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Help horses by volunteering at an equine charity

Find out how to get involved during National Volunteer Week.

By Leslie Potter | April 14, 2011

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Therapeutic Riding
Therapeutic Riding by Fort George G. Meade Public Affairs Office on Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Americans are encouraged to get involved in charitable causes during National Volunteer Week in April. There are plenty of ways horse lovers can combine their passion for horses with volunteer service.

Why Volunteer?

  • A donation of time. Most average Americans don't have the financial resources to write a big check to their favorite charities. Giving your time and talent is just as valuable and won't take a chunk out of your bank account.
  • Local focus. Volunteering for a local charity helps the people and animals in your own neighborhood. Donating a few hours a week can help make your community a better place to live.
  • Spend time with horses. If you don't have your own horse, volunteering at an equine organization gives you some quality barn time with lots of equines.
  • Make friends. Working with other people for a common cause allows you to network and meet people who share your interests.
  • Build your resume. Volunteering can help you build a variety of skills that can help you in the future, especially if you are a student or are looking to make a career change.
  • Do it for your health. Studies have suggested that people who volunteer are physically healthier and less likely to suffer from depression.

Volunteer Opportunities with Horses


Many equine rescues are in need of knowledgeable help to care for their residents. Volunteers are needed to assist with daily care and farm chores, and in some cases experienced volunteers may be asked to help ride or do groundwork with horses that need retraining before they can be adopted. Volunteers are often needed to help with administrative work and fundraisers as well. Click here for a list of equine rescues in North America.

Equine facilitated therapy centers use horses to help children and adults with physical or mental disabilities. These organizations depend on volunteers to help care for the horses and to assist in lessons and therapy sessions. You may be asked to lead a horse or walk alongside riders during their lessons. Find a certified center at

Racehorse retirement and retraining facilities need experienced help working with Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds as they transition to life after racing. If you are experienced with ex-racehorses, you may be able to help with training. If not, you may be able to gain some experience while volunteering to do stable chores or administrative work.

Other organizations that need horse-loving volunteers include educational programs and wilderness preservation groups. To find volunteer opportunities in your area, visit

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Reader Comments

Jeannie    Carson city, NV

4/9/2014 8:24:25 PM

Kids & horses, therapeutic riding center, minden, nv. Working with wonderful people since 2001.

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

4/20/2012 11:09:35 PM

Sounds great. And if there are no charities in your area, try helping out a neighbour who needs a hand!

Kygal    rural, KY

4/20/2012 7:14:43 PM

Its a great idea but not any places like those mentioned in my area

sandi    clinton, WI

4/20/2012 7:57:56 AM

The few hours I spend at SMILES {} in Darien,Wisconsin is so rewarding I can't believe all the feel good moments shared with the chidren, horses,staff and other volunteers. If there's something missing in your life finding just a little time in your day to give back in some way is priceless and it truly doesn't cost a thing.Enjoy the journey.

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