Volunteering with Horses
As the Volunteer Services Director since 2007, Kim Kline has been helping nearly 500 people a year provide various riding programs to over 145 children and youth per week. Kim says, “Saddle Up! could not do what it does without lots of volunteers.” Each of those riders need from one to three volunteers every time they are at Saddle Up!
Saddle Up!’s mission is to provide children and youth with disabilities the opportunity to grow and develop through therapeutic, educational, and recreational activities with horses. Founded in 1990 and incorporated in 1991, Saddle Up! is Middle Tennessee’s oldest and largest recreational therapeutic riding program, and it is the only one exclusively serving children and youth with disabilities. The organization operates year-round on their 34-acre, farm near Franklin, Tennessee. For many of the riders, Saddle Up! is one of the few, if not the only, recreational programs available to them.
In this interview Kim introduces several of the many volunteer opportunities available at Saddle Up!, talks about what these volunteers do, and proudly presents the training programs available. With horseback riding lessons and programs, including Therapeutic Riding, Equine Assisted Learning, and Equestrian Club, as well as Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy, Saddle Up! needs volunteers with a wide range of skills and interests. In her words, “You don’t have to know anything about horses or children to volunteer at Saddle Up!. We’ll give you enough information and enough practice to be safe and effective around horses and children.” What you can do as a volunteer ranges from helping as the person leading the horse or assisting the rider (as a sidewalker) to mucking stalls, mowing pastures, or providing office or fundraising assistance.
Check out the volunteer page at www.saddleupnashville.org or email Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss your interest. To find other equine-related programs in your area, visit the website of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (www.pathintl.org).
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