A Volunteer in Therapeutic Riding

Dawn Warner

After sitting around for far too long after retirement and feeling like I was missing something in my life I finally listened to the commercial about volunteering and decided to check it out for myself.  

The number of opportunities on the Volunteer Ottawa website was overwhelming.  Who knew?!  I spent an afternoon looking at the list trying to figure out what I wanted to do.  At this point it felt more like an obligation than anything else.  Something I should do but that would not really benefit me.

Suddenly the TROTT logo flashed across my computer screen – horses – yippee! I like horses and so decided to give it a try.  According to their website, “the Therapeutic Riding Association of Ottawa-Carleton (TROtt) has been providing therapeutic riding lessons for children and adults with primarily physical, developmental and learning disabilities for over 40 years. “

After some training provided by TROtt, I became a horse handler. As a horse handler, I groom and put the tack on the horse and lead the horse around the arena while the participant, with the assistance of a side-walker, goes through a series of exercises and games. 

It didn’t take very long before I found myself looking forward to the classes.  I feel such happiness each time it’s a “TROtt” day and every time I finish a class I feel very satisfied.  The staff, other volunteers and the participants make it a really enjoyable experience.

No benefits to me?  How wrong can a person be!!  I have discovered numerous benefits to volunteering.  I am happier, my brain is engaged, and I am more fit, to name a few. But being a volunteer is addictive.  I have gone on to find additional volunteer opportunities with other groups that are just as enjoyable. Visit TROtt at ottawatherapeuticriding.ca

I spent 33 years working at Statistics Canada and decided in August of 2013 that there were a bunch of things I wanted to do beside work.  When I’m not at TROtt, I lead a Chronic Pain Self-Management course, golf, curl, play the piano, and am a member of the Ottawa Celtic Choir.

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