Join RFJ

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Ride for Joy simply could not exist without the help of wonderful volunteers!

Role of Volunteers at Ride for Joy

Most volunteers participate as side walkers and are responsible for spotting and/or providing safety holds for the rider during a lesson. They may assist the rider in following the instructor's directions and could help dismount a student in the event of an emergency.

Some volunteers may also participate in lessons as horse leaders. Horse leaders are responsible for leading and safely managing the horse during a lesson. Volunteers who participate as horse leaders must be at least 18 years of age and are only assigned to this role after completing additional evaluation and extensive training.

Other volunteer opportunities are also available, such as helping with the gate, games and music and greeters. Volunteers may also be needed for special events and fundraising.

Time Committment

Regular attendance by volunteers is critical to RFJ’s ability to provide this valuable service to participants in the program. Volunteers should commit to 1-2 hours on one day per week for at least one entire session (sessions range from 4 to 8 weeks).

Eligibility

The minimum age to volunteer at Ride for Joy is 14.

The minimum age to volunteer as a horse leader is 18.

Volunteers who participate in the arena assisting with lessons must be:

  • physically able to walk and occasionally jog for extended periods in a sand arena
  • physically able to react quickly to help dismount a participant in the event of an emergency

Application Process

To participate in lessons, all volunteers must complete an application and attend a training class annually. If you would like to participate as a volunteer:

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Questions? Contact Lauren Zimmerman at volunteer@rideforjoy.org


“I’ve been volunteering at Ride for Joy for several months now. I’ve been very impressed with the organization and the staff. They are well organized, communicate often to their volunteers via email, and have clear processes (as a business person at HP, I appreciate a well-run organization!). As a volunteer, they provide regular training which must be completed annually. They teach us how to be a side walker (as a spotter or holder for the rider) and horse lead. They explain our role as we perform these duties, how much talking we should do (or not do!), how to handle an emergency dismount, what to say on the phone to 911 if that is ever required, etc. I have assisted in their summer camp and the lessons for children thus far. In September, an 8 week Veteran’s program will start and I’m most anxious to participate in that to see how it differs from the children’s program. They hold an annual Volunteer Appreciation Day at their “Harvest Party” in October. Ride for Joy is very appreciative of their volunteers. I hear ‘thank you’ from the staff (and even other volunteers!) several times on each visit. They all know that’ without the volunteers’ they couldn’t provide this service to as many people as they do. I can’t think of anything Ride for Joy could do better for their volunteers. I’d recommend them to anyone looking for a fulfilling volunteer opportunity.”
— RFJ Volunteer