Last Saturday I dropped over to Hope Haven Therapeutic Riding Centre for their Christmas Open House. Some of the young riders were demonstrating their riding skills to their families in the big riding arena.
These pictures are of two of the Norwegian Fjord horses at the centre, known for the calm disposition. They're also a little smaller than some breeds. I've chosen to share only a few pictures of the horses, and one of inside the arena rather than any of people.
But it was actually people that I'd come to see. You see each time I've been there I've been off walking in the woods, mostly by myself, laying out the trail I was helping them with. I've met the 3 staff, but really had no impression of the clients and how the riding side of this place works.
I was pleased to see it was quite busy, and met several more of those involved. It turns out that I've known the lead instructor for many years in a different context.
Enrollment at the centre is in part limited by the number of volunteers. Because the clients are disabled to some extent, either physically, mentally or emotionally, there are always volunteers working with them as well as the instructor. It takes 3 volunteers just to walk with and lead a horse with a beginning rider on it.
I think I can share this picture of people, with everyone's back to me, and it gives you a sense of what was gong on. The crowd watching was off to the left. Hope Haven is always looking for volunteers, so if you have time on your hands and live locally, maybe you should think about it. They're having a Volunteer Training Day for new volunteers on Jan. 17th. I came home wishing I wasn't already so committed; otherwise I might volunteer myself!