For a Volunteer Application Packet and further information on how to get involved, contact our office at 541-382-9410 or email lindar(at)heali
Click here to download our Volunteer Handbook 2017
Our barn doors are open Monday-Saturday throughout the year and more than 150 volunteers are needed to assist staff in Therapeutic Riding, Hippotherapy (physical therapy on horseback), Mental Health & Learning, and Veterans Horsemanship classes each and every week.
We host standard Volunteer Orientations approximately five times each year (scroll down for dates). Orientations include everything a volunteer needs to be successful at Healing Reins -no previous horse experience is necessary! Training includes classroom presentations, arena demonstrations and hands-on learning opportunities, as well as plenty of chances to ask questions, learn more and get to know our instructors, Volunteer Team Captains and horses. At the end of each orientation, participants are encouraged to review a current class schedule and to sign up to assist. We ask that volunteers commit to serving for a month at a time since experienced class volunteers are part of the team that provides stability and a sense of community for our riders, familiarity with instructor needs and class goals, and proficiency working with the horses and equipment.
While our preference is a steady, multi-week commitment, we also understand that
volunteers have busy lives too. Don’t let that deter you from joining our incredible volunteer community! If you have vacation plans or other situations that may preclude helping out on a scheduled day, we are always happy to help you fill your assigned spot. All we ask is that you give us as much notice as possible.
- All volunteers must fill out all required paperwork found in the Volunteer Application Packet prior to the orientation.
- A $10 registration fee is required for all volunteers in order to ensure a safe and secure environment for all parties. The registration fee covers the cost of background checks and printed materials used in training.
- Minor children (ages 14 and up) who would like to volunteer in the arena must have written parental permission.
Healing Reins Volunteer Qualifications
- Volunteers must be at least 14 years old
- Be able to lift up to 20 lbs (a saddle)
- Be able to walk and jog on uneven ground during a one-hour lesson
- After training, be able to perform tasks with minimal supervision
- Be open to constructive feedback
- Willing to commit time to the session
- Be willing to learn and follow “The Healing Reins Way” procedures.
- Dress in appropriate barn attire.
- Horse knowledge and experience is helpful, but not necessary
Volunteers support riders by helping them to groom and tack their horses, to mount and dismount, and to learn new things and complete tasks during a lesson. Volunteers are categorized as “Leaders” and “Sidewalkers”. Most volunteers join our team as a Sidewalker, progressing to a Leader role with time and experience.
The primary function of the Sidewalker is to assist the rider in all phases of the lesson. Sidewalkers interact with and guide the client, and also serve as an extra set of eyes and ears for the instructor. Sidewalkers are responsible for the rider's comfort, learning and interaction with the horse. Particularly young or timid riders may require more support and help from sidewalkers. Volunteers serving in this capacity strive to always be a loving, gentle, calming and encouraging influence on every rider.
The primary function of a Leader is to retrieve the horse from his/her paddock, lead the horse into the barn before the lesson, help with grooming and tacking, and handle the horse during the lesson. Leaders are primarily responsible to address the comfort and safety of the horse, and will interact with and observe the horse at all times to ensure the safety of the rider.
If you can't commit to volunteering during weekly lessons, Healing Reins also has volunteer needs outside of the arena, including assistance with fundraisers, facility maintenance, office work and other needs.
To ensure that you get the most out of your volunteer experience and learn all you need to know to support our riders, Healing Reins has changed its volunteer orientation format. All incoming new volunteers are considered potential "Sidewalkers".
New volunteer/Sidewalker orientations will be broken up into two separate learning opportunities to be completed in sequence.
Step 1: Attend our 1.0-hour general orientation and meet the team.
Step 2: Attend our 2.5-hour hands-on "how to" practicum.
*Note: Volunteers who do not wish to work in the arena/classes do not need to complete Step 2. See Linda Rhine for information on other volunteer opportunities.
Our Next "Sidewalker Orientation" for new volunteers is:
Step 1 - Thursday, May 18 at 5 p.m.
Step 2 - Friday, May 19 at 5 p.m.
**Note: Volunteers who wish to become Leaders must attend a regular volunteer orientation before being eligible to attend a Leader Training.