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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Little Creek training volunteers

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Little Creek Special Equestrians, a not-for-profit therapeutic horse riding center for people with special needs, is offering a volunteer training day from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday.

"They don't have to know anything about horses," said Penny Akers, Executive Director of the Little Creek at Center Point.

Workers at the training session will teach brushing, saddling and leading of the horses, but a wealth of other types of volunteering are also available. Akers said persons are needed to take pictures, videotape, write grants, create newsletters and for fundraising efforts. Maintenance and upkeep of fences and barns as well as clearing pastures are also possibilities.

"That would be a good thing for groups to come out and do," she said.

Lessons are offered Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays, and one to three volunteers are necessary for each rider. Volunteers are also needed in the barn and arena, and the older geriatric horses need care. Horse shows are another option people can explore. A day includes about six to eight hours of lessons, but volunteers can stipulate which type of work they would like to do and can dictate their own hours.

"They don't have to be there that whole time. They tell me when they can work, and that's what I put on the schedule," she said.

While those interested in volunteering can simply show up at Little Creek Special Equestrians, Akers prefers they call ahead at 812-986-3097 to ensure she has enough materials for the training. Volunteers should wear barn-type clothing like jeans, T-shirts and sweatshirts as well as comfortable shoes as the session will include spending time outdoors and in the barn.

A parking area is available, and people who have questions or need driving directions can call for additional information.

"It's a great opportunity if they think they might like to work with horses or people with disabilities," she said, and it provides people with the chance to get some exercise and spend time outside.

The average day starts at 10 a.m. and ends between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., although lessons start earlier in the summer when the temperature is cooler. Last year, the center had about 10 volunteers, and some are coming back. Some volunteers must take time away for other seasonal activities, particularly students.

"To work with the riders and see how much joy they get from doing this activity - it's amazing. You get to see them grow and develop new skills. It's great to feel like you're a part of that," Akers said. "They can't ride without volunteers. Without the volunteers, this can't happen."

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