Time to grab the reins

Horses, kids and scenery are a few perks of volunteering at Handi-Riders

For every student in the Handi- Riders arena, as many as three volunteer riding aides may be needed: one to lead the horse and two as sidewalkers ensuring that the rider is safe and feels secure.

“To come here and see kids put so much effort into riding and make so much improvement—you’re just beaming right along with them,” said Liz Bohn, who has been volunteering along with her teenage son for three years and is now the Handi-Riders volunteer coordinator.

Many Handi-Riders volunteers are Chico State and Butte College students fulfilling public-service requirements or study goals. Others are simply interested individuals, and no prior horse experience is required. “We run a very comprehensive training program and make sure that volunteers are confident,” said Bohn.

Male volunteers are outnumbered by women, but they’re encouraged to come and be a positive role model for young male riders. Plus there’s that other incentive: As one Chico State man pointed out, “You wanna meet girls? Volunteer at Handi-Riders!”