Equestrian Experience Not Required to Assist Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission Therapeutic Recreation Department and Lord Stirling Stable are seeking volunteers to assist with the T.R.A.I.L.S (Therapeutic Recreation Adapted Instruction at Lord Stirling) program on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings beginning September 13 and 14. Two class options are available each evening from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. and from 7:15 to 8:30 p.m.

Volunteers are free to choose either or both sessions and will receive training/orientation prior to the start of the program. The T.R.A.I.L.S. program consists of ten weekly riding lessons.  

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T.R.A.I.L.S. takes place at the Somerset County Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable, 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge and provides an opportunity for children and adults with developmental disabilities to learn the basics of horseback riding at a level adapted to their individual needs. 

Volunteers need not have equestrian experience but must be age 18 or older. (17 year olds will be considered if they have previous experience with horses.) Volunteers should have a desire to help individuals enjoy a recreational activity that they otherwise would have no opportunity to experience. 

“The role of the volunteer is either a ‘side walker’ providing support, balance, and reinforcement of instruction or a ‘lead walker,’” said Dina Trunzo, CTRS, Manager, Therapeutic Recreation. “The success of the program is due in large part to the volunteers, working with trained staff, to support each of the students.” 

Individuals interested in participating may call the Therapeutic Recreation Department at 908-526-5650 or NJ Relay at 711 for individuals with a hearing or speech impairment. Information is also available at www.somersetcountyparks.org.