Volunteerism in the Horse Industry
You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give--Winston Churchill
Nearly everyone trying to start a new business is swamped at some point in the process. There is never enough time…and surely, it would seem, not enough time to Volunteer for more. However, Volunteering is vital to the Horse Industry and finding a way to do it serves several important functions.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, a nearly three week extravaganza, is an enormous charity, having provided over 100 Million dollars in College Scholarships. The Rodeo operates annually with a Volunteer Corps of 25,000 people. These people give of their time promoting a great cause, serving the Horse Industry at large, and Networking with the true movers and shakers.
Volunteering connects you to the greater good of the Horse Industry. As in any business, you need a feeling of being connected to the greater business and the good works that are done.
Volunteering revitalizes people. You meet and work with new people and gain renewed energy for your own project. Everyone can get bogged down and we need our batteries recharged.
Fortunately, the Horse Industry is so diversified and year-round, that there are unlimited opportunities to Volunteer and use your talents. Horse Shows and County Fairs are superb places to start.
VOLUNTEERING FOR YOUTH: We each have a different set of talents, abilities and priorities. Youth Development and Introducing Young People to Horses is a most important function. This is the source of future Riders, Trainers, Breeders, and Horse Industry leaders.
See My BLOG: On Volunteering To The Horse
VOLUNTEERING FOR BREEDS: Protecting and conserving threatened Horse Breeds is another critical area of concern. Today, genetic studies of many kinds are being undertaken that have resulted in the identification of very low population breeds--several critically threatened. All horse lovers have a role to play in the preservation of these threatened breeds.
VOLUNTEERING FOR THERAPY: Equine Assisted Therapy is a new and growing field combining the disciplines of many fields: Psychology, Social Work, Special Needs and Disabilities, and Physical Therapy all converge to use horses to help people recover and grow. Volunteers are needed to assist in the use of horses and there are invaluable opportunities to help.
There is no better place to start than the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NAHRA). NAHRA, founded in 1969, has over 6,000 members, 800 Centers, and supports over 40,000 people per year.
Horse For Heroes is a NAHRA Program developed through the United States Veterans Administration to help disabled veterans work with horse therapy programs. Information is contained at the site on Volunteer Locations as well as Starting A Horses for Heroes Program.
VOLUNTEERING FOR RESCUE: Horse Rescue Operations exist everywhere. This work involves helping horses suffering from abuse, neglect, and abandonment and is among the noblest efforts of Volunteerism. For as much as the Horse has given us and continues to give us, we owe this to the Horse.
Horse Rescue groups and organizations exist nationally and internationally. It will not be difficult to find one that needs Volunteers.