5 ways to have fun without your own horse

You don’t need to have your own horse to be involved in equestrianism — volunteering is a great way to get your horsey fix without having to fork out. You get to make a positive difference, too, and that’s pretty awesome.

Even if you do have your own horse, it’s well worth considering volunteering to help make the horsey world a better place for everyone. Here are a few ways you can offer your services…

1. Riding For The Disabled

In the 40 years it’s been operating, this charity has helped thousands of people with disabilities develop their confidence, mobility and enjoyment through riding and interaction with horses. RDA offers activities for all age groups, and with more than 500 groups throughout the UK, there’s sure to be one local to you. If it’s hands-on horse time you’re after, RDA are reliant on voluntary help for grooming and tacking up, leading and side-walking, mucking out and so on – just an hour or two of your time each week can make a huge difference. Get involved by visiting their website www.rda.org.uk

2. Horse sanctuaries

From Redwings to the Racehorse Rescue Centre, there hundreds of independent equine welfare charities and rescue centres throughout the UK. Many of these, if not all, are reliant on donations and voluntary help – why not contact your own local horse sanctuary to find out how you can make a difference?

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3.  Shows

There are always volunteer roles at local and international shows, whether that’s fence judging, stewarding, running the car parks or helping in the tea tent. Contact your local riding club and offer your services – they’re sure to be grateful. Some offer money off riding lessons in return for help. Or you can sign up for the British Riding Club Volunteers’ Club and get the chance to work at one of their six national Championships, at some of the biggest equestrian events in the UK, including Olympia and Royal Windsor Horse Show. Visit the British Horse Society website at www.bhs.org.uk to learn more.

4. Sponsored rides

The British Horse Society doesn’t just provide standards for horsemanship and riding tuition, it also  campaigns for riders’ rights and raises awareness of diseases such as strangles. One of its fantastic money-raising schemes is its ‘Challenge Rides’ abroad. Ever fancied riding across the Andes from Chile to Argentina, or through Peru on the Inca Ride Trail? These are just two of the terrifying but exhilarating trails available, although they’re not for the faint-hearted, and cost approximately £5,000 per person (attendees are encouraged to fund-raise to cover these costs). Talk about the ride of your life…

5. World Horse Welfare

A charity that aims to improve the lives of horses by increasing respect and understanding of equines through education and hands-on care, World Horse Welfare does invaluable work preventing suffering in the UK and abroad, and is always looking for volunteers. There are volunteering opportunities throughout the UK – and sometimes even overseas. The roles available vary from campaigning and fundraising, to helping out at WHW organized events, to working with equines in their various rescue centres. Visit www.worldhorsewelfare.org and check out the Support Us section to see what opportunities are available near you.

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