Sunday, May 3, 2009


I have had the opportunity in recent Saturday mornings to volunteer with the Pioneer Valley Therapeutic Riding Association (PVTRA), a non-profit with the purpose of teaching horsemanship skills to individuals -- children and adults -- with various disabilities, including cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, autism, amputations, and more.

PVTRA has been offering lessons to children and adults with disabilities since 1984 -- that's 25 years! Certified instructors and trained volunteers work with individuals and the horses provided by PVTRA to help them build confidence, self-esteem, patience, and independence through the challenges and rewards of therapeutic riding.

I found PVTRA through a web search when I was looking for someplace to volunteer a few hours a week. Specifically, I wanted to work with animals and meet new people and actually be of use to someone. This week was my second week with PVTRA, and all three of my requirements for my volunteer service have been filled. I have already learned to love the horses, having had the opportunity to curry them and brush them, talk to them, and walk with them. I have met an incredible set of supportive volunteers, an endearing group of kids, and wonderful families taking advantage of the services offered.

I'm sure that as time progresses, I will learn more about the organization, but in accordance with what I know now, the PVTRA offers great opportunities for the following:
  1. People who suffer from physical, emotional, or cognitive disabilities.
  2. People who want to volunteer their time and skills to a non-profit organization.
  3. People who are looking for a worthy association to donate to.
PVTRA can be contacted from the website.

On Saturday, May 9, there will be a horse show to benefit the Pioneer Valley Therapeutic Riding Association. Information can be found on Craigslist or on the PVTRA website under "Horse Show" (see the poster).

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