We asked a few very dedicated and loyal volunteers about how they became involved, what they do, and what magic happens at the EquiCenter to keep them coming back. Each shared a special time they will never forget. This is Shana Shapiro's story:
Shana, 17, began volunteering in 2011 at age 14. She had always loved working around horses and heard about the EquiCenter from a friend. “I knew how beneficial horses can be for people with or without disabilities and I wanted to be part of a place that was devoted to helping riders full time.” Shana started as a side-walker and then graduated to becoming a horse leader after about a year. Shana’s favorite aspect of working at EquiCenter is watching how calming lessons can be.
“Students come and take lessons in a beautiful, peaceful environment. Even if they arrive after a difficult day, they leave much happier. Helping them out also leaves me happier than when I came in!”
Shana is a senior in high school and works after school and on weekends at a an area stable where she helps with feeding, chores, and teaching beginner lessons in exchange for riding lessons. Shana recalls a very special moment:
“I had been a horse leader in one student’s lesson for about a year and throughout the year he had become more and more independent. One Monday night Anne and I stepped back and he was walking Smokey independently in the empty ring. Just him and Smokey. It was quiet and the sun was just starting to set. After all the hard work he had put into his riding, he was completely independent walking around the ring just enjoying riding. It was beautiful.”