The dedicated volunteers are the backbone of the therapeutic and hippo-therapy programs at Freedom Woods. They assist our riders through sidewalking, horse leading and horse grooming. Our volunteers help provide our riders with a safe environment to enjoy riding and a beneficial therapeutic experience. Many of the younger volunteers often start as a way to spend more time at the barn with the horses but end up evolving to enjoying the happiness they bring to the students.
Equitherapy is currently serving more than twenty five participants on Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays. A student may ride independently or have the assistance of a volunteer, depending on their ability level. One volunteer will lead the horse, while two others walk to the side. The leader controls the horse through a lead rope. The side-walkers assist with balance and helping the student execute the instructions of the therapist.
Volunteers make it possible for us to provide a rewarding experience to our students. The help by caring for the animals, getting them ready, and being hand-on with the students during the ride. Without them, we could not make a difference in the students lives. The joy on their faces makes the entire experience worth while.
How to get involved and what to expect:
If you or someone you know is over the age of 14, they can serve as side walkers and leaders, depending upon their horsemanship skills. Someone with knowledge of horsemanship skills on the ground would make a great candidate. Someone with little or no experience is encouraged to volunteer and learn as they go. Those under the age of 14 can be runners, help groom and help change tack. Please stop by the front desk to fill out a volunteer packet if you are interested!