Leader Position

See our Volunteers page for additional information & upcoming training dates.


Volunteers need to be able think critically, problem solve, have the ability to work independently, and maintain an awareness of their surroundings at all times. Unexpected situations can arise at anytime involving horse and/or rider.

For the safety of our riders and our volunteers, you will need the ability to understand and carry out direct instructions. Both the leader and side walker positions require physical endurance and good verbal communication skills.

Volunteer Job Description – Leader

The leader is responsible for the horse at all times. If you have any questions, be sure to ask the instructor.

Before Class

  • Arrive half an hour prior to class start time
  • Upon arrival, consult the whiteboard for the horse you are paired with
  • Get the horse’s grooming box
  • Speak to your horse as you approach in the stall
  • Slide the halter over his/her head and fasten the halter closed
  • Always use a lead rope when leading a horse from the stall
  • Hold the lead rope with two hands (right hand close to halter, excess rope in your left hand)
  • You are the first one through the stall door and the horse follows
  • Attach the halter to the crossties and leave lead rope attached, draped over horse’s neck


  • Pick the horse’s hooves
  • Use the curry glove, then the hard brush, and finish off with the soft brush
  • Tack your horse making sure the girth is snug but not to tight at this stage
  • If you have reins, attach them to the halter
  • Clean up if your horse uses this time as a bathroom break
  • Be ready to go into the arena 10 minutes prior to class

During Class

  • Call “door” when you enter the arena
  • Line up facing the ramp until the instructor has come to tighten the girth
  • When called, lead the horse to the ramp, then turn your body to face the horse putting one hand on each side of the halter – you will be walking backwards and guiding the horse in slowly
  • Stand facing the horse, not off to the side
  • Keep the horse still while the rider mounts. Remember, this is the time when it is most important for the horse to be calm and quiet.
  • On the instructor’s or rider’s command walk the horse ahead and halt when clear of the ramp
  • The instructor will adjust the stirrups
  • Once the rider is ready, walk the horse to the far end of the arena and circle until all the riders have mounted
  • It is the Leader’s job to assist the rider in completing instructions while giving the rider a chance to do as much as they can on their own
  • As you walk, remain in the leading position between the horse’s head and shoulder
  • Walk at a steady pace to allow the rider to receive the full benefit of the horse’s movement
  • At the end of class, line up and make sure the student waits for the instructor to assist with the dismount

After Class

  • Check with the instructor to see if the horse is going back in its stall or outside
  • Lead the horse back into the barn and secure the horse in a set of crossties
  • Remove the saddle, pads and reins
  • Put your horse away and sweep up any mess
  • Return grooming kit and tack to the appropriate area

Download the complete volunteer manual here: Volunteer Manual PDF

See our Volunteers page for additional information & upcoming training dates.