Volunteer Opportunities

grace and scooter

Saddle Up! could not operate without the dedicated help of an army of volunteers from our community. There are numerous volunteer opportunities that require a wide variety of talents. Saddle Up! needs volunteers for our various riding programs, care of our horses, special events, and fund raising. Your volunteer time will make a difference in the lives of our children and their families. The opportunities marked with (*) will require additional training.

Grace Faith Bailey

Our riders and horses have the best outcomes when consistent volunteers commit to one lesson per week for the same rider for a sixteen week session of lessons. Saddle Up! gives scheduling preference to long term volunteers who can meet this commitment.

New Volunteers

Leigh and Baron

If you are interested in volunteering at Saddle Up!, the way to begin is to attend our training sessions for new volunteers. All volunteers are required to attend a virtual Microsoft Teams training, and Onsite New Volunteer Training before becoming a Saddle Up! Volunteer.

To register for a training session, contact Volunteer Services Director Sally Stonage.

Volunteer Requirements and Opportunities

Volunteer Requirements

Saddle Up! requires all volunteers to be at least 12 years old. With our limited staff, it is impossible for us to directly oversee the activities of all volunteers at all times. Therefore, we require all Junior volunteers under 16 years old to be accompanied by a parent at all times while participating in a volunteer activity.

Volunteering safely in our riding programs and the barn requires physical strength and endurance, balance, ability to make mature and quick decisions, ability to bend, twist, lift, hear, and run on uneven surfaces.

If you are a current rider at our facility, you are not eligible to volunteer.

Our riders and horses have the best outcomes when consistent volunteers commit to one lesson per week for the same rider for a sixteen week session of lessons. Saddle Up! gives scheduling preference to long term volunteers who can meet this commitment.

Sidewalker

The primary responsibility of a Sidewalker is to ensure the safety of the rider. It’s also the volunteer role that is the most interactive with our special children. Saddle Up! tries to provide as independent an experience as possible for each rider. Sidewalkers are assigned based on what each rider needs. Some riders have no sidewalker, most riders have one and a few riders need two. This role includes helping the rider get their horse ready, get on the horse, and learn to ride. Sidewalkers must be at least 16 years old and able to walk briskly beside a horse for an average of 30 minutes.

New volunteer training required.

Therapy Service Supporter

Saddle Up! offers weekly physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech-language therapy appointments using the equine movement of a horse as part of the treatment therapy. Each session uses a volunteer as a Supporter who walks next to the horse on the opposite side from the Therapist during the mounted portion of the session. Supporters must be at least 16 years old and able to walk briskly beside a horse for an average of 30 minutes.

New volunteer training required.

*Leader

Leaders are the volunteers who are assigned a horse in a riding lesson. They need to arrive ahead of time and make sure to have the horse and its tack ready. They are responsible for the horse throughout the lesson and should make sure the horse and equipment are put away before leaving. Leaders must be able to walk at a fast pace for 30 minutes and jog intermittently during the lesson. Leaders must be at least 16 years old, have previous horse experience, and should be very comfortable handling horses. Training required includes the New Volunteer Training and the Leader Training class.

*Feeder

Our horses are fed each morning and each evening by a team of trained volunteers. Feeders should be able to make a weekly commitment to their shift. Feeder duties include feeding the herd according to the prescribed diet and methods, moving horses from pasture to barn or vice versa as needed, cleaning stalls and other barn areas, checking all waterers and troughs, putting on or removing blankets or fly masks.

A volunteer Feeder must be at least 12 years old. Volunteer Feeders under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult that is either volunteering feeding or in lessons.

New volunteer training and feeder training required.

*Stable Hand

Stable hands take care of the barn chores whenever Saddle Up! is open for programs. Duties include basic equine care, cleaning stalls, cleaning tack, facility chores and maintenance depending on what needs to be done that day.

A Stable Hand must be at least 12 years old. Volunteer Stable Hands under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult that is either volunteering as a Stable Hand or in lessons.

New volunteer training and stable hand training required.

*Pony Pal

Over time, the Saddle Up! herd has benefited from having volunteers assigned to each horse who can deliver consistent attention and training. Pony Pals can help by Pampering, Ground Training, or Conditioning one of the Saddle Up! herd. You must be able to make a weekly commitment to your assigned horse and the prerequisite is at least 3 months of consistent volunteer activity in other capacities before applying to be a Pony Pal. Prior horse experience is essential as a Pony Pal’s skill level must be at or above the level of the horse’s training.

New volunteer training and rider skill assessment required.

Fundraising Support

The Development Director needs volunteers with skills and knowledge in the areas of planning and coordinating fundraising efforts that will expand the donor base and generate funds needed to ensure the future of our program.

Current Volunteers

Ginny and Chip

Logging Volunteer Hours

No more Volunteer Timecards. Volunteer Hours will now be entered electronically. Reminder it is important for you to log your hours by date, by hour, by activity.

How to Submit Volunteer Hours

  1. LOG VOLUNTEER HOURS
  2. To fill out form you will need to click on each box to fill in. * Required denotes required fields that must be filled out before you submit your form.

Fields Required

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Date you volunteered (only 1 date of volunteering is allowed per form)
  • Volunteer Activity #1. This is a drop down box that you need to click on your activity. (ex. Leader)
  • Volunteer Hours #1. This is a drop down box that you need to click on your hours volunteered (ex. 2 hours = 2.0)
  • Additional Activity/Hours fields are available if you volunteer for more than 1 activity in the same day. (Ex Volunteer Activity #2, Volunteer Hours #2)

Once finished click SUBMIT.

Notify SU! Of Any Absence

If you are going to miss a lesson, please email us at attendance@saddleupnashville.org with the participant’s first and last name and date and time of absence. You will receive a confirmation of receipt by email. If it is less than 2 hours’ notice from the program time you MUST also CALL the lesson hotline at (615) 794-1150 x 290 and leave a message.

Volunteer Announcements

Volunteer Forms

Volunteer Manual

Saddle Up!

1549 Old Hillsboro Road
Franklin, TN 37069-9136
info@saddleupnashville.org

Program Hours

Monday – Thursday 9am – 7pm
Friday 9am – 5pm
Saturday 8am – 4pm