Volunteer Opportunities

Special Equestrians could not function without the amazing volunteers who help us run our program and care for our horses. Over 260 volunteers provided more than 9,500 hours of service in 2014. Below are the many ways you can be involved.


Side-Walker: The role of the side-walker is to assist the rider with their position and balance and to relay directions from the instructor. You are our eyes, ears and voice. The rider will look to you for support and guidance throughout the lesson. They will come to depend on you for security. You are vital to the success, safety, and well being of the rider.

Requirements for all side walkers include:

  • Minimum height should be 4'10"
  • Able to walk for 45 minutes and able to jog for brief periods. (If unable to jog, may be assigned to non-trotting riders.)
  • Should not have back problems
  • Must be able to lift their arms above shoulder height.


Horse-Handler: The role of the Horse-Handler is to groom and tack horses before class and, as needed, to lead them during lessons. You are the "safety net" for our riders, and our instructors rely on you to make sure the horses are responsive to the cues the riders are giving them and under control at all times. Horse-Handlers generally must serve at least one term as a Side-Walker. In addition, you must be familiar with horses and horse behavior and be confident working around them.

Facilities Maintenance
There are always chores that need to be completed in the Stable and on the grounds.  These might include mucking stalls, cleaning water buckets, mowing, and weed eating, among others.

Other needs include:

  • Repairs
  • Administrative Support


Advanced Volunteer Opportunities:
These opportunities are for volunteers who successfully complete at least one full term.  Each position requires specialized training.


Session Leader: Responsible for management of volunteers and assisting with students in preparation for class. Requirements for all session leaders include:

  • Familiarity with rules and policies governing Special Equestrians and with riding equipment and its use
  • Should be able to give direction in a pleasant and organized manner
  • May be asked to make phone calls during the week and when classes are cancelled, etc.


Horse Care: Horse Care Volunteers are those individuals who show exceptional dependability.  They are responsible for feeding the horses, turning them out, cleaning stalls, and maintaining the cleanliness of the stable.