Nefra - Volunteer
“I had a tough time as a child, and ponies became a very important part of my life. I’d been following Ride High on Instagram for a while as the work they do really resonated with me because of my own experiences.When I saw they were looking for volunteers I just had to apply.
I really enjoy leading the ponies during the children’s riding lessons and seeing how much the children progress each week. Helping them on the yard as they learn how to care for a pony is great too – mucking out sessions are always fun!
They leave each session having learned and achieved something new, whether they realise it or not, and I feel privileged to be able to watch them progress over their time with the charity.
Seeing the children's confidence around the ponies and in themselves grow and knowing that you've helped them get there is really rewarding. Sometimes they arrive really nervous and don’t want to get too close, but 10 minutes later, after a bit of encouragement and reassurance, they're asking which brush they need for a pony's tail or want to know when they'll learn to jump! Ride High is an experience that they will never forget – and nor will I!”
Diana - Volunteer
“When we lived in Glasgow (many years ago!) I used to help at Riding for the Disabled and I loved it. When I discovered that Ride High were looking for volunteers, I thought that I would enjoy that too and that it would be the perfect opportunity to give back to the community. I have always loved horses and combining being with horses and doing something of value is perfect for me!
Each week I lead the ponies while the children ride and in doing so help to ensure their safety. I give them lots of encouragement and build a relationship with them. I am certain that attending Ride High has a huge impact on the children. They go from being really quite nervous to thoroughly enjoying themselves. As their riding improves, they develop confidence, they communicate more and more, and they clearly love it.
It is tremendously rewarding watching how the children enjoy coming to Ride High and how they develop over the weeks and months… and it’s great for me too as I’m able to do something useful. The team also make me feel so valued. Ride High, like all charities is reliant on volunteers so I’d encourage anyone who wants to make a difference to join us!”
Sue - 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.
Sean - 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."