Seaside 4 Therapeutic Riding, Inc.

Volunteer With Us

Seaside 4 Therapeutic Riding is a non-profit corporation dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with disabilities. Volunteering with Seaside 4 Therapeutic Riding is a great opportunity for teens looking to fulfill their high school or college community service requirement.

At the heart of the Seaside 4 Therapeutic Riding Program is our devoted and tireless crew of volunteers. Seaside 4 Therapeutic Riding relies on the generosity of volunteers to assist at many levels. Our volunteers are the key to our program, helping us to keep our rates affordable, our lessons safe and enjoyable, and our horses healthy and happy. Here are a few of the ways people volunteer:

The Volunteer Horse Leader: This volunteer position reports directly to the Volunteer Coordinator, but receives input from the Executive Director, Head Riding Instructor, Riding Instructor, therapist and/or the contracted medical professional. The Horse Leader's responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the safety of riders, other volunteers, staff, and participants in the program while handling the horse. The Horse Leader is responsible for:

  • Maintaining complete and accurate personal information on file in the Office.
  • Wearing appropriate clothing as per Program guidelines.
  • Arriving 15 - 30 minutes before the beginning of a scheduled riding session to groom and tack the horse.
  • Grooming the horse, using the horse's own grooming tools.
  • Tacking the horse.
  • Leading or spotting the horse during lessons. This may include mounting and/or dismounting a student at the wheelchair ramp.
  • Calmly maintaining control of a horse in the event of an emergency.
  • Ensuring the safety of the team by being acutely aware of your horse and his/her behavior as well as the location of other horses in the arena.
  • Notifying the Primary Instructor of any questionable health or behavior issues of the horse being led.
  • Following safety guidelines.
  • When applicable, un-tacking horse, washing it off if so instructed, and turning the horse out to pasture.
  • Caring for tack and equipment in a manner that preserves its useful life.
  • Maintaining professionalism at all times.

A volunteer must have the following qualifications to fill the position of Horse Leader:

  • Be 14 years of age or older unless this requirement is waived by the Executive Director.
  • Be available for at least 2 hours per week on a consistent basis.
  • Completion of an orientation session and a minimum of one additional training session annually.
  • Knowledgeable about basic horse behavior and movement.
  • Knowledgeable about basic horse handling techniques.
  • Ability to communicate with the instructor, other volunteers, and rider.
  • Ability to recognize possible warning signs and/or hazards pertaining to the horse.
  • Ability to maintain the horse at various tempos within different gaits.
  • Capable of leading horse through basic pattern figures at walk and trot.
  • Skilled in leading from left or right side of the horse.

The Volunteer Sidewalker: A sidewalker is a person who acts as a "spotter," assisting a rider with a disability by walking alongside him/her while mounted on the horse. Sidewalkers go where the lesson takes them. Lessons usually are conducted in an enclosed sand arena or outdoor ring, but occasionally riders venture out into open fields or wooded trails. Most importantly, the role of the sidewalker is to be attentive, helpful, and willing to assist those around them. Seaside 4 Therapeutic Riding staff is responsible for the students and horses; a sidewalker's job is to be an extra set of hands, eyes and ears to help keep every session safe and fun.

Sidewalkers must be at least 14 years old and available for at least 2 hours per week on a consistent basis. A riding session usually lasts 25 minutes, but may include additional time devoted to grooming and tacking up the horse prior to riding. The 25 minutes of "saddle time" entails vigorous walking beside a horse and spotting the rider. Prior experience with horses and the student population is not necessary; volunteer training is conducted throughout the year as needed. Volunteer training covers disabilities awareness, sidewalking techniques, and horse and human safety.

The Barn Volunteer: Taking care of our horses is a year-round job. Their tack and other equipment must be cleaned and inspected regularly for safety and longevity. A barn volunteer might scrub and refill water buckets, clean saddles and bridles, and help groom horses. Available hands will be put to work when it's time to set up for an event.

Barn volunteers must be at least 14 years old and available for at least 2 hours per week on a consistent basis. Prior experience with horses is not necessary, though barn volunteers with a background in horseback riding and/or horse care are greatly appreciated. The Seaside 4 Therapeutic Riding volunteer coordinator will train volunteers while on the job.

Ring Cleanliness: Volunteers are not expected to muck out stalls, but the Therapeutic Riding ring must be kept clean. Everyone, from the Executive Director to the newest volunteer, is expected to help keep the ring clean by doing "poop scoop" duty when necessary. Since horses are vegetarians this is not an unpleasant task.

          Please view this training video before your first day of volunteering.

Download Volunteer Registration Package (Must be completed before a volunteer can work in the ring or help with horse care.)

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