Volunteer Bulletin

Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center
February 2017
In This Issue...
2016 Volunteer Survey
Barn Team Superstars
Substitute Arena Shifts
Reins of Life Auction
Continued Education Opportunities
Herd Reminders
Volunteer Spotlight
Meet our Staff
Important Dates 
February 11
Horse Leader Level II Training

February 15
Horse Leader Level I Training

February 19 - February 26
Mid-Session Break; No arena volunteers

February 20
LB closed in recognition of President's Day

February 22
Training Team Training

February 23
Program Volunteer Training 

February 26
Classes Resume
2016 Volunteer Survey
Little Bit needs your candid & anonymous feedback by 2/28 in order to improve our Volunteer Program and better serve our participants!

If you volunteered with Little Bit in 2016 at an event, on our Barn Team, in the arena, our offices, or in any other capacity, we'd love to hear from you. 
Barn Team Superstars
Barn Team volunteers are vital to Little Bit's success. Plus, our horses LOVE these selfless superstars! 

Crew members are currently needed Monday-Thursday from 11am-1:30pm. 

Help care for our herd by delivering lunch, mucking paddocks, sweeping barn aisles, and re-filling water buckets
Email Ariel Aman  to schedule a brief 45 minute training!
Substitute Arena Shifts 
Thank you to everyone who utilizes Volgistics, our online scheduling system! 

YOU helped us effectively fill 895 holes in the 2016 schedule and we appreciate it more than we can say. 
Congratulations to our Winter Session Online Substitute Campaign winners:  
  • Diana Allwein
  • Marion Froehlich
  • Jasmine Lee
Get in the habit before the next gift card raffle kicks off Spring Session and  CLICK HERE TO SUBSTITUTE. 
Shifts are posted through March 11, with more to come!  

Your username is the email you submitted when filling out the volunteer application, and you can reset your password at any time.  Need help? Contact  Lindsay Shepard  at 425-882-1554 or stop by the Front Desk.
Save the Date: 32nd Annual Reins of Life Auction 
Mark your calendars for the 32nd Annual Reins of Life Auction on Saturday, April 22 at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue!
In support of Little Bit's largest fund-raising event of the year, please consider helping us procure items to make the auction a success. Ideas include bottles of wine ($25 minimum value), gift cards of any amount, fine art, jewelry, trips or airline miles--the options are endless! Please bring donations to the office by March 22.
Interested in volunteering for the big day? Contact Dana LaRue, Volunteer Coordinator, to sign up! 
Continued Education Opportunities
Paddock Training allows volunteers to catch and turn our horses before and after classes. Paddock Training occurs every week of Winter Session:
        • Mondays, 4-4:45pm
        • Tuesdays, 1:30-2:30pm
        • Wednesdays, 5-6pm* (rotates to 5:30-6:30pm weekly)
        • Thursdays, 4-4:45pm
        • Fridays, 5-6pm
Horse Leader Training Level I teaches volunteers how to lead and help our four-legged therapists follow directions before, during, and after class. Training will be held on:
  • Wed, Feb 15, 6:30-8:30 pm
  • Sat, March 4, 4-7 pm* (includes Paddock Training prerequisite)
  • Fri, March 17, 6:30-8:30 pm
Horse Leader Training Level II  will be held on Saturday, February 11 from 4-6 pm and Wednesday, April 5 from 6:30-8:30pm. It is an excellent opportunity to brush up on or expand your leading skills.  

Training Team Training  will be held on  Wednesday, February 22  and Wednesday, March 29 from 6:30-8:30 PM Training Team members le nd expertise and assist in the training of new volunteers. In order to participate, volunteers must have served at least eight hours in the arena, successfully passed Horse Leader Training Level I, and enjoy working with people.  
Email  Melanie Renk to sign up for a continued education opportunity and assist Little Bit in a new capacity! 
The Do's and Don'ts of Feeding Treats 
Occasionally, you may witness a staff member hand-feeding our horses treats. Staff may use treat training in special circumstances, such as getting a horse to do particular stretches or cooperate with a veterinarian check.  

For the well-being of our horses, we remind you that this is a staff-only task and our community should not hand-feed Little Bit's herd.

Please keep in mind: 
  • Many horses have special dietary considerations. One of our horses, for instance, is recovering from colic surgery and cannot have treats. Others have diets that need to be closely monitored. Just one treat is enough to set off problems with horses who have special dietary restrictions.
  • You have no idea how many other people are feeding the horses, and at what regularity. It won't do a horses belly any good to spoil them with an excessive amount of treats!
  • Hand-feeding helps to create and encourage bad behavior - which only strains their relationship with people over time. We need everyone to do their part to keep our herd from becoming mouthy or nipping at Little Bit riders, volunteers, staff, and visitors.
To show horses love and affection, spend some extra time grooming them, offer them a nice scratch behind their ears and talk to them. Horses look to their humans for enlightened leadership and consistent horsemanship. 

After checking in with a staff member, treats can be fed by putting them in a bucket or feed trough. Please do not carry treats in your pockets for the duration of you volunteer shift, as it distracts horses from their important work.  

Thank you for doing your part to keep our herd happy, healthy, and well-behaved! 
Volunteer Spotlight: 
Eric Verzuh

What motivated you to volunteer at Little Bit? 
Since I was a little boy, horses have always represented romance and adventure. My heroes were Little Joe on Bonanza and John Wayne. Being a city boy, I have rarely spent time with horses so Little Bit seemed a like a great way to get some hands-on experience.

Which Little Bit horse is your favorite, and why? Victor and I have gotten to be friends, but it didn't happen right away. He was a little suspicious of me at first. After telling each other some horse stories and singing a few Garth Brooks songs together, we realized we have a lot in common and now we are buddies.

Do you have a meaningful LB moment you can share? 
It is a privilege to help the riders that I support each week. Being able to hold on to another person, to help them up or down or guide their hand, is an intimacy that must be granted by the rider. Sometimes the hardest days are the most meaningful, because I see how hard the rider has to work to have a good day. It's my privilege to be trusted to play a part in their journey.

Do you have a hidden talent, or a hobby you love to spend time on? 
My favorite hobby is traveling with my wife to visit our children. Our son and daughter both attend colleges outside of Washington and both have created opportunities for us to follow them to interesting places like Ireland, Poland, and Italy. When they were younger we told them it was their job to go interesting places so we could visit and they seem to have believed us. The attached photo is from Ireland.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a new volunteer?  
Ask questions! I love that Little Bit has a right way to do everything and so many people are happy to explain how to do anything. When I first volunteered, I was a little worried that it would be a tough, cowboy culture - like Curly on the Billy Crystal movie City Slickers. So far nobody has cracked a whip or thrown a knife. Just the opposite, friendly explanations and lots of encouragement. 

Eric is celebrating his one-year anniversary with Little Bit this month! He has served over 50 hours supporting riders as a "fabulous and dedicated" sidewalker.
Thank you, Eric, for going above and beyond to support Little Bit's mission!
Meet our Staff: Christina Reyer
What do you do at Little Bit and how long have you been on staff? 
I am an Occupational Therapist, and I use hippotherapy as a treatment strategy here on Tuesdays and Fridays. I work at an Early Intervention (Birth to 3) program in Tacoma the rest of the week where I work with kids and families in their homes.  I was here as a student in Summer 2015 and came on staff in April 2016.
What do you love most about Little Bit? 
I love the smiles, the dedication and the magic that happens here! I love being involved in a community that supports and encourages one another- including other staff members, parents, and volunteers. I am also a deep believer in the power of the horse and movement as a support to help people increase their participation in many important areas of their lives. I enjoy working outside in a natural environment.
Do you have a fun story to share about Little Bit? 
My mom volunteered here when I was very young and it is cool to come "full circle" and also be a part of this place, almost 30 years later!
What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have
I love running, hiking, backpacking, trail riding, and biking. I also enjoy cooking, baking, craft beer, photography and traveling. My husband and I also like to spend time with our black lab.
What is the one place or country you would like to visit, or revisit ? I lived in Austria for 4 years so I always love to go back and visit friends/family. My larger dream vacations include South America or Australia
Do you have a favorite food
I love pizza and ice cream. And kale. :) 
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Thanks for reading and thank you for your service!