Horses Training Reflection

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After hearing about the Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding (STAR) and its work with horses, It was not until a friend offered to go with me to the information and training session that I had really considered volunteering there. During the lesson, leaders of the organization explained that STAR 's mission was to assist children and adults alike who are faced with both mental and physical illnesses by teaching them to ride and take care of horses.
Sitting in a big, unfamiliar room filled with other potential volunteers, I definitely didn 't feel all that confident. There were even times during the training that I was not sure if I would be able to handle the responsibility. My limited experience working with horses as well as individuals with disabilities caused me to doubt myself in the beginning. Despite this, I signed up to volunteer for an organization that would become the highlight of every summer during my high school career.
The summers following my initial training, I volunteered for one class a week for the entire summer session. My official title is a "side walker," and my job is to walk next to the horse and rider. Every
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One of my favorite parts of volunteering at STAR is being able to see the impact that we are able to make in the lives of the riders and their families. It is truly humbling to see so many individuals with mental and physical illnesses grateful for the opportunity to ride a horse. I have grown tremendously from my experience, which has impacted me in areas outside of STAR. Now, when being around someone with a disability, I can better understand what he or she is really facing. My role as a volunteer also allowed me to create authentic connections with the riders. I am always amazed at the amount of trust that they put in me from the minute we meet. Every rider that I have worked with has taught me something new which I am grateful for everyday. In the future, I plan to train to become a horse leader to become even more

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