Volunteering is an integral part of our program and critical to the success of what we do. We want you to be the best volunteer possible and hope that these simple tips will get you off to the right start!
- What is the most important thing to know about being a RSR volunteer?
Consistency - We can't say it enough. Be early, not on time. Our riders love consistency because they get attached to the volunteers. Our horses love consistency because they get to know YOU and become more comfortable with you. And of course we LOVE consistent volunteers who we get to know and become more and more a part of our barn family!
- Do I have to do both barn chores and lessons (sidewalker or leader)?
No, you are not required to do both types of roles. Our main need is for the daily barn chores and horse care, especially during the off season (Oct-March) or any evenings during the year (4pm-6pm shift). However, if you are a lesson volunteer, it is likely we will need help on lesson days with at least some barn chores to keep the barn clean between lessons.
- What should I wear when I come to the barn?
Closed-toe shoes is an ABSOLUTE MUST for safety purposes. You should always come prepared to work in clothes that you don't mind getting dirty. It's a barn... spiderwebs, dust, horse poop... we have it all! We also LOVE when our volunteers wear their Ready Set Ride apparel. This helps parents, riders and other volunteers identify you as barn staff!
- The barn is already dirty, why is it important to clean-up?
It's true the barn is dirty! But did you know that cobwebs are the #1 Reason for barn fires!! Even though it is a barn, we still need YOU to put things back where you found them, sweep the aisles and take pride in the work that you are doing! The barn has to stay organized so that other volunteers can find things just as easily as you!
- I have no horse experience or experience working with special needs children, should I still volunteer?
YES!! Not every person that comes in has experience. We want you to ASK QUESTIONS and just come with an open mind willing to learn. We also have plenty of jobs that do not require physical activity or being directly involved with horses or our riders if you'd like a behind-the-scenes, fundraising, or other volunteer opportunity. We want you to be a part of the team and are always happy to find a job that works for everyone!
- Do you have other information I can read to help me before becoming a volunteer? Sure! Although it's quite long our Volunteer Manual has plenty of information to help you understand the ins and outs of our program, working with our riders, horses and how to be the best RSR volunteer there is! We actually require that after your first 12 hours of service that you read through our manual before becoming a Regular Volunteer. We sometimes also post instructional/tip videos to our Youtube channel.
- Can I bring my cell phone with me?
You can bring cell phones with to the barn. However, we ask that DURING a session the cell phone is turned OFF and left at the front of the barn!!! This is for the safety of YOU, our riders and our horses. When you come to volunteer at the barn it is also a time to work and not a time to socialize on your phone. We want you to have the best experience possible and this will only happen if your full attention is given to our horses and riders.
- I love horses and want to ride as a volunteer. Can I?
Unfortunately our horses are specifically trained for our therapeutic riding program, and are not available for rides for our volunteers as a program "perk."
- Why aren't there evening shifts Friday-Sunday?
We generally don't ask volunteers to come in on Friday-Sunday evenings as we have the core crew in on those days to take care of the horses, and give our volunteer crew a much needed break!
- How do I get one of those Ready Set Ride T-shirts?
We are so excited to be working with G4Equine who provide a variety of shirts/styles for our volunteers to purchase. You can even get them personalized with your name! To order your shirt now go to G4Equine!