Giving Back For The Love Of The Horse
By Bren Pickel, CanTRA
As the Volunteer Coordinator for a therapeutic riding stable, I ask the same question of each prospective volunteer I meet: Why do you want to volunteer? I hear one of two answers in every response: I want to give back to my community, and I love horses.
I can enumerate many of the benefits of volunteering, such as connecting with others, making a difference, physical and mental well-being, adding to your resume, and so on. But in speaking to a horse community, I realize I need to keep it to those two simple yet profound responses: giving back and for the love of horses. What I am hearing is: You give so that another can experience the love of the horse.
A Rainbow Rider, St John’s NFLD. Photo courtesy Rainbow Riders
How did you fall in love with horses? For me, serenity is the smell of hay and leather and horses. The enjoyment of caring for our horses takes away the stress and anxiety we routinely battle outside the barn at work or school. A community of people who share our passion and commitment to the sport, the breed, or the discipline expands our joy even further. Whatever you are feeling now as you contemplate my words, you can “give back” by helping someone else enter into the love of the horse.
Para-sport rider Sarah M and coach Carolyn from THRIL, ON. Photo courtesy THRIL
Therapeutic riding meets the physical, mental, and emotional needs of persons with disabilities. It also gives someone the gift of just being with horses. Find a CanTRA centre near you. Volunteer, as a side walker or horse handler, or donate to support the love of the horse for healing and happiness.
Main photo: Rachel and Teddy. Photo: Jordan Roberts