Our volunteers are the backbone of our program.
Adequate support is critical in safely service our clients. We therefore request that volunteers directly involved with our program be willing to commit to a minimum of 1½ hours each week on the same day and time for the length of a session.
Please take a look over our Types of Volunteer opportunities, then visit our Become a Volunteer page if you think that we are the right fit for you!
*Volunteers should be 14 years of age or older to participate in our therapeutic programming and able to walk and jog alongside the horse at a trot. We do offer a select few “walk-only” classes, so please connect with the Volunteer Coordinator if you think you might be a walk-only volunteer.
A horse handler is responsible for bringing the horse down to the arena for the lesson, leading and managing the horse during the lesson, and then returning the horse to the barn. We also offer unmounted programming, in which case a horse handler might be helping the client on the ground, demonstrating and assisting with horse management. We rely on the horse handler to monitor the behavior of the horse during class, and report any concerns to the barn manager and instructor. Horse handlers need to have good recent horse experience (such as owning your own horse or are currently involved in horsemanship classes and riding), and a willingness to learn our horsemanship techniques to keep handling skills consistent for our horses.
A sidewalker is a volunteer that walks and/or jogs alongside the horse while the client is riding. The sidewalker is responsible for helping to keep the client safe and achieve the goals in the class. This may involve a safety hold of the client for an entire lesson, or a more hands off approach depending on the needs of the client. The sidewalker is an extension of the instructor, who helps to guide and coach the client through the lesson. You do not need any prior horse experience to be a sidewalker.
Volunteers for our “Barn Buddies” program work one-on-one with a client, who may or may not also be accompanied by a job coach or similar. Client goals are centered around unmounted horsemanship, but may expand into vocational skills as well. A Barn Buddy volunteer is usually in the barn, helping to groom and tack horses. Working with a curriculum, the volunteer will help teach the client about various topics which may include horse behavior, horse management, horse health, and barn management. Barn Buddy volunteers should have good recent horse experience (such as owning your own horse or are currently involved in horsemanship classes and riding), and a willingness to learn and teach our horsemanship techniques.
Summer Working Students
We run all-day week-long programs from the end of June until mid-August. We look for volunteers with good horse experience to help with both our recreational and therapeutic programs. Volunteers are an extension of the instructor. They will help teach our clients to groom and tack, and give lots of encouragement! Volunteers also help with general barn chores such as turnout and feeding. Volunteers are asked to commit to at least one full week of volunteering in the summer. Some programs include reading, writing and gardening as part of the curriculum!
Community or School Group Volunteering
We welcome groups to help with grounds and building maintenance projects. Past projects have included: painting, fence mending, shed building, trail and field clearing, building new walkways, gardening, and fall and spring cleanup. Projects can be ½ day, full day, or more.
Throughout the year we need volunteers for special events. Examples include the Special Olympics, our annual Gala and resource fairs.
Questions? Please do not hesitate to contact our Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org