Thank you for your interest in becoming a volunteer at
Kankakee River State Park Riding Stables.
Work to Ride
There are many opportunities to earn work hours that can be used for Trail Rides, Lessons, Carriage Rides and Pony Rides for yourself or whoever you might want to gift them to.
1. Stable Hand
There is a lot of work caring for horses and the most important is taking care of their basic needs of food, water, and shelter. A Stable Hand’s:
- primary duties are mucking stalls, cleaning water and feed buckets, and cleaning other areas of the barn inside and out (picking up garbage, sweeping, emptying garbage cans, etc.)
- help with feeding and watering horses inside and outside,
- may include helping with saddling and grooming horses and assisting riders and trail guides before and after trail rides,
- may include helping with hand-led pony and hand-led horse rides.
2. Barn Buddy
Every horse needs a person to give it special attention. Horses are social creatures and love the attention that a caring human can give. A Barn Buddy is assigned as a special friend to an individual horse. A Barn Buddy’s:
- primary duty is to spend quality time with your assigned horse, this can include grooming, walking around the property, etc.,
- serve as an extra pair of eyes to make sure the horse is in good health and has not had any changes in behavior,
- when special care is needed for the horse, you are trained in what to do and help monitor their progress.
3. Facilities Maintenance/Repair and Trail Maintenance
- When there are horses, there is always something needing fixed. With the size of our herd, we require extensive ongoing maintenance and repairs.
- We are a business open to the public, it is important that we keep the grounds neat and welcoming.
- Facilities Volunteers assist with general maintenance, repairs and improvements to the buildings, fences, and the grounds.
- Maintaining the Riding Trails is an ongoing daily/weekly activity during the riding season.
- Preparing the Trails each year for the Riding season consists of clearing fallen trees and branches and sometimes rerouting sections of the trail.
- Marking and clearing new trails is usually done in the Spring before the leaves come out- this is labor intensive.
4. Parties and Special Events
We do cowboy themed parties for children and adults. These volunteers:
- assist with the planning, organizing, and hosting of the events,
- assist with the ponies and horses for the events,
- assist with set-up and cleanup at the event, and overall coordination throughout the process.
5. Administrative Volunteers
- help check in customers assuring that the Release Forms are signed appropriately, take payments and other customer related dutues,
- help with the general administrative duties of the stables including helping with filing, maintaining horse, tack, and maintenance logs,
- help take reservations and various other office tasks.
6. Special Skills Volunteers
Special Skills volunteers help by using their expertise in various program areas. If you have experience with a skill such as arts and crafts, grant writing, photography, public relations, technology, graphic design, landscaping/grounds keeping, etc.
Prospective Volunteers need to:
- complete an interview process which includes a completed Volunteer Application (request via email or pick up at Stables),
- if accepted as a Volunteer you will need to bring a driver’s license, or another form of government-issued photo ID or school ID,
- complete a Release of Liability form. If you are under 18 years of age, you must have your Application and Release of Liability form signed by a parent or legal guardian.
New volunteers must attend a volunteer orientation session and in certain instances, additional training sessions specific to their roles.
The volunteer orientation includes an overview of our equine activities, an opportunity to meet our horses, and an overview of our policies and procedures and volunteer opportunities available.
At the conclusion of the orientation session, volunteers will confirm their role(s) as a volunteer and if necessary, sign up for additional training. Roles include stable hand, barn buddy, facilities maintenance and repair, trail maintenance, special events, office volunteer, pony walker, etc.