Volunteer Opportunities

Saddle Up! could not operate without the dedicated help of an army of volunteers from our community. There are numerous positions that require a wide variety of talents. There are lots of opportunities in the riding programs, in the care of our horses, in special events, office activities, and fundraising for you to use your skills and make a difference in the lives of our children and their families. The areas marked with (*) will require prior experience or training that is provided for you.

If you are interested in volunteering at Saddle Up!, the way to begin is to attend our training session for new volunteers. All Volunteers must attend a New Volunteer Training session before beginning participation in any of the below listed opportunities. The dates and times for training sessions are listed on the website Calendar and everyone must pre-register so we can plan for the group size. Training session group sizes are limited.

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.

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.

To register for a training session, contact Volunteer Services Director Kim Kline (kkline@saddleupnashville.org) at 615-794-1150, ext. 230.

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Leaders

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 equipment 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 typically are volunteers over the age of 16 and should be very comfortable handling horses. Training required includes the New Volunteer Training and the Leader Training class.


Sidewalkers

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, so Sidewalkers are assigned based on what each rider needs. Some riders have none, 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.


Hippotherapy Supporters

Saddle Up! offers Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy sessions using the walking motion of a horse – it’s called Hippotherapy. 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.


Feeders

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.


Stable Hands

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.


Pony Pals

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 pre-requisite 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.


Roustabouts

Roustabouts are folks who like to do a variety of farm chores. Projects may be painting, building maintenance, mowing, fence repairs, landscaping, etc. Corporate, school, scout, or church groups can arrange to come in for service projects that require many hands on a one-time basis. An interested group should contact Kim Kline, Volunteer Services Director, to schedule a group service project.


Paper Jockeys

We have filing, data entry, phone calling, etc. that need to be completed to keep the organization running. We can use your office skills in several areas. Hours will vary and can be flexible around your schedule.


Publicity and Communication Support

Saddle Up! needs volunteers with skills or contacts in this area to ensure that communication, public relations and community outreach reflect our mission and goals. Areas to be addressed by these volunteers may include newsletters, other written communication materials, and help with community outreach activities.


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.


How do I get involved?

If you would like to volunteer for any of these areas, please contact our Volunteer Services Director.

Contact Us

Saddle Up!
1549 Old Hillsboro Road
Franklin, TN 37069-9136
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615-794-1150
FAX: 615-794-7973

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© 2018 Saddle Up!. All rights reserved.

Program Hours

Monday - Thursday 9am - 7pm
Friday 9am - 5pm
Saturday 8am - 4pm
Please contact us during these hours for assistance. We are closed Sundays & major holidays, except for special events.

If you have questions or would like more information about our program, please don't hesitate to contact us.

About Us

Saddle Up! is the region’s oldest and largest recreational therapeutic riding program, and it is the only one exclusively serving children and youth with disabilities.

Saddle Up!’s mission is to provide children and youth with disabilities the opportunity to grow and develop through therapeutic, educational and recreational activities with horses.