Volunteering with Horses

by tinacollins

Volunteering is a great way to get back into work after a long gap, supporting and helping a charity or business, regaining confidence and learning about a career.

It can be daunting taking those first few steps to becoming a volunteer, especially if you have been out of work for a long time. But, do take it slow and don't give up on yourself or your search.

The first thing you must do, is to decide in which part of the, say, horse industry you would like to work in. There are numerous ways in which you can help and they don't all have to be hands-on.

Becoming a Volunteer

Some of the areas you can work in include:

Administration, Fund-raising, Stable yard work, Exercising/schooling, Horse Trainer, Riding Instructor and so on.

What I did was to find all the stables in my area, whether they be riding stables or private yards, then traveled to each one to get a feel for the journey and to check out where the stables were. I then, approached those I felt were suited to my needs. Of those, I checked out, I felt only one was suitable and could be sympathetic to my own personal needs.

The next step was to approach the owner, arrange a proper visit and a chat, and to sort out all the required paperwork, which included references, ID, volunteer application form and experience.

Working as a Volunteer

In theory most businesses won't turn away a volunteer. In fact, many will specifically offer vacancies for volunteers.

Volunteers are great for businesses as they do not require a wage and are the foundation of the work force. They often have experience in the job they seek, and they are often flexible with time.

As I said, most businesses won't turn you down, but I was turned down once. The reason? I wasn't in the right area or borough. The charity wanted to give any opportunities they had to those living in the borough where they were based. I think that this was a little unfair. Volunteers can be hard to find and you could be waiting absolutely ages before one comes along. Grab them whilst you can!

Sometimes, if you've worked for pay for many years, it is hard to get into the mindset of the volunteer. You are not obligated to do anything you don't want to, and, if you require time out, you can take it. After all, you are there because you offered the help. You are not paid to be there. So, if you want to spend a little quality time with the horses or animals, you can and you shouldn't feel guilty doing so.

Search for Equine Vacancies

The next step is to look for horse businesses and yards that are advertising for help in the area that you are looking for. Do a search on-line for equine vacancies, take a look at your local horse feed store, riding stables or vet's for opportunities that may arise.

Make sure that you have all the necessary information that is likely to be required ready and waiting. This could be proof of experience, examinations and qualifications, references, personal and contact information, and hours/days available for work.

Good stables will carry out a CRB check if you are dealing with children or the disabled.

Horse Charities

There are many horse welfare charities across the UK and the world who desperately need help to care for abused and neglected equines. If you are lucky to live close to one of these charities, approach them and ask if they require any help. I don't think any will refuse an offer to help! You can help by:

  • caring for the horses
  • fostering or re-homing horses
  • stable yard duties
  • schooling
  • fund-raising
  • donations
  • sponsoring a horse/pony

Some horse welfare charities are listed below:
World Horse welfare
National Equine Welfare Council

Horse Volunteer Resources

Volunteering Abroad with Equine in Africa | Horse Volunteer - Horse Volunteer offers exciting voluntary work in Africa with horses at an equine rescue center in Mozambique

So You Want to Volunteer at a Horse Organization? - Helping horses and people in need can be a rewarding experience, but consider what it will take before you commit to volunteering at a horse organization.

Updated: 03/23/2014, tinacollins
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