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Therapeutic Riding Volunteer

This is a discussion on Therapeutic Riding Volunteer within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

     
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        07-12-2010, 08:20 PM
      #11
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Eolith    
    Horses at the dude ranches (at least ones that I've been to) frequently have a great deal more turn out and are "rotated" through work a bit more. I agree that some lesson horses suffer the same circumstances, but at least at the location I was volunteering, most of these horses were expected to do more than just be led around. There were several off-the-lead lessons or ones where the leader was really only supposed to be an anchor in case the horse acted up... not actually a leader. There were a few riders that would just haul on those reins and bang bang bang with their legs, which always made me wince. And of course considering their circumstances you can't really get after them for it as much as you might an average kid taking lessons. They don't understand the subtleties of using gentle aids that gradually become stronger as needed... nor to they understand the use of their seat.
    I ahvent been too many theraputic riding places(2 or 3)but all the places I've gone have had there horse on turnout 24/7 with shelter. If the horse isn't being used, someone will come and groom it. They get breaks before the 6 week sessions start again and where I live at least, they get a winter break, I think.
         
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        07-13-2010, 08:55 AM
      #12
    Yearling
    Maybe its just a difference in how each individual barn is run. Good and bad things happen everywhere. At the place I volunteered, if the rider was physically able to ride without a sidewalker, then they had to ride properly. Not necessarily posture wise, but they weren't allowed to pull or kick at the horses. If they did, they lost their bridle and the horse was led again.
    Conversely, I worked at one dude ranch (not for very long, let me tell you) where the guy only had 10 trail horses, and they rode every trail, every day. You would ask people to not yank at them, but they paid their money, and figured they knew how to ride. Not a very pleasant place.
    But the other dude ranch I worked had about 40 horses, so no horse would work 2 days in a row.
         
        07-13-2010, 01:34 PM
      #13
    Weanling
    I can and will respond to this...but can't get it in all while I'm at work...LOL! Lots to share.
         
        07-13-2010, 10:19 PM
      #14
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    Tomorrow's my first day and I'm really nervous. Any tips to calm me down? I know the instructor and she's really nice but I'm afraid I'm going to mess up.
         
        07-14-2010, 01:27 AM
      #15
    Started
    Yes, there is a vast difference in the size and the way that therapeutic riding centers are run. I am merely sharing my experience... but I'm not trying to put anyone completely off of it. Just sharing some of my personal disappointments.

    Roughrider, don't worry about it at all. You know more about horses that a lot of their volunteers do I'm willing to wager, and the instructors are usually pretty amazing people who are more than willing to help you gain your bearings. Everyone there is just going to appreciate you giving your time and effort more than anything else. As long as you're giving it your all, that's all that they ask for. You'll do great, and I'm sure you'll fall in love with some of the horses, riders, and other people involved in the program.
         
        07-14-2010, 02:38 AM
      #16
    FHF
    Foal
    At our center all horse handlers are trained specifically how to handle our horses. Everyone is taught and encouraged to do everything exactly the same. From how they are brushed to how they are tied, how they are lead to how they are treated during their down time. For example when a horse is resting in his or her stall no one is allowed to speak to them reach in and pet them etc. Imagine if you just wanted a little me time, a little nap, a little snack, and everytime you started to make that happen for yourself the phone rang and you couldn't turn it off.

    Making sure horses are all handled the same way helps the horses stay relaxed and happy because they know exactly what to expect.

    For instance you might like to just pull back on the lead rope to stop your horse, another might like to rattle the clip, another might give it a little jerk. Not allowed at our center. We rattle the clip slightly and our horses know to stop. We all do the same thing and handlers are corrected if they use any other method. This keeps the horses from getting annoyed with their handler.

    We also have two main people that ride the therapy horses every week. Take them out on the trail and just let them be loose and free.

    These types of practices are vital to keeping therapy horses from getting burnt out. Another is having experienced horse people like those of you here be a part of the program. Horses know when you don't speak their language and they find it very annoying.
         
        07-14-2010, 02:51 AM
      #17
    FHF
    Foal
    We also don't allow our riders regardless of their cognitive or physical ability to mistreat the horses. We correct them everytime and as mentioned by someone else earlier we may take away the reins and only use a neck rope or something like that if they don't have the fine motor skills to use reins attached to the horses face. We don't allow anybody to kick the horses. One time we correct and explain, two times sidewalkers hold your ankles and explain, and three times you don't get to ride any more that day. Class is over. Regardless of whether or not they really understand. We want to provide a quality professional environment for our horses to work in, and if our horses aren't happy, NOBODIES HAPPY!
         
        07-14-2010, 03:05 AM
      #18
    FHF
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheRoughrider21    
    Tomorrow's my first day and I'm really nervous. Any tips to calm me down? I know the instructor and she's really nice but I'm afraid I'm going to mess up.
    You can't mess up. Your instructor will be guiding you the whole way through. Look at your role as one of support. You are their to inspire confidence in the rider. You wouldn't be there if they didn't need you. Most of all treat your rider as if they are the most wonderful person you have met in a long long time. Often times students are wary of new people because most new people they meet are not comfortable around them (and they can feel it) They are just like any other kid they want to be loved validated and acknowledged for their accomplishments. Tell them you are so excited that you are going to get to be their volunteer that day. And when its over tell them thank you so much for allowing you to be a part of their lesson. It puts them in the VIP position. Tell them something you saw them do that you just thought was outstanding and you had no idea they were able to do that.

    YOU CAN DO IT! You would probably have done all this without me telling you anyway. But absolutely don't be scared of messing up. Therapy horses are exceptionally trained. You will not have any problems. Just enjoy the giving.
         
        07-14-2010, 01:03 PM
      #19
    Started
    Post

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FHF    
    You can't mess up. Your instructor will be guiding you the whole way through. Look at your role as one of support. You are their to inspire confidence in the rider. You wouldn't be there if they didn't need you. Most of all treat your rider as if they are the most wonderful person you have met in a long long time. Often times students are wary of new people because most new people they meet are not comfortable around them (and they can feel it) They are just like any other kid they want to be loved validated and acknowledged for their accomplishments. Tell them you are so excited that you are going to get to be their volunteer that day. And when its over tell them thank you so much for allowing you to be a part of their lesson. It puts them in the VIP position. Tell them something you saw them do that you just thought was outstanding and you had no idea they were able to do that.

    YOU CAN DO IT! You would probably have done all this without me telling you anyway. But absolutely don't be scared of messing up. Therapy horses are exceptionally trained. You will not have any problems. Just enjoy the giving.
    Thank you so much! That is really good advice and I'll put it to good use. This is going to sound silly but last night I was so nervous that I even had nightmares of all the things I could do wrong tonight. =/
         

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