons and summer riding camps, and eventually became week-end barn manager. To pay her way through college, Debbie began galloping racehorses and working as a groom at Laurel Park (MD) racetrack. 

She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a B.S. in Animal Science with a horse focus. She spent the next 18 years at various east coast racetracks working as groom, pony girl, exercise girl, assistant trainer, trainer and owner. She eventually took a job in racing’s frontside, in a publicity department, where she worked on computer and writing skills. She wrote an article entitled “Attack That Tack” which was published by Horse Play magazine. Upon moving to Texas, she was employed by Retama Park, and has worked for that track in full time and part time positions in the publicity and simulcasting departments since 1994. After going 25 years without riding, Debbie caught the “bug” again, and purchased a young Warmblood mare who she enjoys immensely. Prior to volunteering for RISE, Debbie had previously volunteered for two other therapeutic riding facilities; Special Equestrians in Bucks County, PA., and Saddle Light Center in Selma, TX.

Rebekah Stagg

Staff Member

Rebekah has been an avid horse enthusiast since she was gifted riding lessons at the age of 11. She took lessons at HCRA for 8 years before volunteering at RISE, where she was a perfect fit working with horses, sharing her equine knowledge with volunteers and most importantly from her perspective, working with the clients. Rebekah has been at RISE since the summer of 2019, and looks forward to being a part of the amazing RISE team for years to come. 

Our instructors are RISE Certified
Therapeutic Riding Instructors


Certified by PATH International


Our therapists are trained by

The American Hippotherapy Association

providing the highest
quality of care and the safest

environment for our clients.

RISE Therapeutic Equestrian Center

Home of RISE Rehab
23165 Bat Cave Rd

San Antonio, TX 78266

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