OLDWICK, N.J. — After more than 50 years of having horses in her life, Maggie Conroy was not prepared for an empty barn when the last of her horses had to be put down at the age of 28 in early 2018.
“I have to say, I never took him/them for granted but I was not prepared to be horse-less,” she said.
She was used to seeing a horse every day, and suddenly there were none. “I was really lost and decided to volunteer,” she said.
Now she spends her Saturdays and an occasional weekday at Mane Stream in Oldwick, N.J. “It’s comforting because there are two other ladies, my age, who also lost their ‘last,’ horse and we live for being at the barn,” she said.
Mane Stream’s mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals with physical, developmental, emotional and medical challenges through a diverse program of equine assisted activities, therapy services and educational initiatives. Mane Stream is designated as a Premier Accredited Center of PATH - Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International, which provides education, accreditation and resources for the equine assisted activities industry.
When the day is done the volunteers tend to hang around petting the horses Conroy said, “Of course it’s not all about the horses — the clients and instructors are awesome and it is very rewarding to ‘work’ there.”
Having prior horse experience is not a requirement to volunteer so Conroy uses her knowledge to help other volunteers learn the ropes.
Volunteers, age 14 and older are needed on a daily basis from Monday through Saturday. Volunteers participate in grooming, tacking the horses prior to lessons, and either leading the horse or side-walking for the adaptive riding lessons, therapy sessions or other equine assisted activities programs. Additional opportunities include helping out with everything from office tasks, barn chores and maintenance.
The time commitment is three to six hours weekly during a typical six- to 16-week session. Training is provided.
To learn more about Mane Stream see https://www.manestreamnj.org/
To find other organizations that provide equine assisted therapies see https://www.pathintl.org/
National Volunteer Week is April 7 to 13. TAPinto Horses is spolighting volunteers who help horses or help humans with horses.
See more Equestrian news at www.TAPintoHorses.net
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