Program volunteers assist as sidewalkers or leaders in therapy sessions. No prior horse experience is necessary as every volunteer is required to attend our volunteer orientation and hands-on training.
- The role of the sidewalker is to help groom and tack horses for classes, walk beside the rider during the class, assist with mounting and dismounting and help feed and water the horses at the end of class. A sidewalker ensures that the rider gets the most out of the lesson while fostering as much independence as possible. During class, the sidewalker provides stability and ensures that the rider stays in the proper riding alignment while on the horse.
- The role of the leader is to help groom and tack horses for classes, take the horse from the stall to the mounting area, attend to the horse during mounting, lead the horse as directed by the instructor during class, return the horse to the stall after class and help feed and water the horses at the end of class. During the class, the leader cues the horse and rider and keeps both of them safe. The leader is in charge of making sure the horse is under control at all times, while still allowing the rider to be as independent as possible.