Every self-respecting riding facility has its entourage of dedicated volunteers and helpers and Seaton Hackney is no exception. Only in our case we do it a little bit differently: Our volunteers earn valuable $H$ Barn Bucks which, in turn, they apply towards their riding at the Barn! These “Barn Bucks” go a long way towards financing our volunteers activities, especially during these times of stressed budgets.
Our Barn Rats (11yr-13yr old) and Barn Cats (14yr and above) work in various 3-hour shifts on weekdays or weekends and help with the barn routine: Feeding, grooming, cleaning, tacking up and turning out the horses, operating Birthday Parties and PEP sessions, helping with Beginner Troop, rear-filing or walking trail rides and just about whatever needs to be done; even sometimes with outside functions such as Pony Rides, Girl Scout Badges, Special Needs Programs and Mobile Show Team activities.
What does it take to become a “Barn Rat” or a “Barn Cat”? Well, first and foremost a great attitude, a fondness for the horse and a perfect understanding of the safety issues involved with the animals. To that effect, SHS offers multiple Horsemanship Badges and some of them are required (and free) for our Volunteers: Safety Badge, Tacking up and Bridling, Grooming 101, Basic Anatomy and Body Language and, of course, our Pony Attendant Badge that includes the proper way to provide not just pony rides but also cart rides.
How many volunteers do we have so far? Well, let’s just say: “A lot”. You will recognize them by the Volunteer Visor they are wearing and by their eagerness to help. You will also notice how the tidiness of their room, at home, improves after they start volunteering at Seaton Hackney :).
So next time you visit the Barn, show them your appreciation with a great smile and a pat on the back. They are very important to us all and we could not do things as well without their input!