Frequently Asked Questions
Therapeutic riding uses equine-oriented activities for the purpose of contributing positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of people with disabilities. Physically, it’s the horse’s movement that has a dynamic effect on the rider’s body. The horse stimulates the rider’s pelvis and trunk in a manner that closely resembles a human’s normal gait. This movement can produce specific physical changes in the rider: improvement in posture and balance, increased strength, and normalized muscle tone. Sensorially, the movement of the horse can help with a variety of sensory integration issues. A smooth-gaited, consistently paced horse provides needed input to help a rider establish rhythm. A rough-gaited horse may provide a rider with the stimulation to help organize and integrate sensory input. Movement exploration while on the horse helps improve overall body awareness. Emotionally, the success of overcoming fear and anxiety, and the ability to achieve a riding skill helps a rider to realize self-worth and increase self-esteem. The relationships that develop between riders, volunteers, horses, and staff are integral to the positive emotional experience at Lovelane. Cognitively, the horse provides many riders with the motivation to learn new things. Educational goals such as letter recognition and sequencing can be incorporated into riding activities. Socially, therapeutic riding enables individuals to interact with instructors, volunteers and their peers in a group activity. Riding and the related games and exercises can be both fun and challenging.
The minimum age to volunteer in lessons is 16. Volunteers under the age of 18 must have the written consent of a parent or guardian before volunteering at Lovelane.
Lead horses during lessons, sidewalk alongside riders during lessons, barn chores, unmounted programs and events.
A horse leader is responsible for leading and managing the horse during the lesson, which includes leading the horse during mounting, dismounting and the lesson. The horse leader is responsible for tacking and untacking the horse, with the guidance of a staff member.
A sidewalker is the volunteer that walks alongside the horse while the student is riding. The sidewalker is responsible for helping to keep the student safe and help the child achieve his/her goals. This sometimes will involve a safety hold of the student for an entire lesson. A sidewalker must be able to jog alongside the horse.
Lovelane strongly prefers volunteers with 3+ years of consistent horse experience. We train all our volunteers, regardless of their experience. Volunteers do not need experience working with children's with disabilities.
Yes, we are required by Massachusetts state law to submit a Criminal Offender Record Information CORI (background) check on all volunteers and staff on property.
New volunteers will need to complete the online volunteer application. Lovelane will also require a copy of your COVID vaccination card and a valid ID.
Yes, all volunteers will be trained regardless of experience. This is to ensure consistent handling of our horses. Horse leaders will require additional one-on-one training.
Lovelane lessons operate by semester. Whether you are a weekly volunteer or on our fill-in list, we ask that you commit to at least one semester. As a volunteer you would be asked to come once a week for three hours. Our semester dates are as follows: Fall: September 1st – January 31st of the following year. Spring: February 1st – June 30th. Summer: July 1st – August 31st. We ask that weekly volunteers not miss more than 3 shifts during the 19 week semester. Summer volunteer schedules offer greater flexibility.
Yes, we are open 7 days a week.
Yes, we have barn volunteer opportunities for individuals who have previous horse experience. Barn volunteers assist the Barn Manager with chores, such as mucking stalls, sweeping the aisle and cleaning and filling water buckets. Barn volunteers with horse experience can help tack horses for lessons, as well.
Yes, we welcome volunteer groups from companies. Typically we can only accommodate a small group (4-6 people) a few times a year. During your visit you will receive a tour of the facility, information on Lovelane and instruction from staff or volunteers on the way you can help Lovelane during your visit. For ideas on how your company can support Lovelane please contact Lisa Williams at Lisa@lovelane.org or 781-259-1177 x26.