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August 17th, 2017

From the Heart, For the Heart Volunteer Opportunity

Editor,

 

Just imagine a peaceful place surrounded in the natural beauty of Vermont.

 

You hear the breeze in the trees, the birds and the rhythmic sound of hooves. This is the setting that you would be in to give of yourself to help others. The participants who ride at the “The Rhythm of the Rein” program at Water Tower Farm in Marshfield, Vermont are very special. They come with various physical and/or psychological challenges. Some cannot walk or talk, some incurred traumatic brain injuries, strokes. Diseases and disorders like Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s, Muscular Dystrophy, Arthritis, Spinal Cord injuries, PTSD, Depression and so much more come to this program. Riding helps build the core and tone muscles. Riders learn to develop focus. And the undeniable joy that comes from becoming one with a horse. These horses are able to absorb all the challenges of their riders and give back unconditional love and caring through their patience and gentleness. There is an unspoken bond between riders and their horse. All are welcomed…children, adults and military veterans. Perhaps you know of someone that this program could help.

 

I know all of this because I now volunteer there. To volunteer at this program is like no other opportunity I have experienced. Every participant truly needs this program and it goes beyond words what I receive in return from the riders. The privilege of being able to walk by them elevates my spirit. My mother who grew up in Marshfield, contracted polio at age 2. She told me the freedom she felt when her brother set her up on a horse one day. To be up high and be able to move without pushing her legs in the heavy, metal braces.

 

Some riders arrive in wheelchairs, use walkers or their caregivers help them move. For those who need it, we have a mechanical lift to set them on their horse.

 

Being a side walker by the rider throughout the session, I realized this program was helping my heart in a physical way to. I am experiencing a physical workout as well with all the many steps I take. Age does not matter, I am in my 60’s. I do not even feel I am exercising because of my focus on the rider and giving of my heart to them, each time.

 

Knowledge of horses is not required. You can learn as much or little about them as you want to while volunteering.

 

So if you would like to volunteer at a program right in our own area that does so much for others, go to www.rhythmoftherein.com or call 802 426-3781 or visit, right on Route 2 as you leave Marshfield just before the turn to Groton State Park. There is a large sign that says Water Tower Farm and below, Rhythm of the Rein.

 

All monetary donations go strictly to the scholarship fund to help those participate in the program. The entire staff of three are certified instructors, not sitting behind desks.

 

A military veteran who started as a participant in the program, now volunteers, and owns one of the horses used in the program. There is also a need for folks who can write grants, help with events to benefit the scholarship fund, update the website, or learn barn chores, etc. Donations of any size are always appreciated.

 

So if you have a heart to give to others of your talents, to reach out to those in need, and have your heart touched both emotionally and physically, this is the place for you. Please consider…you won’t regret it.

 

Sue Walbridge

Montpelier, VT

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