Volunteer Opportunities


Who can volunteer to help with classes, horses and facility upkeep?

  • Parents
  • family members
  • 4H members
  • Boy Scouts (badge)
  • Girl Scouts (badge)
  • High school students in need of community service hours
  • High school Key Club members
  • Retired folks
  • Horse and people lovers
  • Church groups
  • Service groups
  • At risk youth
  • Anyone who wants to help others; …endless!! (Volunteers must be at least 14 years of age.)

Summer Help Program

Horse Help
  • Attend volunteer training and become a lesson groom or horse leader
  • Clean riding tack and equipment
  • Help condition horses under supervision
Lesson Help
  • Set up games and activities for riders' siblings and help supervise activities during lessons
  • Become a program volunteer and be lesson volunteer
  • Enter volunteer hours and other data into computer systems
Barn Help
  • Keep counter tops wiped off and clean
  • Keep lounge clean, sweep floors
  • Keep refrigerator stocked with water
  • Clean water buckets
  • Sweep barn aisles and keep rakes, shovels, brooms, etc. hung up
  • Help unload hay from hay wagons
  • Help with barn clean up and set up equipment before the season begins
  • Help with barn clean up and storage of equipment after the season ends
Facility Help
  • Volunteer for a workday 
  • Mow and trim our outdoor areas
  • Pick manure in paddocks and move to manure pile
  • Help repair any facility damages due to horses, participants and visitors
Community Help
  • Help promote REINS at your workplace, civic groups, churches or other connections - schedule a presentation, ask about maching donations and volunteer days
  • Help with fundraiser events – serve, clean, hand out brochures, make phone calls, etc.
  • Attend functions put on by our community partners to benefit REINS
Program Help
  • Find other volunteers and participants for the program
  • Make phone calls if lessons are canceled due to weather conditions – rain, heat, etc.
  • Help at annual banquet
  • Serve on committees – we need many more people to do this

Who could volunteer at the administrative level?

Business people, parents of riders, people with connections to social service agencies, mental health professionals, physical and occupational therapists, attorneys, accountants, physicians, people with horse business knowledge, people with fundraising experience, people with technical experience such as website design, photography and graphic design, school administrators and teachers, veterinarians, etc.

Administrative Help: (Board and Committee Members)

Promotional Help
  • Design/maintain brochure, website, Facebook page, posters, and printed materials
  • Write articles and press releases for publications and newsletters
  • Gather testimonials and arrange photographs
  • Produce videos and PowerPoint presentations
  • Research and organize small exhibits to promote the program
  • Promote and coordinate articles written by publications about the program
Operations Help
  • Help find and evaluate horses for the program
  • Help with finding volunteers – working with Girl Scouts, 4H, schools, etc.
  • Find new riders, collect necessary records and applications and facilitate admissions
  • Establish outcome measurements and record improvements
  • Write/maintain registration, application forms and manuals
  • Recruit new board and committee members
Financial Help
  • Call on potential corporate sponsors and partners to raise funds
  • Research and write grant proposals
  • Work with businesses that support non-profit groups
Future Planning Help
  • Help to shape and plan the future of the REINS program

Lesson Volunteer Roles Descriptions

In order to provide lessons that meet our clients therapy goals, REINS, Inc. creates a therapy team. These teams are made up of a Horse Leader and up to two Sidewalkers for each student and are trained by our instructor about the therapy goals for the client.  It is very important to the progress of the student that this team stay consistent. Therefore we ask that our lesson volunteers commit to a lesson day and time for the 10 week riding courses. Substitutes are available for vacations. 

Lesson Volunteer Roles Are:

Lesson Horse Leader

The horse leader is primarily responsible for the horse. Leaders need to be focused and alert for the duration of the class and must be able to safely control the horse at a walk or a trot. To ensure consistency and the well being of the horses, volunteers must be open to handling the horses as directed by the REINS staff. Horse Leaders must be approved by the REINS Program Director(s) and PATH Certified Instructors.

Requirements:

  • Complete REINS orientation and Sidewalker training
  • Intermediate to advanced previous horse experience
  • Complete REINS, Inc Skills Level 1 class, until skills demonstrated meet Certified PATH Instructor’s expectations of safety and quality interaction with therapy horses. Or…
  • Have C2 level Pony Club Rating, or 4-H experience to demonstrate applicable equine skills

Expectations of the Horse Leader role:

  • Communication through body language
  • Appropriately perform warm up exercises
  • Demonstrate the ability to safely and effectively maneuver the horse, maintaining rhythm at the active walk for at least 20 minutes consecutively
  • Demonstrate proper entry, placement, and smooth exit from the mounting block with the mounted rider
  • Ability to work in a lesson environment, following instructor direction, communicate with the team during the lesson, and demonstrate awareness of surroundings and ability to respond appropriately
  • Knowledge of horse handling in emergency situations, including quick, appropriate reaction, and maintaining control of the horse at all times
     
 
Lesson Sidewalker

Some students require a sidewalker while riding to ensure their optimal safety and comfort. This entails walking or jogging alongside the horse and rider for the duration of the class. A sidewalker’s primary responsibility is for the safety of the rider, and to provide physical, verbal and emotional support for the rider at the direction of the instructor. It is important that the sidewalker stay “tuned in” to the rider during the lesson, providing verbal prompting and encouragement when appropriate.

Requirements:

  • Complete REINS orientation and Sidewalker training
  • Dependable; can commit to at least 1 lesson day during one or both of the 5 week riding courses
  • Safety; able to follow PATH safety regulations as outlined in the REINS volunteer handbook
  • Attitude; able to stay calm, patient, understanding and tactful as well as upbeat and supportive

After orientation and sidewalker training you will have the ability to:

  • Explain and demonstrate the ability to transition a rider to and from lesson activity
  • Demonstrate the proper fit of a helmet
  • Demonstrate proper placement at the mounting block
  • Demonstrate proper exit from mounting block
  • Demonstrate proper sidewalker positioning and pace
  • Demonstrate proper holds : over the thigh, heel hold, and foot stirrup hold
  • Follow instructor direction, prompt rider as needed, communicate with team members
  • Demonstrate and explain emergency procedures and responses, including the emergency dismount
Equipment / Toy Assistant

This volunteer is between the ages of 12 & 13. The Equipment Assistant is responsible for assisting the instructor with retrieving equipment that may be needed in the arena. They also assist with many of the games and activities the students participate in.

Requirements:

  • Complete REINS orientation and PATH instructor introduction to equipment and games
  • Dependable; can commit to at least 1 lesson day during one or both 5 week riding courses
  • Safety; able to follow PATH safety regulations as guided by PATH instructor
  • Attitude; able to stay calm, patient, understanding and tactful as well as upbeat and supportive

Equine Volunteer Role Descriptions

REINS, Inc. equine volunteers specialize in conditioning, grooming, and tacking of our equine partners. Equine volunteers must have applicable experience, or participate in REINS, Inc. skills training until appropriate safe equine interaction is demonstrated. Some of the experience that is easily translated are Pony Club rating or 4-H membership accomplishments.

Equine volunteer opportunities offered are:

Groom

These volunteers are responsible for getting the therapy horses ready for the lesson (from stall or pasture to hand off to Horse Leader for lesson)

Requirements:

  • Complete REINS, Inc. orientation and demonstrate knowledge of role expectations
  • Intermediate to advanced previous horse experience
  • Complete REINS, Inc Skills Training class Level 1, until skills demonstrated meet Equine Coordinator’s expectations of safety and quality interaction with therapy horses or…
  • Have C1 level Pony Club Rating, or 4-H experience to demonstrate applicable equine skills

Expectations of the Groom Volunteer role:

  • Understanding the lesson schedule
  • The ability to have the therapy horse ready prior to the lesson start, with the correct tack for the rider
  • Bring therapy horses in and out of enclosures or stalls, as described in REINS, Inc training manual
  • Ability to clearly communicate with therapy horse with body language
  • Ability to appropriately praise horse for work well done; does not contribute to the stress level of the horse
  • Ability to lead therapy horse safely, as described in REINS, Inc training manual
  • Ability to groom (including hoof picking) therapy horse as described in REINS, Inc training manual
  • Ability to tack and un-tack therapy horse as described in REINS, Inc training manual
  • Ability to work in a team environment
  • Follow safety guidelines in emergency situations as described in REINS, Inc training manual
Equine Specialist Volunteer

The Equine Specialist Volunteer role will work under the direction of the REINS, Inc Equine Coordinator to improve therapy horse ground manners, desensitization, and participate in mounted conditioning of our therapy horses.

Requirements:

  • Complete REINS, Inc. orientation and demonstrate role expectations
  • Intermediate to advanced previous horse experience
  • Complete REINS, Inc Skills Training Level 1 and 2, until skills demonstrated meet Equine Coordinator’s expectations of safety and quality interaction with therapy horses. Or…
  • Have C2 level Pony Club Rating, or 4-H experience to demonstrate applicable equine skills

Expectations of the Equine Specialist Volunteer role:

  • Groom, bathe, administer hoof treatments, perform basic first aid, and recognize potential health issues of REINS, Inc therapy horses
  • Tack horses
  • Walk, trot in hand through a pattern or obstacle course
  • Work with lesson objects (balls, noisemakers, other toys. cones, barrels, mounting blocks, etc.)
  • Work with a partner or two to accustom therapy horses to Side Walkers
  • Free lunge in round pen and on lunge line
  • Train and condition horses under saddle, including warm-up and cool-down periods
  • Groom horse before and after session
  • Clean and condition tack used during your session
Junior Equine Volunteer

Are 12-16 years old and must work under the direct supervision of a parent or another adult until they have demonstrated that their maturity and equine handling skills are at a level that REINS, Inc representatives determine an adult is no longer necessary.