Lessons(therapeutic and riding)
A sidewalker is the volunteer who walks beside the horse to provide support to the rider. Responsibilities of the sidewalker are to be aware of the student at all times, provide support and encouragement to the rider and reinforce instructor's directions when needed. You need to be reliable and patient to be an effective sidewalker as well. Keep in mind that some students take a longer time to process things, so we want you to help only when needed and not rush the rider. You do not need to have any prior horse experience, but you will be working in close proximity to them, so you need to be comfortable around them. Some riders need hands on support, so you need to be able to lift your arms up and out for an extended period of time. Other riders may just need psychological support (for example: some get nervous, so they need you to help keep them calm and remind them that they are safe. Some just need help to stay focused and on-task.
A leader is the volunteer who leads a horse during therapeutic riding lessons. Your responsibility and main focus is controlling the horse. You also need to be constantly aware of the needs of the rider, listen to directions from the instructor and be aware of any potential hazards in or around the arena. Open communication with the sidewalker(s) must be maintained at all times. You need to be reliable and patient as a horse leader. You also must be at least 15 years of age, have horse experience and be able to control the horse in all situations. Volunteers without horse experience may become leaders if they choose to do so, but only after sidewalking for one full year at The Bridge Center.