Volunteer Opportunities


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 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.


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.


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.

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

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.

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


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

  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

COVID Protocol for Fall 2021

MASK UPDATE effective August 18, 2021:

Dear Saddle Up! Community,
Due to the rapidly rising number of cases of the COVID variant in our community, Saddle Up! is taking additional steps for the safety of our riders, volunteers, families and staff. Effective tomorrow, Wednesday, August 18, we will return to mask wearing for staff and volunteers, even if vaccinated. This will be especially important when two or more people are meeting together anywhere in the office area and anytime that social distancing isn’t possible. We will continue to allow parents to observe lessons from the lobby area but mask wearing and social distancing will be very important and we ask that everyone wash your hands and use hand sanitizer when coming into the lobby or office area. Common areas are once again being sanitized twice each day. At this time, masks will still remain optional for our participants.

If you are working in the barn or out on the property and are alone or safely distanced from others (8 or more feet at all times), you can drop your mask. Please have a mask handy at all times.

If you (or your child) are having any symptoms we ask that you exercise an abundance of caution and stay home. Please note that if you (or your child) are in a quarantine situation because of possible exposure you must also quarantine from Saddle Up! work or activities.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask Lindsey, Sarah, Sally or Audrey.

Lindsey Wood
Program Operations Director
(615) 794-1150 x240

MASK UPDATE effective August 16, 2021:

• Masks will be OPTIONAL for Saddle Up! program participants.
• Masks will be OPTIONAL for staff and volunteers who are fully vaccinated. Staff and volunteers who are vaccinated are required to submit a proof of vaccination to their supervisor or to Sally Stonage if they would like to be able to wear a mask with less frequency. If you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, you may submit your proof of vaccination via the following options:
1. Click this link to go directly to the Proof of COVID Vaccination form to submit your proof of vaccination: https://www.tfaforms.com/4921888
2. Under the “Volunteer Forms” section below, click on the “Proof of COVID Vaccination Form” button, and you will be taken to the form to submit your proof of vaccination.
If you choose to submit your vaccination information, masks will be optional EXCEPT in crowded areas (lobby, tack room, laundry room, etc.) or if your program participant requests that you continue to wear a mask. By submitting your vaccination card, you agree that your vaccination status will be shown publicly on the posted program schedules around the barn.
• Participants at an increased risk for infectious diseases will be allowed to ask that their staff and volunteers to wear a mask.
• Staff and volunteers who are not vaccinated MUST wear a mask during programs.
• Masks will be REQUIRED in the lobby, tack room, and other crowded areas for ALL, regardless of vaccination status.
• 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.
• Participants MUST NOT present significant behaviors that may become a health and/or safety issue, such as grabbing masks or faces, spitting/drooling, excessive touching of things, elopement, etc.
• The lobby will be open for families to observe their child in programs, however, masks will be REQUIRED in the lobby for those 3 years of age and older.
• ALL programs will return to grooming and tacking. This means that all programs will now operate at their pre-pandemic scheduled times. For example, Adaptive Riding lessons will be increase to 1 hour for group lessons.
• Staff and volunteers will continue increased cleaning and sanitizing.
• If you or anyone in your household develops symptoms and/or receives a COVID-19 diagnosis and you were at Saddle Up! within 14 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,
• 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

Volunteer Forms

Volunteer Manual

Volunteer Calendar

Saddle Up!

1549 Old Hillsboro Road
Franklin, TN 37069-9136

Program Hours

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