“I think most people say they love volunteering at High Hopes because it is such a rewarding experience for both volunteers and participants alike. It is. But it’s not just that. It’s being a part of a community where riders can come every week, not have to worry about fitting in with other kids, learn some new skills and spend time with special people and animals. I love walking into the barn every week to smiling volunteers and staff that genuinely want to know what’s new in my life. There is always good camaraderie and laughs. I love being paired with new riders; it’s like a little challenge to find out what works best with each individual and then work on building a relationship.
I’m not sure that I could pick out one specific favorite memory, I started volunteering at HH in 2008!! I would come off the school bus every week. But some of my favorite times are when riders achieve something that they didn’t think they could! Whether that be half seat with no hands, trotting off lead for the first time, or even just reaching out to give you a high five. I love watching riders gain confidence and independence.
Fun facts: I have 2 retired horses at home. I also compete in dog agility trials! Favorite food is chocolate cake, of course!”
Within past 10 years that Jen has been at High Hopes, she has volunteered over 840 hours! She has helped in a variety of roles such as leading, sidewalking, summer camp, barn assistant, and many more. Any instructor is lucky to have her in their lesson because she always a great advocate for both her participants and horses.