Volunteering

Keeping a group like Barrow Farm running so successfully involves a lot of help – our volunteers are a valuable part of the Barrow Farm team.

If you are you looking for a rewarding and fun way to make a difference and keep fit, helping out at Barrow Farm could be just the thing.

We welcome volunteers from 13 years upwards. Our volunteers come from many different sections of the community, teenagers with an interest in horses or wanting to work towards their Duke of Edinburgh awards, retirees looking for a new worthwhile pastime or office workers looking for some fresh air and exercise at the weekend and a way to make a difference and so many more.

Whatever your skills we can probably use them for as little or as much time as you can give.

  • To help on our rides, no previous experience with horses or knowledge of disabilities is necessary
  • Or can you fill another gap – helping us to maintain our premises, or assisting with our administration

In return you will receive training and join a successful team, have the opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills and enjoy a sense of fulfilment.

You will be asked to complete an enrolment form and complete a Criminal Record Check.

Please get in touch – we would love to talk to you and see what we can do for each other.

Helpers drinking tea in the garden

So what does the role of volunteer helping on a riding session involve?

Gill says of her volunteering experience at Barrow Farm “when a rider you have been helping achieves something they have worked so hard for – it’s such a feel good factor.”

 

You will be part of a team involving the rider, the horse and the coach. You may be leading the horse or sidewalking next to the rider.

Leading the horse involves following instructions from the coach and keeping the rider safe by keeping a safe distance from other ponies and helping manoeuvre the pony carefully, while allowing the rider to practise and develop their skills.

Side walking involves communicating the coach’s instructions in a way that is understandable to the rider and help them to undertake the task. Encouraging and praising as required.

It can be a good way to keep fit and meet people and have some fun. All that is required is the ability to listen and learn and sufficient fitness to allow you to walk for an hour or two at a time and maybe jog short distances.

For all the forms you need to fill in before you start and lots of useful information please see the documents below.

Welcome to Barrow Farm letter
Application Form for Volunteers
Volunteer-Reference-Form
Volunteers Code of Conduct
Helpers Health & Safety Points

Helping with pony days

Reflections of a new volunteer

Martin started volunteering in September 2016 and 6 weeks later he wrote the following article for our newsletter:

I started volunteering at Barrow Farm in September and have found the whole experience very rewarding.

Each Monday morning finds me on the yard working with  Sally, Livvy and Taylor and a number of volunteers.  There is always plenty to do – feeding, mucking out, sweeping the yard, grooming and tacking up the ponies ready for the rides – the list goes on.  I have ridden and been around horses all my adult life so this is all familiar territory to me, and I was really pleased to see such a well-run yard, full of happy, well cared for ponies (and people!)

After a welcome tea break I move to the less familiar territory of helping on the rides – leading the      ponies and interacting with the riders to make sure that they understand what their coach is asking them to do, so that they get the most out of their ride. I need not have worried about any of this because the training and feedback given to me by Kath and Sally has been excellent.

In the short time I have been doing this I have built up a rapport with the riders I help and I get enormous pleasure from witnessing their progress.  The Barrow Farm website sums it up nicely – it is a rewarding and fun way to make a difference (and to keep fit).  I recommend it.

Martin leading on the ride