Check out the VTRA website to find out about their latest volunteer opportunities. This looks like a really fun way to get your volunteer hours and/or simply enjoy being outside with people and horses!
Here are some details from their website:
Become a Volunteer!
Interested in volunteering with us? Simply click here and fill out our volunteer application form.
What Can Volunteers Do?
- Side Walker: Assisting riders with balancing and interpreting instructor directions.
- Horse Handler: Leading horses during lessons. Previous horse experience and assessment required.
- Assistant Instructor: Previous experience in program and with horses required.
- Groom: Prepare horses for the next lessons and complete barn chores. Experience with horses and assessment required.
- Stable Management: Assist the Instructor with the lesson plan for the class, which may include catching horses, playing games, and encouraging focus on the lesson.
- Fundraising: Assisting the Board before and during events.
- Tack Store Staff: Opening the tack store, selling tack. Knowledge of tack an asset.
- Assisting with building projects (as needed)
- High school students volunteering in order to get their CAPP hours (must be at least 16 years old)
- University and College students wanting to fulfill their need for community hours
- People who have a few hours a week to spare and want to contribute their time
If you are 16 years of age or older, have a clean criminal record check, and are able to travel out to our barn in Central Saanich for a few hours a week, please fill-out our application form and e-mail our Coordinator of Volunteers. We also have a volunteer Facebook group!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I choose to only volunteer in the horse roles?
When in a regular spot, you can certainly request which role you prefer. However, all volunteers are expected to fill any position they are trained to do, which may include sidewalking, ring spotting, and assisting with the Stable Management classes. It is very important that our volunteers are flexible so they are best able to help us keep our programs running.
Can I fulfill hour requirements by volunteering with VTRA?
Absolutely! Please try to record how many hours you volunteer with us. When you need a reference or a letter to certify that you completed x number of hours, please email the Coordinator of Volunteers.
Can I volunteer on weekends?
Our programs do not run on weekends, but we sometimes hold fundraisers and special events on weekends. We will need volunteers for that, so if you’re interested, please make note of that on your application and in your emails with the Coordinator of Volunteers. There are currently no opportunities to muck paddocks or groom horses after-hours.
Can I try Horse Handler or Groom training without horse experience?
No. Any volunteer attempting Horse Handler or Groom training should feel confident that they can pass the Horse Handler or Groom evaluations. Copies of the evaluation forms are provided in your first email from the Coordinator of Volunteers. If you do not have any horse experience, you must start as a sidewalker.
It’s been a while since I’ve worked with horses. Should I start with sidewalking?
Yes! We require a substantial amount of horse experience to pass Horse Handler or Groom training. Anyone who is not experienced enough must do at least 6 months of sidewalking before attempting the other trainings. Sidewalking is super fun and a great way to get to know our program and re-familiarize yourself with horses!
I have a past injury/health condition that makes it difficult for me to lift or run. Can I still volunteer?
Absolutely. We can swap volunteers out for the running portion of the class if needed and/or schedule you with another volunteer who can assist you when you need it.
Here’s what some of our current volunteers are saying about volunteering at VTRA:
“Volunteering with the VTRA has been one of the most rewarding and satisfying endeavours I’ve undertaken. Although you would assume that volunteering benefits the kids that are riding, I think the benefits to the volunteers themselves are just as important. There is such a positive and friendly attitude at VTRA, the staff are so welcoming and patient. Being involved can lift spirits and shine a bright light on your day. To see the joy in the face of the kids riding and to be able to have close contact with the horses is the best cure for whatever ails you. Volunteering for VTRA is my weekly positive mental health break!”
“As a volunteer, I really enjoy seeing the riders gain confidence with themselves and the horse as the term progresses. It is very rewarding to support an organization that has such positive impacts on its participants.”
“VTRA is a godsend to the lives of not only our students, but their families and friends alike. To see the joy in the face of a student who normally shows no expression, or the “WooHoo!” from a young man at the end of the lesson who is so very proud of himself is so precious. As a volunteer, there is nothing more rewarding than being a part of the magic between the horse and the student. Life is Good!”