Since I do not live in Thailand, my elephant volunteer experience was a one day event. But, I am lucky enough to work with large, friendly, intelligent animals here at home.
There is a horse therapy farm about twenty minutes away by car that does amazing work. The horses are all rescues, and they take disabled children for rides on trails. This is my fourth year volunteering.
My volunteer job is varied. First, I get to work with the horses – grooming, tacking, and taking them for some exercise prior to their work with the children. Then, I help the children get comfortable around the horses, and help them get in the saddle. I then serve as a sidewalker or horse leader on the trail. Finally, I have some messy chores to do like helping clean up the stalls.
Each horse has a sad background story, so it’s heartwarming to see how both horse and rider benefit in this program.
My selfishly favorite part is at the end of the season I get offered a riding lesson of my own.
Photos show three of the horses (there are seven at the farm). The last photo is of me riding my favorite!