Volunteers are the backbone of the therapeutic riding industry. Without them, many of our programs would not only be difficult, but impossible. So, what do the volunteers do at a therapeutic riding center?
One of the biggest roles of volunteers is in the therapeutic riding lessons. Many riders need some sort of assistance, whether it be a person to lead their horse, support their position on the horse as a side walker, or interact with the rider in lesson activities. Volunteers can enrich the experience of the rider in ways that wouldn’t be possible without them.
In addition to lessons, volunteers are also important in nearly every other capacity of the center. Barn and horse maintenance are large and important daily activities of a center. The more hands to help clean a stall or groom a horse, the more smoothly and efficiently the animals can be taken care of. The health and safety of the horses are a main priority of our center, and helping to sustain such a vital piece of the program is a success in itself. An endless list can be added to these two main volunteer opportunities, that can suit any time frame, age, or ability.
Take Away Message...
When I volunteer at a therapeutic riding center, I always feel like I’m getting just as much out of the experience, if not more, than the people I am helping. The wide array of personalities and talents that you witness and engage with each day are amazing and eye opening. The entire experience, from horses… to riders… to other volunteers and staff, has a therapeutic quality that can’t be matched in any other setting. If anything, I hope this blog will encourage at least one person to volunteer and experience for themself just how amazing this industry can be for all parties involved. There is a place for everyone at our center, if you just reach out and look for it.
**adapted from my previous blog "Volunteering - A Place for Everyone" at Chatham University Blog Sites