Therapeutic riding is the result of team effort between volunteer trainers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, physical education teachers, psychologists, social workers and volunteer program assistants. The role of volunteer program assistant is of decisive importance to the success of our objectives. Without volunteer assistants the implementation of our programs would not be possible.
Any one of us can become a therapeutic riding program assistant; it does not require prior experience or riding skills. All it requires is a sense of purpose, dedication, enthusiasm, team spirit, and love for both humans and animals. It is important that assistants go through training which is provided by TRAG trainers.
The main duty of a volunteer is to be responsible for the cleaning (wiping with and without the presence of horses), hang out with the guests and prepare the patients for the sessions, settling the arena, grooming, be as a side walker in the arena, prepare the horses for the sessions (trained by the therapists), lead the horse.
A unique and special relationship develops between programme participants and their assistants. Even persons of limited alertness and attention span respond to a smiling, happy face, and grow to interact and bond with their assistant. What a gratifying experience it is to watch a person make progress and open up new horizons, conquering all kinds of disabilities!
Volunteer participation is at least a once a week either in the morning 09:00 – 13:00 or in the afternoon 15:30 – 18:30 (Monday to Friday) and Saturday 08:30-13:30. You choose the day and time (either morning or afternoon). In the event you can’t make it one day you just notify the therapists. And if you don’t have regular working hours this will also be taken into consideration.
Volunteers must be over 18 years old.
THE IDEAL VOLUNTEER
The ideal volunteer is punctual, arriving at least 10 minutes earlier.
Volunteers should be 100% focused and dedicated, leaving behind all personal problems. They should be dressed appropriately, for their own safety, with closed shoes and long trousers. They should wear clothes that do not provoke and should respect the dress code. Apart from obvious regulations of safety and respect, it should be noted that among the participants in the therapeutic programs there are also those who by nature of their problem can’t control their natural urges. So we have to dress and behave appropriately at all times.
The ideal volunteer, apart from his main duties according to his training, is also responsible for welcoming new volunteers, helping with events, distributing promotional material, finding new sponsors and anything else that may arise.
He is always vigilant while the riders mount their horses, ready to help discreetly but only if asked. Most of the riders want to manage it by themselves. Help, if needed, should be offered with kindness, humor and dignity.
He cooperates with the trainer and follows instructions carefully to help his rider achieve his/her particular objective, carefully concentrating on all instructions given to ensure the successful outcome of the session.
He doesn’t speak on his mobile phone during the session, he doesn’t smoke anywhere except from the allotted smoking areas and ensures the whole area is kept clean and uncluttered at all times.
When unsure about anything at all, he doesn’t hesitate to ask for guidance.
- Sympathy without sentimentality
- Calm presence
- Unlimited patience
- Interest in the rider as an individual
- Independence for the rider
- You are an important member of the team
«A horse brought me to the land of fairy tales… It taught me how to walk…
I came to know lands I had never seen before… I learned how to fight dragons…
Along the way, I found friends who loved me…
who helped me swiftly make my dream come true…
And taught me that life’s treasure lies in learning to share»