Volunteer Selection For Horse and Rider

There are a few things to keep in mind when pairing your volunteers with your riders. I just added this information to the handouts I go over with our Instructors in Training about volunteer management, which includes the Volunteer Management and Addressing Volunteers posts.



  • For choosing Leaders:
    • Has enough horse experience to lead a particular horse
    • Their ability to read how much assistance a rider needs
    • Height – a small leader may have difficulty leading a big horse, or a tall leader leading a short horse
  • For choosing Sidewalkers:
    • Their experience
    • Their ability to read how much assistance a rider needs
    • Height – a small sidewalker with a tall horse will have a hard time doing a thigh hold
    • Size/Stamina – a heavy or older sidewalker may have trouble keeping up with lots of trotting, a small sidewalker may have trouble supporting heavy riders who wear a vest
    • Ability – someone with a hurt shoulder may only be able to sidewalk on one side, or may not be able to emergency dismount a rider if needed
    • Gender – some riders do better or are distracted more by a certain gender
    • Number – some riders do better with less or more sidewalkers
    • Chattiness – some sidewalkers talk and support the rider more than needed or not enough

The longer you teach the better you will learn your sidewalkers and how to pair them. Ideally you will always have the best matches available, but if not, make do with who you have (as long as it’s safe) and give them the support needed.

Happy teaching! (And for many of you, stay warm!)


Note: This is not professional advice, this is a blog. I am not liable for what you do with or how you use this information. The activities explained in this blog may not be fit for every rider, riding instructor, or riding center depending on their current condition and resources. Use your best personal judgment!


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