It’s a puzzle of intricate and ever changing pieces. As we near summer months, we contemplate schedule changes. We start with the edge pieces as we schedule 6 instructors and 75 participants. It is no easy feat as we try to make everyone happy. There are so many close fits!
Then, Cari has the task of finding the pieces of the puzzle that are all the same color and fitting them all into the right spots. In one week we need at least 125 volunteers committing to 2 hours. Some of our volunteers give more than 2 hours of their time and talent. They get sitters for their children, leave their pets at home, rush to the ranch after putting in 8 or more hours at their paying job, drive sometimes up to 45 minutes and spend countless dollars for gas to come out to mentor our participants. Sometimes they get sick or have to work late unexpectedly and Cari scrambles to fit pieces in that she thought she already had in place, emailing and calling countless volunteers!
Davina has the fun job of pulling all of the puzzle pieces with all of the words or lines as she texts reminders to every participant the evening before their lesson verifying that they will be here for their lessons, responding to their questions, and giving support when needed.
Our instructors and therapist get to put the last piece of the puzzle. They spend time researching lesson ideas, create goals and objectives for each lesson, arrive at least 30 minutes before their scheduled lesson to assign horses, check tack, setup the arena, brief volunteers on what the needs of the lesson might be, and coach newer volunteers. They are the risk manager for each lesson that they are responsible for. After every session, they write up the evaluation of each participants’ performance.
This beautiful puzzle of a horse partnering with and giving strength to it’s human while teaching confidence and communication is one of those 1000 piece puzzles that takes hours, days, weeks to put together. So as we work together to put this puzzle together, I ask our volunteers to understand the difficulties and challenges and sacrifices that our families go through to get their family members out to the ranch to help them heal..., body, mind, and soul. I also ask our participants and their guardians to respect our volunteers, instructors, and support staff’s time and efforts by coming to their scheduled lesson at their scheduled time. Their is nothing more disheartening than to rush from work or home only to find out that your rider canceled at the last minute or worse yet just doesn’t show up.