Horse Sidewalker
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Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding

Horse Sidewalker

You’ll walk by the horse and physically assist the rider during the half-hour lesson, offering support and safety. You’ll be very interactive to guide the rider through their lesson and assist them in following the directions of the instructor as necessary. While you focus on the rider, the horse leader can focus on the horse. You won’t guide/lead the horse in any way as a sidewalker; you’re there for rider support and safety. While you won’t be involved in prepping the horses, basic care will be covered in the orientation.

You’ll work with riders of all ages and abilities. Riders attend at the same time of day each week, so you can choose to volunteer at a recurring time that allows you to build a relationship with a rider over the course of the eight-week class. Sessions are offered Monday through Thursday during the day and evening. Special sessions for veterans are typically held every other Thursday morning.

Show me how to get started
2 hours/week for 8 weeks
Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding
3777 Rector Ave NE
Rockford, MI 49341 3777 Rector Ave NE
Rockford, MI 49341

Is This the Right Fit for Me?

You’re naturally encouraging. You feel comfortable guiding a rider of any age or ability through their lesson, giving instruction and support along the way and helping the rider follow directions. You can easily strike a good balance between teaching and encouraging. You’re willing to adapt to each new riding situation: the weather, the rider, the number of horses in the arena. You naturally encourage people and you like doing this type of work that will allow a rider to shine. This won’t work well for you if you’re allergic to horses.

About Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding

Equest Center is one of only three therapeutic riding programs in Michigan that owns its own farm. The Grand Rapids facility is the only year-round facility in the area which is a critical piece for many individuals with disabilities. This helps to prevent regression and foster greater physical, mental, emotional, and social improvement and benefits experienced due to a consistent riding therapy schedule throughout the year.

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What Others are Saying

“I started volunteering because of my love for horses and helping kids. The riders are a great treat to work with, as well as the kind and considerate staff at Equest. I never expected to be so involved in the organization. The friendships I have made with the riders have been a huge highlight. Come to Equest for fun, hard work and a wonderful feeling of accomplishment!”


Contact the Organization

If you’re ready to ask some questions and get started, contact the Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding directly.

Katelyn Kuhl Volunteer Coordinator 616-866-3066 x.102

What to Expect

Email Katelyn to find out the date and time for the next monthly volunteer orientation. Even if you’ve worked with horses your whole life, the orientation helps get everyone on the same page. For two hours, you’ll learn the basics of horse leading, grooming, tacking, and sidewalking; a tour of the facility; and what to expect in an average class session. Once you sign some liability paperwork, you’ll be ready for your first shift.