We could not provide this amazing program without the assistance of over 100 volunteers every week. Volunteers share in the success of their students, meet the challenge of new experiences and certainly feel they make a difference in someone’s life.
Volunteers serve as sidewalkers or horse leaders. As many as three volunteers are needed per rider. All volunteers must be at least 14 years old and capable of walking and jogging in sandy, uneven footing for up to 30 minutes at a time. Experience with horses or with persons with disabilities is not required for sidewalking. Leaders must have extensive experience handling horses on the ground. New volunteers must go through our orientation program prior to working with riders and horses. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old in order to join the TRI volunteer team.
Available Volunteer Opportunities:
Horse Leader – This person should be extremely experienced in handling horses in all situations and requires the approval of the Head Instructor.
Mounting Assistant – This person works closely with the instructors to assist them in mounting riders onto their horses. This position requires the training and approval of the Head Instructor.
Grooming Assistant – This volunteer takes direction from the Tack Coordinator about the preparation of horses for classes. This job will include grooming and some general horse care and handling. This volunteer should have a basic idea of how to groom a horse and maintain safety while in the stall with a horse.
Why do our volunteers do this?
Here are some of the reasons, in their own words:
“There is that magical moment, that small thing that a rider achieves that is an awakening, an expression of exuberent joy, a new frontier, or simply a small connection. Those moments are awe-inspiring. Those small (but huge) moments occur in every class. I can’t wait to see what our riders can achieve next!”
“I volunteer because I know that in doing so, I am making someone happy. Or rather, I am helping to make a program possible which makes riders happy. The look on a rider’s face when they are truly, blissfully, happy is as amazing as it is unforgettable and I am glad that the small acts that I do through volunteering can help them to feel that way.”
“Why do I volunteer? The smiles… It’s a gift to me…it’s totally absorbing — all the noise in my life fades away during TRI time.”
“Smiles…-…miles of smiles is how I sometimes refer to the faces of the kids when they’re riding around the arena. No matter what has happened at work that day, or how down I am because of events in my life, when I get to TRI, those smiles turn everything around for me. As a volunteer, my reward every week is just being able to help the kids enjoy the moment and make sure they leave with a smile on their face.”