The main role of a volunteer helper is to lead a horse or to walk by the side of the rider. In cases of severe disability this may involve two side walkers and thus on many occasions three volunteers are needed for each disabled rider.
We can always do with more volunteer helpers. Last year we gave 3,717 rides to 219 riders with 120 volunteers - and we were still short!
We operate from two riding schools in the area - Foxes Riding School in Ledsham and Wirral Riding Centre in Ness.
The riding schools provide a coach to guide volunteers as well as instruct. They help and supervise the riders getting on and off the horses, as does our physiotherapist who attends rides as and when necessary.
Basic training is given to all volunteers before they start helping and we are required to apply for DBS Disclosures.
Each ride lasts for half an hour and there are normally three in a morning and three in an afternoon. We only ride in term time and do not ride at the weekend or on a Monday. There are also rides on a Thursday evening at Foxes Riding School and a Wednesday evening at Wirral Riding Centre at certain times of the year. See the Rides page for a full list of current rides at both locations.
Volunteer helpers must concentrate on the rider. There is a lot of fun and laughter! It is necessary to make sure that feet are in the special stirrups and the riders are holding their reins correctly - some riders are not capable of doing the former and have to be supported in various ways.
With experience, volunteers understand when certain riders do not like 'eye contact' and some prefer as little physical contact as possible. Others like - and should be encouraged to - chat as well as concentrate. They should have as much fun and relaxation as possible from their riding and therefore hopefully grow in assurance and self confidence.
Come and join us as a volunteer helper! Please contact us today.