Giddy Up!

July 8, 2009

I would not have guessed on my being up at six a.m. on a Saturday morning, to frolic on a farm to volunteer. Not to mention that the night before ended up being a movie marathon at my house. I was, however, pulled out of bed by my curiosity to see whether the organization, Giddy Up, was offering free snacks and libations. So I drove the forty five minutes to the location and as soon as I saw the other volunteers and horses I forgot about my ulterior, gluttonous motives.
Giddy Up is an organization which presents patrons with disabilities, particularly children, with the ability to receive “horse therapy”. Through the feeding, grooming, and riding of horses participants are made to feel at ease and enjoy themselves. Volunteers are needed to help with clerical duties, upkeep the stables and yards, groom the horses and clean the stables, and direct participants on their rides.
As soon as I pulled up to the location I couldn’t help but smile at the bustle of activity that was already occurring. Volunteers checked in and got right to work cleaning the stables and preparing the horses for the day. I noticed that most volunteers knew where to go and what to do right off the bat. There was even a board outside the supply building which listed the horse and child pairings, what needed to be done, and what time the riding lesson was at. As a new volunteer being outgoing enough to introduce myself and ask for direction helped quite a bit. I found the site coordinator and introduced myself. Laurie was welcoming and very interested in my past experiences with children and horses. This questioning was reassuring to me, in that Laurie cared about who was volunteering at her site.
She set me up in a small room to watch a horse safety video. This orientation of sorts was concise and efficient; yet, if it’s your first time around horses another, more extended training would definitely be needed. Extended trainings such as these are offered at the site about once a month and provide a plethora of information. This is a great resource for all volunteers and speaks volumes about the programs desire to establish a long-term volunteer base.
The location itself was also welcoming and impressive. The small stable area and arena is nestled behind a home in a residential area. The stables felt like a home for the animals rather than an animal, dung den. The horses seemed happy, looked clean and were well fed. They were receptive to our presence and obedient to commands during the rides. The small building which holds saddles and feed is lined with pictures and newspaper clippings on Spirit Therapies that attest to the organization’s excellence in the community. The whole place was beautiful and very clean. Not to mention there were snacks and water, which is a huge plus in my book.

When I volunteer I not only want to complete tasks but I like the opportunity to work hands on with animals or children, meet other volunteers with similar interests, and share stories. Giddy Up! offers all of the above and does so in the great outdoors. I enjoyed my time with the horses, the snacks were great, and I’m looking forward to the next time I can spend a Saturday with Giddy Up!


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