Volunteer Positions

Therapeutic riding centers are non-profits, run predominantly by volunteers. Instructors and horses could not do this work alone – we need volunteers! There are a number of volunteer positions that are pretty standard across centers and, in case you think it’s all about being with horses, I wanted to outline some other common volunteer opportunities.

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Sidewalker Holds

Is it really October already? Summer flew by and now we’re getting in to the busiest time of the year! I love Fall so I am excited for the change in season and cooler weather. Before I dive in to today’s post, a little programming note: new posts will be coming out every OTHER Thursday until at least the end of the year.

If there is a topic you are interested in, want to learn more about, or have suggestions on please reach out! Email me or comment and I will do my best to put together a post. On to today….

Sidewalkers are one of the most important volunteers in a therapeutic riding program. Sidewalkers are the instructor’s eyes and ears during the lesson and keep clients safe on and around the horse. Sidewalkers are physical and emotional support for clients and clients often look forward to seeing “their” sidewalkers every lesson.

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Managing a Group

Many therapeutic riding centers offer only private lessons, but there are centers that only offer group lessons or have a mix of group and private. The center I work at has a mix of private and group lessons and the majority of my teaching hours are from groups.

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Taking Turns

I recently began the process of getting my Masters in Speech-Language Pathology and it is fascinating! Expect the content here on this blog to reflect more of what I am learning and how it can be helpful in therapeutic horseback riding. One interesting tidbit I learned is how taking turns is a precursor to a conversation.

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How to Discipline in Lessons: Horses

Disciplining horses in the middle of lessons is difficult. As instructors, we don’t want to show our riders negative behavior from us or point out negative behavior in our horses. I believe the best way to discipline a horse is to eliminate the problem through training, stress elimination, and positive reinforcement but that mostly takes place outside of lessons. I want to share how I discipline in lessons, but please know that this is my personal way of doing things and is not meant to be construed as the only way or the best way.

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