Volunteer with Us
Our programs are fully supported by our community volunteers. The commitment and generosity of our neighbours have enabled our programs to not only grow exponentially but to thrive. Join our incredible team of dedicated and willing volunteers who are making a difference that extends far beyond our reach.
What is Volunteering?
Remember - we provide all the training necessary in order to volunteer!
A “leader” is responsible for the horse and is physically leading the horse around the ring during the riding lesson. They ensure that the horse walks at a relatively brisk pace to maximize the therapy for the client. The leader assists in using the right voice commands for the horse (i.e. “walk on”, “whoa”, etc) and makes sure the horse follows the rider’s voice commands.
Leaders also ensure the horse keeps a safe distance from the horses in front of them and helps clients to steer their horses as directed by the Coach. Remember, no horse experience is required in order to lead one of our therapy horses. We also offer “Leader Workshops” to provide some of the skills and additional information about what it takes to effectively lead one of our therapy horses.
A “sidewalker” is a volunteer who walks beside the side of our horse throughout the lesson and is responsible for the rider. Sidewalkers are to help reinforce the directions given to the client by the Coach. This role may also include providing physical support for the rider or emotional support for some of our more nervous riders. Sidewalkers also ensure that the rider’s foot remains in the stirrup throughout the duration of the lesson (unless indicated otherwise)
Sidewalkers also assist our riders with their personal goals and individualized programming tasks. This could include encouraging vocalization, stretching, developing fine motor skills, problem solving, and learning to follow directions.
New to Volunteering?
We are so glad you are considering volunteering with us. We are committed to training and equipping our volunteers thereby ensuring they feel comfortable and confident in their respective roles. Our programs could not run without the support from people like you!
All of our volunteers are provided with our Training Manual and Policies and Procedures.
Requirements to Volunteer:
If you have any questions about the process of volunteering or getting involved, please do not hesitate to contact our Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have volunteered with us before in a previous session and in a DIFFERENT calendar year, simply follow these simple steps to get involved again:
If you have volunteered with us in the same calendar year, like the Spring Session, and are wanting to volunteer again for either our Summer Camp or Fall Session, simply contact our Program Coordinator at email@example.com, indicating your availability and desire to join the program. All paperwork is valid for the calendar year (i.e. for the entire year of 2019).
Frequently Asked Questions
Your volunteer paperwork is valid for the calendar year. Each calendar year you will need to complete a “Volunteer Update Form”. This form will require you to update any information that has changed medically, or contact information. Furthermore, you will need to sign a new Waiver and Disclaimer each year. If you’re unsure of the paperwork required, please contact us and we will check your file!
Please note: Child Abuse Register and Criminal Record Checks will need to be re-issued every 3 years.
If you have attended a volunteer training when you first joined our organization, reach out to our Executive Director to see if you will need to attend an Update Training Workshop.
Some exceptions may be granted and considered on an individual basis. Please submit a volunteer application and our office will contact you directly regarding opportunities and ways to become involved.
No horse experience is required to volunteer. All volunteers must attend a volunteer training which will provide you with the basic knowledge and skills when working with horses and our program. You can always request additional training and one-on-one educational time from our staff if you would like more time to feel comfortable working around horses. Safety and education are very important to us.
We try our best to accommodate volunteers who work shift work. Ideally we try to find another volunteer who would only like to volunteer every other week in order to ensure the time slot is covered for our rider every week.
Please dress for the weather! Our indoor riding ring is not heated. Our lessons in early April and into November can be quite cold. Feel free to wear gloves, hats and scarves, or snow pants during these chilly times of the year. We want you to be comfortable and warm.
All our volunteers for riding lessons must wear closed toe shoes or boots. These can be hikers, running shoes, work boots or paddock boots. Please do not wear sandals!! We strongly recommend wearing pants and clothing that is not loose or “flappy”. If clothes ‘flap’ or are too loose, they can spook the horses or they can get caught in some of the equipment used. Please try to refrain from wearing jewelry, especially dangly jewelry that clients can grab or reach.
Yes! We understand that not everyone enjoys working directly with the horses in the riding ring and barn. We have various volunteer opportunities in our office with administration roles, or with upcoming special events and fundraisers. Contact our Executive Director for more information on how to join our team.
Absolutely! Some volunteers like to come for 2 or 3 lessons back to back on one day of the week. Volunteer slots are determined both in where there is need in the riding schedule and in each volunteer’s respective availability.
A school group attends during school day hours (normally in the morning). Generally the school group is divided in half. While half of the students complete activities in the barn, the other group participates in a riding lesson. Generally we need only horse leaders for our school groups and require volunteers to commit to the 2 hour block each week to specifically lead in the ring.
We understand if something comes up last minute, or if you’re sick. If at all possible we ask for 24 hours notice of a cancelled volunteer slot. This will allow us time to contact our substitute list to find someone to cover your time.
If notice is less than 24 hours, we ask that you text (902) 670-8402 as soon as you know you are unavailable.
There may be an opportunity to volunteer in both positions. Let our Executive Director that you are interested in volunteering in both capacities. This will be determined based on need, and horses being used in the lessons.
Hear From Our Volunteers
Love making a difference in people’s lives!
Seeing the smiles every week makes it all worth it
The staff are so friendly and welcoming. I always look forward to coming to the barn and being around the horses. I see the direct impact this program has on all the people who participate, and its what brings me back week after week
I was pretty sure the program was making an impact for other people. But I had no idea the impact it was going to have on me. Highly recommend this experience. Everyone benefits.