Sue Willis - Volunteer
I have been volunteering at Ride High for nearly three years.
Recently retired, I had been looking for something that I could do to fit in with my other activities that seemed to be all about me! I was a teacher, and I have always enjoyed riding, so the idea of working with young people alongside horses seemed the ideal combination.
When I arrive at the centre, I meet the children's manager and the club leader of my group, Unicorn, and then go to meet the young people from the Ride High minibus. We support them in their riding session by helping them get ready, meeting their horses and then moving to the outdoor or indoor schools, leading them if necessary (although the riding schools staff are happy to do this if running is outside of our comfort zones!). The clubroom session after riding where we do activities while having snacks is equally supportive and often entertaining!
I've also really enjoyed joining in a few of the many activities provided outside the session: an IKEA sustainability tour, 'Behind the Scenes' at Cineworld MK, and a visit to Spirit of the Horse spectacular at Bath, where I was taught very patiently how to use my bluetooth headphones by a young member of the group!
The main highlights for me come at random moments when I see particular young people developing in confidence or altering their attititudes and behaviours in a more positive way.
I benefit personally by getting a real sense of achievement from the responses of the young people and the staff. The team could not be more welcome and friendly: there are lots of opportunities to take the volunteer role further. I'd encourage everyone to see if there is anything they could offer to support this great organisation; you don't have to know about horses as there are all sorts of jobs to be done that could help hugely.
Lisa Saunders - Volunteer
“I had been looking for a volunteering opportunity for my day off on a Friday and Ride High seemed perfect as it combined my love of horses and my desire to help people.
I have been around horses since a very young age so I really enjoy helping the children to find their confidence with them. I help the children in my group (Shadowfax) to get kitted out with hats and boots, to mount and dismount and lead the horses in the school. In the clubroom sessions we have a great time doing crafts or projects; we talk about the riding lesson and in doing so help to develop the children’s communication and social skills.
Every week brings about different highlights as the children achieve new skills and grow in confidence – for me to see them reach their goals is fantastic and so rewarding.
Volunteering at Ride High has definitely been a positive experience for me. Some of the children really struggle at first but over time it is clear that they benefit from the friendly and supportive environment at Ride High.
Helping at Ride High every week has definitely boosted my own confidence and general well-being and I would encourage anyone considering volunteering to just ‘go for it’! It is a marvellous organisation and I am very proud to be involved. Everyone is super friendly and there are many ways to help. I have even signed up as part of the Ride High relay team in the MK Marathon this year! Come and join us”!
Sean Phillips - Volunteer
"I help out every Tuesday evening with the Bullseye group. I enjoy helping out with clubroom activities the most; games, arts and crafts and team building exercises all help to increase the children's confidence. I've also had the pleasure of accompanying children on day trips including Badminton Horse Trials and Newsells Stud Farm.
The absolute best part of volunteering every week is that I get to witness and be part of the transformation the children make in their time at Ride High. To know I am helping vulnerable and disadvantaged children in my local community is extremely rewarding.
My involvement with Ride High has given me a whole new perspective on life and I always look forward to coming to the centre every week to see the children."