Barn Buddies are young volunteers between the ages of 12 and 16 who have experience riding and caring for a horse. Barn Buddies can have the same responsiblities as the adult volunteer depending on their level of maturity and experieince with both horses and children.
They can assist in both the therapeutic riding program and the scout and youth group programs. Each Barn Buddy receives training and is evaluated periodically to determine their progress level. Barn Buddies start at a Level 1 (basic training completed) and can move through to Level 5 (qualified to act as an assistant instructor). Barn Buddies are evaluated on all aspects of their participation, including safety, teaching, leadership, and horsemanship.
Depending on their experience, they may lead a horse, groom the horses, teach grooming, or lead one of the other stations. As with the adult volunteers, Barn Buddies are taught the additional skills and receive lesson plans for the station that they will be handling.
Most Barn Buddies volunteer at our facility because they enjoy working with horses and children and have community service as a school requirement. Barn Buddies who are also riders at Pretty Pony Pastures can earn Butter Bucks that they can use to offset the cost of some activities like Hooked on Horsessm.