Volunteer Bulletin

Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center
March 2017
In This Issue...
Reins of Life Auction
Continued Education Opportunities
Substitute Arena Shifts
Spring Break Horsemanship Camp
Summer Camp Intern Needed
Saturday for a Cause
Food for Thought: Billets
Tack Room Organization
Water Conservation
Volunteer Spotlight
Meet our Staff
Important Dates 
March 4
Combined Paddock and Horse Leader Level I Training

March 6
Program Volunteer Training 

March 15
Captain / CiT Meeting 

March 17
Horse Leader Level I Training

March 18
Saturday for a Cause - KE Fitness

March 22
Deadline to drop off Auction donations

March 29
Training Team Training
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
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, 5:30-6:30pm
  • 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:
  • Sat, March 4, 4-7 pm* (includes Paddock Training prerequisite)
  • Fri, March 17, 6:30-8:30 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 from 6:30-8:30pm.

Training Team Training  will be held on  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! 
Substitute Arena Shifts 
Help us finish off Winter Session with a BANG and  Sign Up to Substitute!  

By signing up online, you help us to cut back on the calls we make each and every day to ensure classes run smoothly.  And, it's easy! You can view available openings and schedule yourself from any internet-connected device. 

Need help? Check out these instructions or c ontact  Lindsay Shepard .  
Spring Break Horsemanship Camp
Join us for a week of fun at the barn while school is out to learn everything you've wanted to know about horses and horse care!

Horsemanship camp is open to individuals with and without disabilities. 

Date: April 10-14
Time: 9:00-12:00 (ages 5-8), 1:00-4:00 (ages 9+)
Cost: $350
For more information or to register, visit www.littlebit.org. 
Summer Camp Intern Needed
We are currently seeking a Summer Camp Intern to assist the Camp Coordinator in the development and implementation for our horsemanship day camp activities. 

Little Bit's Summer Camp is a unique program that caters to riders of all ages with or without developmental and or physical disabilities. 

The intern will be in a leadership role by supervising the activities that they or the camp coordinator have planned. This opportunity is also valuable for those who are interested in pursuing a PATH Intl. Certification. While this is not a paid position, housing is available.

  • Leading fun, safe and educational ground activities with horses
  • Planning age appropriate activities for campers
  • Planning and implementing 1-2 weeks of camp under the guidance of the camp coordinator
  • Horse experience required
  • Experience serving people with disabilities preffered
  • Completion of Washington State Background Check
  • Current CPR and First Aid 
Hours and Days:
  • July 10- August 24, 2017
  • Monday-Thursday 8AM-2PM
If interested, please send a cover letter and resume to Natalie Steilling .
Saturday for a Cause - KE Fitness
Lets make exercise about more than just heart rates and love handles!    

Kutting Edge Fitness  is putting the FUN in fundraise!

Please join us for a circuit training class to raise money for Little Bit. 
Saturday, March 18, 9 - 10 AM
8524 122nd Ave NE, Kirkland
All fitness levels are welcome! Bring friends or make new ones.
Minimum Donation: 
$10  (all proceeds go to LB)
Food for Thought: Billets
Why are th ere only three billets on English (typically jumping) saddles? 
Many people believe the third is a spare in case one of the others breaks. But billets are really hard to "accidentally" break off!
In fact, there are three, and sometimes even four, billets so that you can adjust the saddle fit depending on the horse's conformation. 
Assuming the saddle fits well, the first two billets will keep the saddle from slipping forward. The first and third keep it central, and using the last two will help keep the saddle from slipping backwards.
You can use this to help keep the saddle from pinching the horse's shoulders or sliding back.
Dressage saddles will typically come with two billets with the ability to change their location for the same purpose as above. If you see a D-ring shaped hook up near where the billets connect, those are alternative locations to attach the billets.  However, these would typically need to be changed by a saddle fitter which is not nearly as convenient as the permanent three on jump saddles. Sometimes the second billet will have a "Y" shaped attachment. This too allows you to adjust the angle of the pull.

Thank you to Ardelle Rivera, with  Northwest Equine Association, for this month's Food for Thought! 

Do you have further questions about billets? Contact Little Bit Instructor Jane Chapin
Every 'Little Bit' helps - Tack Room Organization 
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!! 

One way you can help  is to keep our tack room clean and organized by taking a moment to look around and familiarize yourself with the equipment and where it is kept. Helping put items back in their own spot will make preparing horses for class easier and quicker. 


Each horse has their own rack for their roma pad. Check the pads hanging to see if any need to be de-haired. To de-hair a pad you can use a clean stiff brush or curry mitt to brush off the hair.
Supracore pads can be de-haired
Make sure the extra pads, such as Aero, Prolite, Mattes, are all well organized and on their proper shelf.

When organizing the pads and you may come across some that are wet. Place pad wet side up on top of a saddle, allowing the pad to dry before the next use.

Check to make sure the stirrups are hanging on the peg number to match the stirrup.
Remove all devs and place them in the blue hanging bins in the arena.

Check to make sure the saddle is hanging on the rack that matches the number on the back of the saddle. The front of the saddle should be near the wall with the back end of the saddle, where the number is facing outward.
Run up stirrups on saddles if the stirrups are hanging down. Exception: Western stirrups hang down.

GIRTHS: *all dressage girths are color coded

Long leather girths: make sure they are hanging on their appropriate size nail.
Short black girths: hangthem on the appropriate nail. 
*these are color-coded
Water Conservation at Little Bit

During "pumping season" our efforts to limit the amount of tap water running unnecessarily in the Welcome Center and the Tack Barn will save us  from money literally going down the drain!
When a toilet malfunctions and the water is left running (usually because of flush handle adjustments get out of whack) the volume of the water that goes down the drain can cost us over $300 per hour in septic pumping charges -- YIKES!!

If you notice that a toilet is constantly running, please report the problem to any staff member immediately
Thanks for your continuing efforts to be water-conscious and help Little Bit save on water and septic charges! 
Volunteer Spotlight:  Diane Johnson
What motivated you to volunteer at Little Bit?
I previously volunteered at two other equine-assisted therapy facilities when we lived in Colorado. When we moved to the Seattle area 5 years ago, I was delighted to find the opportunity to continue doing similar volunteer work at Little Bit. It is not an exaggeration to say that magic happens in the interaction between horse and special needs rider.  For me, the ability to witness that magic is a gift. I've seen first words, first steps, and the biggest smiles ever at Little Bit, and it just keeps me coming back for more.
Which Little Bit horse is your favorite, and why?
That is a hard question to answer, because I truly like working with so many of them. These days,  I'd have to call it a tie between Zorro and Star.  They both seem to delight in showing affection to their riders at the end of a session.
Do you have a funny or meaningful Little Bit moment you can share?
One of my favorite Little Bit moments occurred a few years ago with a young rider who was extremely squirmy, and non-verbal.  It was all we could do to keep the little guy on his horse during his sessions, let alone help him learn to ride independently. The therapist would routinely try to distract him with different colored balls, enticing him to choose one.  "Do you want the blue ball or the red ball?" she would ask.  If he pointed to one, she would give it to him, and he would sit a little more quietly while examining it.  On about the third or fourth session, the therapist upped the ante, and insisted he say the color of the ball before getting it.  To everyone's surprise, he blurted out an entire sentence, saying, "I want the blue ball."  Those were his first words, and represented a communications breakthrough for him, and his family.  Today he is an adaptive rider riding independently!
Do you have a hidden talent, or a hobby you love to spend time on? 
Aside from riding my own horse, I love growing fruits and vegetables, and sharing the produce with friends and family.
What's one piece of advice you'd give a new volunteer?  
Get to know the Class Assistants!  They are a wealth of information, and lots of fun, too.

Diane has given over 460 hours to Little Bit since beginning her service five years ago! She has gone through extra training to become a level three horse leader, supports our new volunteers as a member of our Training Team, and is committed to spreading the Little Bit magic as a volunteer on our Speaker's Bureau. Thank you, Diane, for your unwavering dedication to Little Bit! 
Meet our Staff: Devon Stone
What do you do here and how long have you worked for Little Bit?
I am a part-time Instructor.  I have worked for Little Bit's Summer Camp since 2013 and as an Instructor since May of 2016.
What do you love most about Little Bit?
I love learning from the many different people who make Little Bit possible!
Do you have a fun story to share about Little Bit? 
My best story from my time with Little Bit is about one of our horses. Della has a reputation for being pretty particular about her space and the horses she likes around her. However, she truly is the sweetest girl with her riders! One rider made a painting for her as a 'thank you' for such a wonderful session together. The rider asked, since Della was in the Tack Barn getting un-tacked after their lesson, if Della could see it. With the rider watching, I held up the painting for Della to look at. Della reached forward and gently brushed her nose across the painting with a look that seemed like approval. It was like she knew the painting was important. Her rider walked away ecstatic and I made sure Della got extra carrots that night!
What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have? 
I love to hike and explore new places.
What is the one place or country you would like to visit, or revisit?
If I ever do more traveling, heading back to the Galápagos would definitely be my first stop.
Do you have a favorite food or drink?
I don't have a favorite food mainly because I have too many I like!
Tell us something fun about yourself?
I use to play rugby in college.
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Thanks for reading and thank you for your service!