Throughout the course of each week we benefit from the kindness and giving spirit of many volunteers at Hearts and Hooves. Individuals of all ages — from retired citizens to today’s youth come together to share their skills and devotion to better the lives of the challenged members of their community. Some work on Hearts and Hooves projects from their homes, some prefer tackling those larger special renovation projects at the center, and still others enjoy assisting our special needs riders during their therapy sessions and working with the horses.
There are many different reasons these individuals choose to come to Hearts and Hooves, but there is always a common factor that is found- The DESIRE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE in another’s life.
We rely on our volunteers to assist our participants during the therapeutic riding sessions in a team approach. It is the guidance, safety and encouragement a volunteer provides that enhances the Therapeutic Riding lesson. With their help disabilities are challenged and new abilities are created.
We ask for a minimum time commitment of about 2 hours. We can happily accommodate more hours, and/or more opportunities if you wish. You can choose a day and time that best fits your schedule.
If you would like to take the next step toward becoming a part of Hearts & Hooves please contact us at
(704) 478-8230 ext. 6410 or you can call / text our Volunteer Coordinator at (803) 605-2931
*You must be at least 18 years old to work with our participants.
(A background check must be ran prior to directly working with our participants.)
All volunteers must be able to demonstrate the willingness and ability to follow directions effectively. As well as demonstrate the willingness and ability to follow all safety rules. We also need our volunteers to have the ability to complete given tasks independently,
treat all riders, volunteers, staff and animals with dignity and respect.
Volunteer opportunities NOT involving therapeutic riding lessons and care of the horses directly do not require attendance at our 2 hour volunteer training, but you must attend our orientation and task specific training.
Click on the link below to fill out an application;
Volunteer Positions in the Arena
Near-side side walker- You are the lead side walker and the one who communicates to the participant by reinforcing instructions from the instructor. You will perform any emergency dismounts, if necessary, on the left side (near side) of equine unless situation presents itself for emergency dismount to be on the right (off-side). If there is only one side walker needed, you may be instructed to side walk on the right side (off-side) of the equine.
Off-side side walker- You are here as part of the support team and safety of the rider. There is no talking during lessons. Participants may get confused with too many people giving instructions and become over stimulated or confused. You will be walking on the right side (off-side) of the equine.
Horse handler/leader (often the horse owner/hauler). Responsibilities include grooming, watering/feeding, and tacking up the equines. You will inspect the designated tack assigned for any wear or issues prior to each riding session and before they are placed on or used with the equine. You’re responsible for the behavior and control of the equine. There will be no talking to the mounted participant. (This is only an exception if working with unmounted equines.)
Arena assistant/gate opener. You are to help with arena safety. This includes a riding arena safety inspection BEFORE each session. You will be helping set up the arena for each session. You are responsible for gates during mounting procedures. You will need to get gates open and closed calmly, quickly and safely. You are responsible for safely and immediately picking up any manure deposited in arena. Muck fork and manure cart are to be used to collect manure in the arena.
Non-Horsey Volunteer Opportunities
Please contact our program if you are interested in any of these areas.
Fundraising/Special Events: Interested individuals are welcome to join the Fundraising Committee and help the program to meet financial needs. The Fundraising Committee plans and executes the events done each year to raise money by contacting clubs that are interested in offering financial assistance, getting donations, contacting vendors and so on. Fundraisers are held several times throughout each year so time commitment will vary.
Office/Computer Help: We can use help in the office with filing, thank you notes, brochures, etc. Please contact our program if you are interested. We would need help once or twice a month for an hour or two. Availability is flexible but must be arranged at a time or day that our Instructor or Board member is able to be present.
Public Relations/Marketing: Work to obtain more media coverage so Hearts and Hooves can have higher community awareness. Help to update the website and periodically take pictures of new horses or special events. Please contact our program if you're interested in helping here. Each of these duties MUST be pre-approved and authorized.
Arena/Facility: Please contact our program if you are interested in helping with this. Hearts and Hooves would not look as amazing as it does without the help of our “handy” volunteers to do repairs and upkeep our facility and trail. Occasionally, volunteers will also be needed to help clean our arena and facilities. Days and times are flexible and you would be notified in advance when we schedule these.