Xenophon’s program could not happen without the help of many volunteers. For our lesson program, each rider requires 3 volunteers to ensure their safety on the horse and enhance the success of their lesson. Many other aspects of the center’s operations rely on the generosity of helping hands: our fundraisers, maintenance needs around the property, care of our horses, or administrative tasks.
There are many ways in which you can become involved! Consider becoming a sidewalker during lessons. No horse experience is needed, just a heart for children and the ability to walk/jog in a sand arena, we do require a minimum age of 14 due to insurance purposes. If your talents and interests lie elsewhere, consider helping with our fundraisers or in the office. Perhaps you or a spouse are handy with tools and would consider becoming part of our “maintenance” team, helping with small odd jobs around the property. For all volunteer information, please visit the following page to find out how to get started. Click Here
Sidewalkers and Horse Handlers: We ask those volunteers who are helping with lessons to try and commit to a particular lesson day. The consistency is helpful for our riders, our horses, and our schedule planners. Please be aware that special training is involved for these roles and you will asked to attend volunteer training sessions.
Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center is a labor of love. Volunteers have logged over 10,000 hours since the program’s inception. Volunteers:
- work with students and horses in the day to day program
- care for the horses
- manage and run fundraisers
- landscape and repair the facility
- serve on the board of directors
- What does a volunteer do?
- Most of our volunteers help out with lessons. They groom the horses and tack them up. Typically, as an instructor teaches the lesson, one volunteer may lead the horse, while one or two volunteers walk along side. Some of our students don’t need sidewalkers or leaders, in which case the volunteers get a break! At the end of the session, the volunteers put the horses away.
- If I were to volunteer, how much time would it take?
- It takes three to four hours per session. Our sessions run Monday thru Thursday 2:15 to 5:45 and Saturdays 8:00 to 11:30. We ask that you commit to one day a week, however, we do understand that other things come up and you will not be able to make each session. All we ask is that you inform us if you are not able to make it so we can be sure and have enough people to assist.
- Do I need to know about horses?
- It’s helpful, but not necessary. You can learn as you go – it’s a great way to learn horsemanship. If you have experience with horses, we’ll need to introduce you to the special techniques of therapeutic riding. Read our handbook to learn more.
- If I don’t want to work with the horses, is there anything else I could do?
- Yes, there are other opportunities. Right now, we have need of a fund raiser. We also would love some help with landscaping and property maintenance.
What Our Volunteers Say…
I used to pass by the arena, and I wondered what was going on. I feel like I’m really making a difference. It’s great when the student learns something new. People can be changed forever by riding the horses. – Sylviane
I like to see the joy in the student’s faces – the adults and the kids, and knowing that’s what horses do for people, whether they’re disabled or not. It’s the same joy that every rider has when they’re on a horse. – Jenny
Volunteering is therapy for me. I was looking for something to add to my life. I went to the volunteer center and they said they had an opportunity to work with horses – I didn’t know anything about horses. The first day I volunteered, one of the students gave me a big hug and told me she wanted to be my pal. – Gary
I just wanted to give something back, and this was kind of the perfect place for me. I got the chance to build and do things that I love to do. It’s a great sense of accomplishment. – Kate
I want to do hands-on volunteering, to see the effect of what I do. I love to see the students light up. I’m inspired by the dedication of the people who run the program. – Diane
I love to see the kids as they arrive rushing from the parking area to see the horses, to start their ride as soon as possible. When they finish their ride, I see their great sense of accomplishment, and I feel as if I’ve accomplished something, too. – Ken