OUR VOLUNTEERS ARE THE 'HEART AND HUSTLE' OF SERRA
Heart and Hustle. Any equine rescue depends on the good efforts of volunteers to succeed. What our volunteers have is "Heart and Hustle". Deeply caring hearts with compassion and a real 'get the job done' attitude for each and every horse. We are looking for a few good volunteers that are dedicated to the horses' well being. Are you one of us?
What can you expect as a new volunteer?
As a new volunteer you will begin with completing an orientation clinic with one of our senior staff members. This complementary clinic includes:
There are many opportunities for adult and youth volunteers at SERRA including, but not limited to helping with:
THE PURPOSE OF A SERRA VOLUNTEER
Our purpose is to support the medical healing needs, environmental health, well-being and overall health of the horses that come into our arms. Our volunteers are dedicated and focused to those goals.
We are here to serve the horses. Not ourselves. Although the horses can provide us with enormous personal satisfaction, we are not here to 'ride' the present horses in our care. We are here to care for their needs and provide them a safe haven, nourishment and a positive experience of human interaction to build their trust in humans again.
We are not here to teach you how to ride or to teach you how to become a professional horse trainer. Many volunteers approach us to do just that. They are not a fit in our team.
Although we do teach volunteers the basics of horse handling safety, should you wish to learn more skills, we have a list of qualified trainers from which you can learn to ride or expand your horse skills for in exchange for their training fee. That is your separate choice and contractual relationship with that trainer. Further in that vein, our horses are not for your training experimentation in your learning.
Horse rescue and rehab work can be highly rewarding. There is great inner satisfaction knowing your efforts will forward the horse's trust in humans, improve their health substantially and make ready for a better chapter with a future dedicated family.
It is also hard work. Daily chores and being grubby. It is not glamorous. Anything but. Many times your work is solo. We all do the chores regardless of weather conditions, chilly rain or high heat. The work still needs to be done. And sometimes it can be dangerous as horses are powerful and fast.
As horses need daily care, volunteers are expected to fill the needed schedule for the horse care.
Not all our herd horses are rescues. Some are individually owned by volunteers and generously offered for your use in safely learning your ground skills and building your confidence in handling different horses. These better trained horses are here to help you learn your ground safety skills and also on which to make your many mistakes.
We are grateful to those horses who are your patient teachers. No beginner volunteer can safety learn ground skills on a fractious, frightened and in pain rescued horse. That would be placing a new volunteer at high risk. Horse handling skills take a long time to become a part of a volunteer's natural repertoire. Many times upwards of one year or more. Horses are complex and humans need time to learn safely.
You will spend your first 50+ hours learning on the older schoolmaster horses. Then after assessment by a senior staff member, graduate to gradually working with our rescue horses.
Skills you must accomplish to become a BASIC volunteer:
In order to build trust with any horse, volunteers must learn to be consistent in their horse handling. Each volunteer must learn to adapt themselves to how SERRA volunteers, as a group, communicates with each horse.
Remember, these skills are for you to take on and learn well. A Senior SERRA volunteer is taking their valuable time to teach you. This means they must take away from other chores and duties of running the rescue and care for the horses to train you.
We expect a volunteer to completely master these basic skills in a short period of time. That means that the volunteer must apply themselves vigorously to learning these basic skills, both while at the rescue and on their own personal time.
Should a senior volunteer observe your skill learning is not to be sufficient or be unsafe, he or she will either reassign the volunteer to non-horse handling projects or ask them to leave.