Volunteer Training 2012

In preparation for a transition to a year-round program, Xenophon held its first Volunteer Training Session of the year on February 4, 2012. More than 50 volunteers turned out for an informative and interesting day. The format of the training was different this year. It was geared towards returning volunteers in order to give them a more in-depth understanding of therapeutic riding and what happens in and out of the arena. Volunteers transitioned through 4 workshops: Toys and Tack, Body Mechanics, Understanding the Different Disabilities, and Horse and People Herd Dynamics. Toys and Tack, taught by Jan Bindas, Wanda Sayuk and Heidi Koch, gave people a understanding of the different toys and manipulatives we use and why. In the tack section, Heidi showed the different types of tack and explained why an instructor would choose to use each piece based on the child’s needs. Tineke Jacobsen and Melissa Maker helped volunteers understand basic body mechanics and how holds we perform as sidewalkers can have both positive and negative impacts. In addition, they covered body mechanics that are helpful in preventing sidewalkers from repetitive stress on their own joints. Myke Judd and Janet Alexander used their expertise to talk about some of the lesser known disabilities, what physical and cognitive challenges go along with these, and how teaching approaches must differ for each disability. In the Horse and People Herd Dynamics, taught by Mari Parino and Shelly Guthrie, volunteers had a deeper insight into horse communication and how this and herd dynamics affects the horse’s relationship to people. It was demonstrated how this relationship is to key to the horse’s performance in lessons in the arena. Even our most experienced volunteers came away having learned something new.

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