The HARTH Foundation, a nonprofit that offers equine therapy to adults and children, is seeking volunteers to help lead horses during sessions, particularly those involving special-needs youth.
“Our therapeutic riding program is great, but we need more horse handlers,” said Melissa O’Shields, a HARTH Foundation director. “We always need volunteers for helping with barn chores and other things around the stables, but this is a very specific need.”
During a therapeutic equine class, the instructor and the child’s parents walk alongside the horse to help balance the student. The instructor, Jereny Johnson, also leads the lessons.
HARTH will train volunteers in the role, but “they need to be familiar with and comfortable around horses,” O’Shields said.
Sherry Atherton began the HARTH Foundation to give veterans, active military members, and their families opportunities to relax, work through service-related issues, and reap the benefits of equine therapy. The foundation then expanded its services to children and adults with special needs, physical issues, and mental struggles such as depression.
Located at 3307 Sunset Cliff Road in the Council Creek community on Lake Buchanan, the HARTH Foundation offers lessons Wednesday through Sunday. Volunteers can choose when they assist.
“Volunteering to lead horses during the lessons, it’s a great opportunity to help all the children succeed,” O’Shields said. “It’s a chance to help change lives.”
Call Johnson at 830-613-7550 to volunteer or for more information. Visit the HARTH Foundation website for more information on its programs as well as other ways to support its mission.