Join our family and become a Heartland Volunteer!
Each week, Heartland benefits from the generosity of over 150 volunteers. Without the collective dedication of our volunteers, Heartland simply wouldn’t exist! Our volunteer team includes students 14 years old to retirees – who come together to share their skills, talents and energy for the common purpose to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities. Some volunteers work on projects from the comfort of their home while others volunteer at the barn to help with facility projects or assist with riding classes.
Volunteer Opportunities include:
- Rider Team: Be a part of a team as a horse leader or sidewalker and help change a life, one ride at a time!
- Barn Assistants and Haycrew: If you love being around horses and don’t mind a little dirt, then we’ve got a brush or pitch fork waiting for you! Barn assistants groom and tack horses and the Haycrew help care for our horses.
- Special Events: If you love putting on a show, then helping with our Horse Show, Fall Festival, Camp, and Parades is just the ticket for you.
- Fundraising Team: If you’re a go-getter and love to talk with people, you’d be great at helping us round-up auction items and sponsors for our Tux ‘n’ Boots gala or asking for contributions for our Adopt-A-Horse and Rider programs.
- Ranch Hands: If you can swing a hammer and know a Phillips screwdriver from a flathead screwdriver, then we desperately need you!
If you are unfamiliar with our program, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a tour. This will give you an opportunity to get to know us and get a sense of what it’s like to volunteer at Heartland.
Once you’ve decided you’d like to volunteer, please sign up for volunteer training and complete a volunteer application. Training is required for all volunteers who work directly with our riders and/or horses. Volunteer trainings are held monthly.
Each rider has a support team to help them groom and tack their horse, mount and dismount, and be successful during class.
Program Volunteer Qualifications
- Volunteers must be 14 years of age
- Be able to lift up to 20 pounds (i.e. saddle)
- Be able to walk and jog periodically on uneven ground during a one hour class
- Must have adequate vision and hearing
- Be willing to learn and follow policies and procedures
- Horse experience is helpful, but not required
- Experience working with individuals with disabilities is helpful, but not required.
- Treat all riders, volunteers, staff and animals with dignity and respect.
Program Volunteer Roles
Sidewalker – Supports the riders by walking beside the horse and offers assistance and/or stability to the rider according to the instructor’s directions. As a Sidewalker, they observe and interact with the rider and serve as an extra set of eyes and ears for the instructor. This volunteer needs to be comfortable working with individuals with disabilities.
Horse Leader – Leads the horse and/or assists the rider in controlling the horse during class. The leader is focused on the horse to ensure the safety of the rider. This volunteer needs to have experience handling horses and must attend our Leader Training class.
Barn Assistant – Prepares horses for classes and assists with the general care of our horses. This role includes grooming, tacking, and leading horses. This volunteer needs to have experience handling horses and must attend our Barn Training class.
Arena Attendant – Assists the instructor in and outside the arena. Responsibilities may include: setting up the arena, leading horses in and out of the mounting area, changing tack, substituting for a leader, sidewalker, or barn assistant, and taking notes for the instructor. This position is for experienced Heartland volunteers who have attended both leader and barn training.