Volunteer Bulletin

Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center
April 2017
In This Issue...
Volunteer Appreciation Week
Reins of Life Auction
Continued Education Opportunities
Spring Break Horsemanship Camp
Substitute Arena Shifts
Food for Thought: Saddle Pads
Tack Room Organization: Grooming Boxes
Earth Day: Little Bit's Rain Garden
Volunteer Spotlight: Dana Raugi
Meet our Staff: Marlisa Walden
Important Dates 
April 4 - April 16
Session Break; No arena volunteers 

April 5
Horse Leader Level II Training

April 6-9 
AHA Level II Clinic

April 10-14 
Spring Break Horsemanship Camp

April 17
First Day of Spring Session

April 19
Horse Leader Level I Training 

April 22
32nd Annual Reins of Life Auction 

April 24-29
National Volunteer Appreciation Week 
Volunteer Appreciation Week 
Say, oh say, please hear me speak!

April 24-29 is National Volunteer Week!

Listen up so you will hear:
We want to thank our volunteers!

During National Volunteer Week  we'll be paying tribute to you,  our awesome volunteers.

 You can look forward to:
        • Snacks
        • Prize drawings
        • Overflowing gratitude 
32nd Annual Reins of Life Auction 
Please join  Auction Co-Chairs Phyllis Dunmire and Kelli Imlay  for the 32nd Annual  Reins of Life Auction  to benefit  Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center,  with auctioneer Matt Lorch.

Saturday, April 22, 2017
5:00 PM   
(Black Tie Optional)  
To RSVP,  donate an item,  make a cash donation, reserve a table,  or view the catalog in progress, please visit http://littlebit.maestroweb.com.

Should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact  Kristin Miller at 425-882-1554.
Interested in volunteering for the big day? Contact Dana LaRue to sign up! 
Continued Education Opportunities
Horse Leader Training Level I  teaches volunteers how to lead and help our four-legged therapists follow directions before, during, and after class. Volunteers must first be paddock trained before participating and can sign up for a brief class in the tack barn. Horse Leader Training will be offered:
  • Wednesday, April 19, 7-9 pm
  • Wednesday, May 17, 7-9 pm
  • Wednesday, June 7, 7-9 pm
Horse Leader Training Level II  is an excellent opportunity to brush up on or expand your leading skills. Training will be held on: 
  • Wednesday, April 5, 6:30-8:30 pm
  • Tuesday, June 20, 7-9 pm
Email  Melanie Renk  to sign up for a continued education opportunity and assist Little Bit in a new capacity! 
Spring Break Horsemanship Camp
Looking for child care over Spring Break, or know someone who is? Little Bit is looking forward to a week of fun at the barn while school is out. Participants, ages 5-9+, will have the opportunity to learn everything they've ever wanted to know about horses and horse care!

Horsemanship camp is open to individuals with and without disabilities. 
April 10-14
Cost: $350
For more information or to register, visit
Spring Session Arena Scheduling
Spring Session kicks off on Monday, April 17 and we still need your help! 

Please  contact  Dana LaRue at 425-882-1554 if you need to change your availability or if you are interested in signing up for a recurring volunteer shift. 

Your volunteer schedule will remain the same unless otherwise noted. 

**Little Bit relies heavily on substitute volunteers to cover shifts when a rider's regular volunteer cancels. Please contact  Melanie Renk to join our sub list or update your availability. 
Food for Thought: Western Saddle Pads
Here's a look at the different Western saddle pads you might see used at Little Bit. (We'll take a look at English pads in a future newsletter). 

To keep both horses and riders happy and comfortable: If you're ever unsure about which tack to use, please ask a Class Assistant or other staff member.

The straight saddle pad is for the round or mutton-withered horse, or horse with a flat back. The normal or straight saddle pad can be used on horses with a normal wither definition. Click here for photo of straight saddle pad

A contour saddle pad is designed for the horse that has the slight dip in their back or those with more prominent withers. The front part of the contour will relieve pressure from the withers Click here for photo of contour saddle pad

A swayback saddle pad has a gradual increase in thickness towards the center of the pad. This is for a horse that is considered swayback or a horse with such prominent withers that it creates a dip in the back. This often fixes problems such as 4 corners of the saddle tree putting pressure on the horse, rather than the pressure spread across the tree bars Click here for photo of swayback saddle pad

Built up
A built up saddle pad is useful for a horse with high or prominent withers. It is built up along the center, raising the saddle up off the withers. Click here for photo of built up saddle pad

Article contributed by our Equine Director, Dana Richardson. Thanks, Dana!
Every 'Little Bit' helps - Grooming Boxes 
Volunteers often find themselves with moments of "down time" as they wait for classes to start. There are so many ways at Little Bit to keep busy and help with the mission. If you're unsure what tasks you can be working on, please take a look at the "Miscellaneous Tasks" binder in the Tack Barn or ask a staff member. Every 'little bit' helps!! 

This month's focus is on grooming boxes.

  • Remove brushes from grooming box.
  • Dump dirt and debris into trash can.
  • Wipe out box with a damp rag.
  • Use the curry comb to clean the other brushes over a trash can or muck bucket, to remove as much dirt and hair as possible.
    • Sometimes taking the hoof pick and running it through the brushes helps loosen and remove hair and dirt.
  • Put brushes back in the box and place it under the correct horse's name.
  • If brushes are extremely dirty, put them in the dirty laundry bucket. Clean brushes can be found in the white cabinet. 
  • If there are multiples of one brush, put the extra brushes in the white cabinet. 
  • If the box is missing a brush, you can take one from the extra brush box in the white cabinet. 
  • Clean bonnets by turning the ears inside out and lightly brushing with a stiff brush. 
  • Clean any horse boots in the box by using a stiff brush, especially around the velcro area. 
Earth Day - Little Bit's Rain Garden

In honor of Earth Day (Saturday, April 22), we'd like to share with you the story of Little Bit's rain garden. 

Rain gardens are an attractive green solution to reduce storm water pollution and improve overall water quality. Storm water becomes polluted when it runs over pavement and comes into contact with automotive fluids, sediment, trash, animal waste, etc. Ordinarily, this storm water runoff flows directly to rivers, lakes and streams without treatment. By directing storm water runoff to a rain garden filled with native plants, pollutants can be absorbed by the deep plant roots instead of contaminating our rivers, lakes and streams.

Here at Little Bit, our rain garden acts as a bio-filtration system for all of our storm water runoff. All of our impervious surfaces (rooftops and paved areas) are designed to drain into an interconnected system of catch basins that lead to a series of three ponds (retention areas) that store and naturally filter all of our storm water runoff BEFORE it would otherwise drain directly into Bear Creek.

Over the past 5 years, Little Bit has worked closely with King County's Department of Natural Resources to learn more about being better stewards of Bear Creek, and how to protect and provide cleaner and healthier habitat for the native runs of salmon that return to the creek to spawn every fall.

Other animal species that are regular visitors to our rain garden and creek include: White-tailed deer, river otters, beavers, muskrats, Canada geese and snow geese, and many species of ducks.
We're proud of our efforts to become active stewards of our natural resources here at Little Bit, and we always look forward to seeing our seasonal visitors return to our property year after year.

Article contributed by our Facilities Director, Wayne Miller. Thanks, Wayne!
Volunteer Spotlight:  Dana Raugi 
Do you have a favorite Little Bit moment  you can share?  
I think my favorite Little Bit moment was from my first
quarter, when the young rider I was working with got to ride without a sidewalker for the first time. That was pretty cool. But I love watching the progress of the riders - except that first quarter, I've been volunteering in the same class for ten years, so I've gotten to watch a couple
of the kids grow up.

Do you have a hobby you love to spend time on?
When I'm not working or at the barn, I'm a crew
member on a big old wooden sailboat, the schooner
Zodiac. So when I'm missing my class at Little Bit, it's
usually because I'm sailing, working on a restoration
project, or working aloft in the rigging.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a
new volunteer?
I'll just echo the words of every other featured
volunteer: Don't be afraid to ask questions! 
Dana has been volunteering in the same class for 10 years! She has also supported Little Bit as a Volunteer Captain and a Training Team member, and has helped with summer camp and horse shows. Thank you, Dana, for your incredible dedication and support. 
Meet our Staff: Marlisa Walden
What do you do at Little Bit and how long have you been with us? 
As the Donor Database Specialist, I process donations and send gift acknowledgement letters, create reports/lists for development staff and mailings, and manage the donor database.  I have worked here since the start of November 2016.
What do you love most about Little Bit?
Working for an organization that helps so many people and having animals around!  

Do you have a fun story to share about Little Bit?
A company called about donating a pony. I wasn't sure I had heard correctly and she repeated "Yes, we want to donate a pony", so I transferred the call to Dana Richardson.  Dana came back to my office laughing and told me it was a stuffed pony!
What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have outside of work? 
I like to do outdoor activities - mostly hiking or being near water.  I also enjoy reading fiction novels, movies, and vacations to sunny places with a beach!
What is the one place or country you would like to visit, or revisit? 
There are many I'd like to visit, so it's hard to name just one - Australia, Galapagos Islands, a wildlife safari in Africa.
Do you have a favorite food or drink? 
Favorite food - sweets, especially from a bakery!
Tell us something fun about yourself? 
I was born in Naples, Italy and spent my childhood on an air force base near Adana, Turkey.
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Thanks for reading and thank you for your service!