Monthly news & updates
March 2022
Session Updates
Sign up now to volunteer!

Our Spring Session is coming fast, and we will need LOTS of help! Sign up to volunteer using the link below. I will keep everyone posted on class needs as we get close to the start of the session, but it is very helpful if you could sign up as soon as possible! Thank you!

Training & Education
Volunteer Workshop!

Side Walking Techniques and How Horse Leaders can work more effectively with Side Walkers!

Monday, March 28, 2022
Please RSVP HERE by March 21

Join us for the first volunteer workshop of 2022! The focus of this workshop is on side walking- techniques, safety, teamwork, and more. BUT, this is not just for side walkers! Horse Leaders are encouraged to attend to learn how to more effectively work as a team when you have one or two side walkers! Get an opportunity to climb into the saddle and experience the different side walking holds, and feel how what horse leaders or side walkers do can effect you in the saddle!
By attending this workshop, volunteers will:

- Gain an understanding of different side walking techniques through discussion and hands-on practice

- Learn how to effectively work as a team with a horse leader and 1-2 side walkers

- Participate in mock class scenarios which will further develop understanding of how side walkers and horse leaders must work together

**RSVP SOON!** The first 6 volunteers to sign up are guaranteed to be able to ride (as long as we have enough other volunteers who can also be horse leaders and side walkers). We will do our best to get as many people in the saddle as possible! This will be a great way to kick off a busy Spring Session!
NEW Training Module!

Did you know that PATH Intl. has a standard which mandates we teach and rehearse emergency procedures with our volunteers? This is an important standard that we must adhere to! To make sure this information is accessible for all volunteers, we created a new training module dedicated to Safety & Emergency Procedures! This is an important module for ALL volunteers to review, and will be included for new volunteers as they complete their training.

Please take a few minutes to review this module and complete the quiz at the end (this should only take about 10 minutes). By completing the quiz, I will be alerted that you finished the module. I would like all class volunteers to complete this within the next few months. Thank you SO MUCH for your time!

Click the link below to get started!

New Training Video:
Safety Checks

In this month's training video, we wanted to share with volunteers what Instructors are looking for when we complete safety checks, and how volunteers can help us make this process go smoothly and quickly!
SMILES' YouTube Channel

Click the link below to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

COVID-19 Policy Updates
The SMILES Board of Directors has updated and approved our current policies related to COVID-19. Please take a moment to review the updates.

Review the updated policy here.

Please remember that the “common cold” and the flu are also communicable illnesses and can be very serious for certain individuals. Please be respectful of those around you and stay home if you are sick, whether it is COVID-19, the flu, or “just a cold.”
Virtual Tack Sale, March 18 - March 21
Our Virtual Tack Sale has been such a success, so we are keeping it virtual again this year!

Volunteers are needed to help set up tables, unpack and organize the tack and then after the sale we will need help to package the orders. If you are interested in helping, please sign up using the link below. Let's make this event another success!!

Check out our auction page HERE. Items are being added daily.

Also, if you have gift baskets to donate, SMILES would love them to make our silent auction themed baskets!

March Volunteer Spotlight
March Spotlight is on.....Heather Bluemel!!

How did you become involved with SMILES, and how long have you been volunteering?

I have been volunteering at SMILES for about 2 1/2 years. Prior to that, I went through a difficult divorce and had to quickly and unexpectedly rehome my two Arabian horses. I became a volunteer at SMILES after hearing such great things about it from several people, including a coworker of mine at that time. It has been very healing and rewarding to volunteer at SMILES!😊
Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Holland, Michigan (known for its shoreline on Lake Michigan and its Dutch Tulip Festival). Holland also had a pony farm where kids ages 12 and up could rent a pony for the summer. A chestnut Shetland pony named Dutchess provided the beginning of my love for horses. 

Who is your favorite horse at SMILES and why?

It is hard to pick just one favorite horse at SMILES but it would have to be Faith. She is pretty, sweet, calm, and I love her cute neigh. Bullet is a close second...I think he is a beautiful horse and fun to work with!

If you were gifted a million dollars, what would you do with it?

If I was gifted a million dollars I would definitely give some of it to SMILES and to equine and other animal rescues. It would also be great to do some traveling with my 3 daughters, their husbands and (hopefully someday) my grandchildren. We could start with a trip to see the Kentucky Derby!
What is something you like to do in March?

I am a runner and look forward to March for the beginning of warmer temperatures and better weather for running.

What do you enjoy about volunteering at SMILES?

There is so much to enjoy about volunteering at SMILES. The instructors are very caring and put so much creativity into their lessons. It is so inspiring to see how horseback riding and just being around horses helps and brings joy to the clients.
March Birthdays at SMILES!
Happy Birthday!
Hailey Ivens, March 1
Olivia Pierce, March 8
Jenny Junghen, March 8
Patsy Schneider, March 17
Jean Shriever, March 19
Bill Koch, March 21
Sherry Aune, March 23
Gail Magnuson, March 24
Dean Ridder, March 28
Find us online!
SMILES transcends traditional therapeutic methods by offering individuals with special needs the joy of participating in an equine-assisted program which provides social, emotional, physical and personal rewards.