Volunteer F.A.Q.


  • How do I become a volunteer for ATRO?
    • Volunteer side walker training is done usually on a Saturday morning at least once per 6 week session. It is more frequent based on needs of the program. The training takes about 3 hours and allows new volunteers to come in the arena at class time and assist as side walkers.
  • How do I become a horse handler?
    • Horse handler training takes place after a period of time of volunteering as a side walker. Volunteers with no horse experience are encouraged to be a side walker volunteer until they feel confident being around horses. Others with horse experience may take the horse leader training when it is offered, usually once a 6 week session or more frequently as needed.
  • Are there other jobs that I can do as a volunteer that don’t involve being around riders with disabilities and/or horses?
    • There are many needs in our organization, with direct services being only one. Volunteers work with us throughout the year in fundraising, public relations, clerical and organization, and general clean up around the barn being only a few. We are always open to suggestions as to where you feel your talents are best utilized and encourage you to discuss this with us. Side walker training is just the beginning.
  • Why do I need to sign in and out?
    • ATRO keeps track of your volunteer hours so that we may recognize you and your contribution to the program at the annual volunteer appreciation day.

  • Are there fees involved?
    • No. There are currently no fees involved in participating with ATRO as a volunteer.
  • Can I ride the ATRO horses?
    • Our equine partners are working members of the team. They are ridden as needed by the Horse Team volunteers, individuals who have shown their ability to work with the horses both in and outside of class time. Horse Team members are chosen by the Team Leader, Emily Weber, after demonstrating their ability to ride safely and appropriately for the needs of our horses.
  • Why do I have to commit to coming each week for a full session?
    • Our classes are scheduled in 6-8 week blocks of time with 2 weeks added for potential make up dates. Each volunteer team, side walkers and horse leader, are asked to make the commitment to make each class in the session when possible for continuity of serving our riders. The riders bond with the horses and their team and look forward to seeing everyone each week. In the case of the anxious rider, the familiarity of seeing someone that they know can be reassuring.

  • Do I need previous horse experience?
    • Previous horse experience is not necessary, but helpful. If a side walker has fear of horses, the safety of the rider may be compromised.
  • When can I volunteer?
    • Once you attend the volunteer training, you are welcome to come to any class session.   You may even want to attend 2 or 3 and choose the setting (instructors and riders) where you feel the most helpful.

  • I need community service hours. Does this count?
    • ATRO is a registered non- profit. As long as your supervising agency is in agreement, your hours documented by ATRO will count.


"At Cherokee Ridge"

  Sometimes at night

 When dust and gravel

 Sift through my brain

 I go to Cherokee Ridge

 Where the sun basks

 On women who get up close,

 Dip into pots

 And smear pictures

 On live horses,

 The colors blooming on

 The backs of horses

 The colors blooming out

 Of fingers

 In Rosie's mane

 I am in my granddaughter's hair

 Smoothing out tangles

 Minding the brushstrokes

 Flowers here are lifted

 Freed from their cases

 We set them in warm beds.

 We comb until something blossoms

 Debra Bailey--