Have you ever been tempted to volunteer for a therapeutic riding center? Do you wonder what exactly is involved? Volunteering in any area of life can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Putting your horse knowledge to good use by volunteering at a therapeutic riding center will mean that you’ll not only feel good about offering your services, but you’ll also have the chance to spend some extra time around horses.
Typical Volunteer Opportunities
While every therapeutic riding center is different, some volunteer opportunities are fairly standard. One of the most well-known volunteer positions among horseback riders is the horse handler or lead walker position. Horse handlers are responsible for walking near the horse’s head and holding a lead line that is attached to the horse’s halter or bridle. Depending on the rider’s level, horse handlers generally allow the rider to proceed unassisted, but are ready to step in to help guide the horse if the rider runs into trouble. Sometimes the horse handler is also responsible for tacking up and untacking the horse.
Another popular position is that of the side walker. Side walkers walk alongside the rider during the lesson and help to keep the rider centered in the saddle. Depending on the rider’s abilities, a side walker may remain alongside ready to assist only when needed, or they may maintain more active roles of continuously supporting or securing the rider’s legs or body. The number and role of side walkers necessary during a lesson depends on the rider’s security in the saddle.
Often overlooked, many other volunteer opportunities frequently exist at therapeutic riding centers. Riders with horse knowledge and strong writing skills may assist with writing grants. Horse people can volunteer their time to feed, clean out stalls, groom horses, or clean tack. Depending on the therapeutic riding center, additional volunteer opportunities may exist, so it’s best that you contact the center to see how you can help.
The Rewards of Volunteering
Volunteering at a therapeutic riding center means that you’ll be dedicating your valuable time. While any volunteer opportunity is generally rewarding, since you’ll know that you’re doing a good service for the world, volunteering at a therapeutic riding center can be particularly rewarding.
The emotional rewards that stem from therapeutic riding volunteering are countless. By regularly volunteering at a facility, you will have a sense of accomplishment, seeing your work going to a great cause. Since you already know the healing and therapeutic powers of horses, you will get to see new riders discover those same benefits. If you volunteer at a therapeutic riding center over time, then you may get to see riders progress through each riding session.
For more information on therapeutic horseback riding, and to locate a center near you, visit the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International's website.
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Original Source: The Inside Scoop on Volunteering for a Therapeutic Riding Center