Are you a horse lover looking to give back to your local equestrian community? Volunteering is not only helpful, but can be extremely gratifying. There’s a thought in giving circles that you get back 10 times what you give. This makes giving not only good for those you are helping, but great for you as well.
One thing to remember when you volunteer is that you are there to help, so your job might not be exactly as you envisioned it to be. Stay flexible and remain in the spirit of giving. We’re pretty certain you’ll not only make a difference, but you’ll learn something new and find the experience rewarding.
Being a “horse person” allows for some unique volunteer opportunities where you can apply your equine skills and knowledge. Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Volunteer At a Local Horse Show
There are a lot of ways to help out at horse shows with everything from setting up to breaking down the show. You’ll need to contact your local show volunteer coordinator to get on the list of volunteers. Here are some show jobs to think about depending upon your own interest and skill.
- Registration table – This is a great job if you have good people skills and want to help make a first impression on behalf of the show. It’s a chance to meet others in the horse community and make them feel welcome.
- Show set up – Do you have good organizational and problem solving skills? If so, you might want to help with show set up. It’s a great way to be useful while also getting to see how a show is put together.
- Stall maintenance – Are you great with a shovel? Do you view a clean stall as an accomplishment? If so, you might want to help with some of the housekeeping tasks. Bringing fresh water and hay to horses or helping keep the stalls cleaned out will help lessen the owners stress while caring for the horses, too.
- Show break down – Are you last to leave a party? If you’re someone who likes to review the happenings of an event then show breakdown might be perfect for you. It’s a chance to reminisce while getting things back in order. It’s also a great way to really help at the end of what can be a very long day for show organizers.
2. Volunteer At a Local Equine Shelter
This is a great way to give horses some genuine TLC. Shelter horses can be stressed by new surroundings, recent trauma and they may feel displaced. This is a chance to unconditionally care for all horses who desperately need a friend. You might be mucking stalls, carrying water or organizing tack, but all jobs at shelters are equally valuable. Shelters typically operate on a shoestring budget and need to apply funds directly to the care and feeding of horses, so your volunteer work can be critical to the operation.
3. Help An Older Horse Owner
If you’re more into supporting truly local efforts, check in with an elderly neighbor and see if they need help caring, feeding or exercising their horses. This is a chance to provide some comprehensive care, including that much-needed exercise to keep horses happy and healthy. Be sure you ride to your experience level so that you and the horse are safe. If you do decide to help out an older neighbor or friend, set ground rules ahead of time including the hours you will work, expectations, and allowable treats. You may be helping as the caregiver, but be sure to respect the owner’s wishes.
4. Do Some Trail Maintenance
If you have a trail nearby that is used for riding, you might want to get out in nature and help groom the trails to make them safer and more enjoyable for all. Find out which organization manages the trail and then check in to see if there are organized trail maintenance days. Your local municipality should have this information.
5. Join Your Local Horse Club or Association
If you haven’t officially joined a local horse club, now may be the time to consider it. Local horse clubs have a variety of ways to get involved, from leadership to fundraising to helping with events; local horse clubs provide valuable services and a chance to belong to a community. Simply do an internet search on horse clubs in (state) to see if you’re local community has a horse club or association.
We'd love to hear from you...what other ways have you given back to the horse community that's given you so much? Leave a comment below!
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