Denise Reding

Executive Director

Denise grew up on a farm in Kansas and has relied on the work ethic and values she learned from her parents.  She started working with AT&T in 1990 and transferred to San Antonio in 1993.  She enjoyed mentoring many young professionals and watching them achieve success.  After 27 years, Denise retired and now enjoys spending time with her family and doing all things outdoors.  She was “hooked” on the benefits of therapeutic riding the first time she visited a facility and is delighted to be serving in the role of Executive Director with Upwards Transitions. 

Board of Directors

Brian Kastner


Growing up in San Antonio, Brian has always loved horses which led him to being actively involved with programs that keep him close to them.  He served on the board of directors with a therapeutic riding center in Houston where he worked with both veterans and children since 2005.  He moved back to San Antonio in 2015.  His passion and dedication to helping kids with special needs brought him to Upward Transitions.  Not only does he spend time in the arena during lessons but he also serves as the Treasurer of the organization. Brian’s professional career of initiating and launching new programs is a valuable strength for both his business understanding and the overall operations of UTTH.  Brian enjoys spending time with his spunky teenage daughter and working on his property outside the Helotes area.

Darrell Hunt

Darrell grew up in a small Texas town where the population was only 1,700 people. During his teen years his family owned two horses, and he has great memories in riding and caring for them, along with the sense of peace and calm that they brought into his life. After high school Darrell moved to San Antonio where he earned his Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering, and he then moved to Seattle and Florida. With a desire to come back home to be closer to family, Darrell moved back to Texas, and currently lives in Helotes where he now works as an analytic manager for a large bank/mortgage company. From the moment he volunteered with UTTH, the wonderful memories of being around horses, and their amazing therapeutic benefits came back to him. Not only did Darrell notice those benefits for himself, but he has seen firsthand how much it has benefitted the riders, and he learns something new from them with each and every lesson. In addition to UTTH he enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, and their three rescue dogs.

Claire Wood

Claire grew up in the small town of Whitehall, Maryland where she owned her own horse from the age of 6 until she entered college.  Upon being graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, Claire enlisted in the United States Army in 2002.  After 4 duty station moves and 4 deployments, Claire was stationed at Ft Sam Houston in San Antonio where discovered Upward Transitions.  She is currently a Master Sergeant working as a Career Counselor for the US Army Medical Department Center and School Health Readiness Center of Excellence. Claire came to the program on September 9, 2017 and has been a reliable volunteer ever since.  Her attention to detail, planning prowess and experience with both human development and horses assists her in being a valuable asset to the program.  She is extremely hard working and flexible contingent upon the needs of both the rider and horse.  Her dedication to duty and excellence is a direct reflection on the professionalism and success of the program.

Nati Sanchez Litz

Nati is a Southern California native. A city girl, Nati had little experience with horses prior to volunteering with UTTH. Nati was exposed firsthand to the benefits of horse therapy in 2017. There was a spark and Nati’s enthusiasm for therapeutic horsemanship started to grow. Nati’s career brought her to San Antonio in 2019 along with her husband and daughter. Looking for a sense of community through volunteer work she found UTTH. Professionally, Nati brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in Learning & Development and Continuous Improvement methodologies. She knows firsthand the value of continued learning with a curious mind and an open heart. She is grateful every day for the opportunity to be part of the UTTH family. In addition to UTTH, Nati enjoys cheering on her hometown team the Los Angeles Dodgers.