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Volunteer Spotlight: Susan Davis

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I've loved horses since my first pony ride as a toddler. I took riding lessons with my Girl Scout troop in elementary school, and since then have gone on an occasional trail ride. When I retired from teaching and became a snowbird from Washington State, I looked for a way to reconnect with horses. After serving as a barn buddy and taking lessons at another therapeutic riding ranch in the area, I broke my leg during a lesson on emergency dismounts. I took a few years off and then a friend who volunteered at Horses Help told me about it. In the spring of 2021, I attended an orientation.


I was so impressed with the organization, the staff, and the other volunteers - their professionalism, friendliness, and dedication - and with the horses. (Especially Joey.) I started the volunteer training programs. My mentor Jenni was so patient with me - I had groomed a bit, but never tacked up a horse. One memorable moment: after I thought I was ready to try it, Jenni watched me go through the whole process, and when I was finished, she asked me to step back and take a look to see if everything was as it should be. I did, and - I had put the saddle on backwards! I had a few things to learn yet, and many gentle corrections from my mentors. I was proud to pass Levels 1 and 2, and tried my hand at sidewalking, but I found my true home with Lisa and Adaptive Horsemanship. 


I love interacting with the youth, and seeing them learn about and interact with our equine partners. And I learn so much myself - I'm looking forward to this session's lessons about how horses communicate with us. 


I've also appreciated the other volunteer opportunities at Horses Help. How else would I get to attend opening night of Taylor Swift's ERAS tour, wrapping what seemed like 1,000 hot dogs? And the "Meet A Horse" activity at the annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show is so heartwarming - seeing children meet a horse up close for the first time, and watching a woman break into tears once she was in the saddle, telling us how terrified she had been just thinking about it. Preparing for the annual Barn Bash was lots of fun too - almost as much fun as attending it!


I'll end by saying that when I first considered volunteering at Horses Help, I thought that I would be the one doing the giving, but now, after about three years, I have to say that I've gotten so much more from our community than I have ever given.

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