Gaitaway Stables offers volunteer opportunities to anyone 13 years or older with an interest in helping us do chores and maintain the farm. Help us do our work for 2-3 hours, and earn a 1 hour lesson. Lessons are transferable, so parents can work off lessons for their younger children, or teens can gift lessons to their parents, friends and siblings. Earned lessons can be taken after helping with morning feedings or scheduled independently. Alternately, boarders can work off some of their board each month or earn exercise / training sessions for their horse.
Most volunteers come out to help us for feedings and stall cleaning, which are generally scheduled at 7am~8:30am and 6pm~7:15pm daily. Some choose to schedule to come out for half days; work one feed and help with other chores, and take the lesson they earn the same day. A few people opt to volunteer full days, and ride more than once while they're here. Common non-feed chores include putting out hay to the horse fields, maintaining and repairing fences, clearing fences and trails, repairing damage (usually washouts) in fields, cleaning out run-insheds, and spraying weeds with herbicide.
Neicha is a semi-retired surveyor who found Gaitaway in early 2011, after a friend gifted her with a rescued Tennessee Walking Horse named "Scooby". Not having any previous experience with gaited horses, Neicha joined the crew at Gaitaway to learn more about how her new friend was supposed to move, and how she could best ride him. By asking questions and discussing any issues and concerns she has succeeded in growing Scooby from a raw greenie into a solid, reliable trail horse. Herself, Neicha has learned to be a confident, balanced rider we trust with all our horses. Just watch she doesn't spoil their dinners with extra cookies & carrots!
Chase started with us as a paying student, and when he turned 13 he immediately had his Mom give us a call so he could join our volunteers. As a home-school student in the online public schooling system, Chase comes out for half a day each week. His enthusiasm for being here is unmistakable.
Jenn is one of our boarder-volunteers, now. Originally a volunteer-student and college student, she came to us with a love of horses and riding and a desire to get some more exercise into her regular schedule. After a lesson horse she'd fallen in love with named "Breeze" came up for sale, Jenn became a boarder. These days Jenn is our Facebook guru, and she and "Breeze" competed in their first (for both of them) gaited horse show in July 2016.
Domino, known on the sound show circuits as "American Warrior" is Trina's show racking horse. Play some old-school AC/DC and watch him groove to the beat; Domino loves to perform for anyone. He is the herd boss in one of our gelding fields, a wonderful mentor for young and green horses, and prince of the farm.
"Sparky the Wonder Pony" is an amazing half Tennessee Walker pony. A spunky but eminently responsible fellow, he works mostly as a lesson pony for children, but loves to ride with adults, too. Sparky is certain he's the hottest thing on 4 hooves, and unlike many ponies he strides out like a full sized horse.
Airplane is a retired Standardbred pacer who has been retrained as a trail and lesson horse. Capable of performing 9 distinctly different gaits, Plane is a very versatile horse and does wonderfully as our "intro-to-gaited-horses" mount for both novice and experienced riders.
Remy is a Tennessee Walking show horse, and knows Steve.0 as "Dad". With the classic Walker flat-walk and running-walk, and a strong sense of humor, Remy is another wonderful teacher for those particularly interested in gaited horses.
Johnny, "Prince John MacGruder" is a sweet lug of a horse. Johnny was very sick as a colt, having seizures and falling over; when his owners lost hope, his farrier took him and brought him here in the hopes Trina could effect a recuperation. It worked, but when he was well, Trina couldn't stand to see him go, and bought him. Johnny grew up to be a very talented Walker with an amazingly smooth gait, capable of keeping up with some cantering horses in his brilliant running-walk.
Splash adopted Steve.4 shortly after he came to the farm. Described as a "Barcalounger", a"Volvo", a "chicken", and a "piglet", Splash has been a lesson horse at Gaitaway since he moved in at the age of 2 and a half. A very smooth gaited and reliable horse with a gentle nature, he takes on the more apprehensive new riders.
Bud is our baby-sitter horse. He's played nurse-maid to several weanling colts, guiding and teaching them to be good adults. Having broken his back before he came to Gaitaway, he only works with lighter riders. He takes great pride in working with young riders, and the trust we give him with the youngest students.