No horse? No problem! You can still get your horse fix. There are plenty of opportunities for you to survive being horseless in SLO County, and actually thrive both within your horseless condition and our vibrant equestrian community.
Horseless Tip #1 – Volunteer!
Therapeutic Riding Programs
Therapeutic Riding Programs are always looking for horse loving volunteers. You can help others connect with, and benefit from, horses, even if you find yourself without your own. Therapeutic riding programs are the perfect opportunity to give back to your community, and receive the much needed “horse fix” that you desire. What’s better than helping people through horses?
There are several Therapeutic Riding organizations in SLO County where your help will not only be welcomed, but will be forever appreciated!
- Partners in Equestrian Therapy P.E.T./ V.E.T. – Atascadero
- Little Riders through Jack’s Helping Hand – Arroyo Grande
- Equine Alliance Youth Foundation – San Miguel
Horse Rescue Organizations
If you find yourself without a horse of your own, you can still give back to horses who are in need. Feeding, cleaning, riding, walking, and basic care for horses in rescue sanctuaries is another way to get your horse fix. Check out these horse sanctuaries in or accessible from SLO County:
Emergency Equine Services Volunteer
Like an adrenaline rush? Love to help people and horses in high stress situations? Try getting trained and being on call for emergency horse situations. Our local H.E.E.T. (Horse Emergency Evacuation Team) has many ways to get you involved.
Horse Show Helper
Extra hands are always needed at horse shows! Gate keepers, timers, ring crew, score runners, judge’s assistants, office help…the list goes on and on. You can find stories published by SLO Horse News that tell of local shows and events on slohorsenews.net under PLACES – Where to compete or train. Contact the local organization putting on the shows you enjoy being a part of, and see if they need an extra helping hand. Here is a list of ideas to get you going:
- Central Coast of California Arabian Horse Association – CCCAHA
- SLO chapter of California Dressage Society – SLO CDS
- NorCal Hunter Jumper Association
- San Luis Obispo County Quarter Horse Association – SLOCQHA
- California High School Rodeo Association District 7 – CHSRA
- Trail Rides – Ride Nipomo, CCCAHA
- 4H and FFA
Horseless Tip #2 – Spectate
There is no shortage of equestrian events in SLO County. Whether you’re into watching horses sail over fences, or work cattle there is something in our vibrant community for you. Go and watch equestrians compete at local shows, or audit one of the many clinics in the area. Choose what interests you and contact the organizations to get their schedule. Check out slohorsenews.net under HAPPENINGS for special events, local equestrian causes, and ways to get involved for ideas and contact info. Here is a starting line-up:
Horseless Tip #3 – Ride Someone’s Horse
As you are well aware, horses need exercise and that takes time. Sometimes horse owners don’t have all the time they need to get their horses out. That’s where being horseless comes in handy. You can arrange to ride other people’s horses as much as your schedule allows.
One way to meet people who may have horses needing time spent on them is to get involved with local organizations which focus on the riding discipline or activity of your choice. Type in your chosen activity into the search bar in the upper right hand corner of slohorsenews.net and you’ll get stories with links to local equestrian organizations.
Horseless Tip #4 – Exchange work for riding time with a local barn or trainer
Working students exchange work for lessons. Work in the form of grooming, mucking stalls and feeding horses need to happen every day with every horse in a trainer’s barn or a boarding stable. Perhaps you could help with tasks like these in exchange for riding time on an appropriate horse. You would need to nail down the details and expectations to be sure you get the right working student experience.
Horseless Tip #5 – Work at a horse related business
Our horse community is well-served when it comes to businesses connected to the horse community. Tack shops, feed stores, western clothing stores even some local wineries all provide work where horses are a common topic. Check out these businesses to find out what opportunities work for you:
- Riding Warehouse
- Whitehorse Tack and Veterinary Supply
- Farm Supply
- Carr’s Boots & Western Wear
- Ancient Peaks Winery
- SLO Horse News – we’d love to have you ride along with us.
So there you have it, being horseless in SLO County is possible. Many opportunities allow you to get your horse fix. Now get going. . . you may not find yourself horseless for much longer.
Photo Credit: Sharon Jantzen