Volunteer Opportunities

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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.

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

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 On-Site New Volunteer Training before becoming a Saddle Up! Volunteer.

For the first hour, we will meet in the Saddle Up! training room to review fun facts about Saddle Up!, volunteer opportunities, and what to expect as a volunteer. The last 2 hours will be your hands on training in our arena with the herd and a “mock” student.

Please provide your age if you are under 18. Saddle Up! requires all volunteers to be at least 12 years old. All volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent at all times while participating in a volunteer activity. Volunteers must be at least 16 to volunteer in lessons. The volunteer opportunities open to ages 12-15 include Feeders and Stable Hands. Current openings for these volunteer spots are subject to present needs and availability.

On-Site at Saddle Up! New Volunteer Training (3 hours)

3/5 Tuesday 5:00p – 8:00p

3/23 Saturday 3:00p – 6:00p

4/9 Tuesday 5:00p – 8:00p

4/30 Tuesday 5:00p – 8:00p

5/11 Saturday 3:00p – 6:00p

5/21 Tuesday 5:00p – 8:00p

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

Volunteer Requirements and Opportunities

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. Volunteers must be able to communicate with our Instructors and participants to support lesson goals and ensure the safety of the participant. Feeder and Stable Hand volunteers must be able to lift 50 lbs.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Being a feeder requires Leader Training and Feeder Training, in addition to New Volunteer Training. Prior horse experience is required

Stable Hands help take care of barn chores. Stable Hands report to the Barn Manager. They also ensure that stalls are cleaned each day. 

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

In addition to New Volunteer Training, Stable Hands must complete Stable Hand Training, provided by the Barn Manager. Prior horse experience is helpful.

Farm Hands help out with other chores and projects around the farm. Farm Hands report to the Property Director. If you have special skills (e.g. prior experience as an electrician, carpenter, with HVAC, welding, lawn care, etc.), this is the volunteer opportunity for you!

In addition to New Volunteer Training, Farm Hands must complete Stable Hand Training and Farm Hand Training to review relevant information about tools/machinery in use at Saddle Up!. The minimum age to be a Farm Hand is 16. Prior horse experience is helpful.

A Pony Pal must complete New Volunteer Training, Leader Training, and pass a riding evaluation by the Equine Operations Director. Prior horse experience is essential, as a Pony Pal’s skill level must be at or above the level of the horse’s training. A Pony Pal must:

• Have already been volunteering in at least one lesson per week as a leader or sidewalker for at least 3 months prior to applying to be a Pony Pal
• Fill out a Pony Pal application and have prior riding experience
• Upon becoming a Pony Pal, you must be able to commit to a weekly Pony Pal schedule for a duration of at least 3 months, including continuing to volunteer as a leader or sidewalker in at least one lesson per week.
• Must follow a conditioning plan provided by the Equine Operations Director and provide conditioning notes
• If you are not able to attend your scheduled slot, you must let the Equine Operations Director know ASAP.

It is beneficial for the horse, and in turn for our riders, to have people assigned to each horse that can deliver consistent attention and conditioning. Each Pony Pal must follow the Conditioning Plan provided by the Saddle Up! Equine Operations Director, as well as the organization’s Rules and Best Practice procedures for handling the Saddle Up! horses. You will report directly to the Equine Operations Director about your horse’s progress and needs. You must be able to make a weekly commitment to your assigned horse and take good, detailed notes.

New volunteer training and rider skill assessment required.

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



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

  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.

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.


Saddle Up! staff continue to work hard to ensure we can offer safe and effective programming. Below are the details about how we plan to operate our spring session.  Saddle Up! encourages all staff, participants, and volunteers to be vaccinated. We continue to monitor local, state, and federal sources and will adjust as necessary to ensure we are following best practices to keep our participants, families, volunteers, and staff safe.

• Saddle Up! encourages social distancing for ALL in the Saddle Up! lobby, classroom, and tack room.
• ANYONE on site at Saddle Up! is attesting that they DO NOT have any symptoms of a contagious illness.  Symptoms may include but are not limited to: fever, cough, chills, congestion, sore throat, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.  Anyone on site that starts exhibiting symptoms will be asked to leave immediately.
• If you or anyone in your household develops symptoms and/or receives a COVID-19 diagnosis and you were at Saddle Up! within 10 days of symptoms or diagnosis, you must contact Saddle Up! immediately to notify staff so we can start contract tracing and notification of those potentially exposed.
• Saddle Up! follows the CDC guidelines for quarantine and isolation.  Here is the link to their website for more information, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html

• Staff members have the authority to ask anyone who is not following proper protocols to leave immediately. No negotiations, no exceptions.
• If you have any questions about COVID-19 protocols, symptoms, or diagnosis please contact Lindsey Wood at (615) 794-1150 x240 or lwood@saddleupnashville.org

Volunteer Milestone Awards

A sincere THANK YOU to these generous volunteers for giving so much of their time to support Saddle Up! programs. We could not do it without you!

500 Hours

1,000 Hours

1,500 Hours

2,000+ Hours

Emily Burn

Adrienne Chase

MaryBeth Chawan

Starr Ellen Cruise

Marshall Eakin

Jill Franks

Kiva Stack O’Keefe

Katie Harris

Bart Harrison

Tedd Kidd

Marcia King

Karen Lyons

Barbara Martin

Marge Naughton

Jayne OMera

Alicia Pack

Robin Phillips

Laura Saul

Steve Stamps

Paul Tampien

Susan Wade

Kristy Williams

Trent Wilson

Bob Zeidner

Susan Batson

Sarah Chenevert

Michelle Gonzales

Marcia Hoover

Monika Junefelt

Kim Kline

Melissa Wallace

Leigh Barnes

Rachel Brenner

Daryn Edwards

Teresa Barry

Michelle Beatty-Eakin

Marty Foy

Leslie Gillis

Tina Mann

Dana Marshall

Christine McCann

Marilyn Murray


Saddle Up!

1549 Old Hillsboro Road
Franklin, TN 37069-9136

Program Hours

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