Volunteer Guidelines

WELCOME! We hope you have fun with our program. You play a vital role in our program so we do expect regular attendance. If you are unable to come on a scheduled day, please make a note in the sign-in sheet or call (650) 947-8680 and leave a message with at least 24 hours notice. For the safety of yourself and others, please review the following guidelines. These are all discussed with demonstrations at the Volunteer Orientation at the beginning of each session.

Tacking up the Horses

  • Move quietly but purposefully around horses. Do not make any sudden movements or loud noises.
  • Walk around a horse to get to the other side. For your safety, do not duck under the horse’s head.
  • Make sure the rider’s helmet and safety belt are fitted correctly. Helmets should fit snugly, with the chin strap secure.
  • The girth should be snug to prevent the saddle from slipping. Check it before your rider mounts, as well as during class. The instructor will also conduct a safety check at the beginning of class.
  • Be observant and take action if you see any dangerous situation, such as children standing too close behind a horse. Always keep a safe distance when following another horse. Horses may put their ears back if they’re angry, or forward and head up if they’re frightened.

What to do During Class

  • Watch the rider at all times. Make sure their feet are in the stirrups, and their body is centered in the saddle and not leaning to one side. Some riders may need more support, while others may need just a watchful eye, especially when trotting.
  • For those riders who need support, do not let go. For example, if the arena is wet, don’t let go to walk around a puddle; you need to walk through it.
  • Talk to your rider, not across him or her. You are encouraged to chat and get to know them before the lesson starts, but once class begins, assist your rider to follow the instructor’s directions. Please do not have personal conversations among yourselves.
  • Smile and provide positive comments to your rider. A little encouragement goes a long way.
  • If the rider’s behavior is causing the horse discomfort, stop the ride. Then explain to your rider that their actions are upsetting the horse, and that they will need to stop those actions if they want to continue to their lesson. Inappropriate behavior includes bouncing up and down, tugging on the reins, yelling, or hitting the horse.
  • Never put your hand through the loop of the safety belt. If you were to trip or fall, you could pull the rider off the horse.
  • If your rider seems distressed but is unable to articulate the problem, request assistance from your leader or instructor.

When Class is Over

  • Assist your rider when he or she is dismounting the horse. Walk up the mounting ramp, and when the horse has come to a complete stop, take the rider’s feet out of the stirrups, and help them gently swing their leg over the horse’s back. If the parent or guardian is not there to assist during dismounting, walk your rider safely down the ramp to an adult volunteer.
  • Remind children to walk, not run, when they leave the ramp or horse area. Also remind them to return their helmets and safety belts to the equipment box.
  • Untack the horses.  Return the saddle and bridles to the tack room, lightly groom your horse, and return it to its stall. Always secure the stall latches and put up the webbing.
  • Please limit horse treats. Too many goodies can make horses nippy, or upset the horse next to them. Always have the rider or their parent ask for permission first.

Thank you very much!

Reminder: Class may be cancelled on rainy or very hot days. Call (650) 947-8680 after 2 p.m. on the day of the program to check the status.