Volunteering at Naples Therapeutic Riding Center is a great and easy way to improve lives of children and adults with special needs through therapeutic riding.

Therapeutic riding is an equine-assisted activity for the purpose of contributing positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of individuals with special needs.

Students can start volunteering at any time by going online to start the training process.

“Our volunteer age starts at age 14 and they go through a training process and they come out and volunteer either as side walker or leaders,” program director Kristin Carolan said. “A side walker is almost a training wheel for a horse so you are making sure the rider stays safe, and a leader is someone who is leading a horse during the program.”

Some students have chosen to volunteer at Naples Therapeutic Riding Center because of the many benefits the program has to offer, and the different activities available while volunteering.

“I muck the stalls, side walk with the horses, and take the horses out to the grazing field,” sophomore Lauren Butrum said. “I love horses and I think it’s amazing because it benefits so many people.”

The volunteer shifts are 30 to 35 minutes per lesson at Naples Therapeutic Riding Center. Students would then attend an orientation and then a side-walker training.

The volunteer process can be started by going to www.ntrc.org and clicking I want to volunteer. Students just need to go through the training process and be at least 14 years old.