The 2015 season was kicked off under sparkling blue skies on Saturday, January 31st. While it felt more like April than January, the 50+ people who attended the Volunteer Training Day enjoyed the gorgeous weather and the information that was shared by the Xenophon Staff. From the hows and whys of tack and toy choices to understanding the relationship we have with our equine partners, both new and established volunteers had the change to learn the intricacies of Xenophon’s program and the valuable therapies we provide.
Our two Occupational Therapists, Janet and Kerrie, helped attendees understand some of the disabilities we treat and how work on the horse can benefit the challenges that come with each. Our Physical Therapist, Tineke, along with our Physical Therapist Aide, Melissa, involved volunteers in the practical side of lessons, demonstrating how the rider’s body is influenced by the horse and how our jobs as sidewalkers are so important both for safety and in aiding maximum benefit. While many of our experienced volunteers are well aware of the shelves of toys and games in our toy shed, Instructors Wanda and Laura enlightened all as to how toys are chosen and the part each plays in attaining therapy goals. “Surcingle, what’s a surcingle and why don’t we use saddles more often?” These were just a few of the questions answered by Instructors Heidi and Haley at the tack shed. Barn Manager, Christine, and Executive Director, Mari, brought out a few of our four-legged friends and shed some light on the difficult job facing our therapy horses and how understanding their nature and having a relationship with them makes their job a lot easier. Danielle, our Program Director, kept us all on track and heading to all the right stations.
All work and no play has never been the motto at Xenophon, so of course food and drink were a necessary ending to the day. With heads swimming our participants stayed to get to know each other and unwind after a day packed with information. Thank you to our returning volunteers who came to learn more about the program. The staff hopes you all took away new tidbits of information. A big welcome goes out to our new volunteers. We look forward to seeing you all at lessons.