It's SIRE's mission to improve the quality of life for people with special needs through therapeutic horsemanship activities and therapies, and educational outreach.

Volunteer FAQs

What is SIRE? Where is SIRE located? What does a volunteer do? What are the requirements to be a volunteer? What kind of commitment is required? What are the days and times available to volunteer? (subject to change) What is the environment like at SIRE? When does the next semester begin? When are the next orientation and training sessions? What happens at orientation and training? What do I do if I am not sure this is for me?

WHAT IS SIRE?
SIRE, Houston’s Therapeutic Equestrian Center, is a therapeutic horsemanship program for people with disabilities. We serve approximately 210 clients per week ranging in age from 3 years old to adults. SIRE is a premier accredited center with PATH International, the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. top of page
WHERE IS SIRE LOCATED?
We have 3 locations: Hockley – NW of Houston, close to Magnolia (see map) 24161 Spring Drive Hockley, TX 77447 Spring – East of I-45, north of FM 1960 (see map) 4610 Sloangate Spring, TX 77337 Richmond, Fort Bend County -  At  Richmond State Supported Living Center (see map) 2100 Preston Street Richmond, Texas 77469 top of page
WHAT DOES A VOLUNTEER DO?
Volunteers can: 1. Be a SIDEWALKER – walk beside the clients as they ride to assist with balance and to reinforce the instructor’s directions. No horse experience needed. 2. Be a LEADER – lead the horse in the class, possibly groom and tack up the horse. Prior horse experience is necessary. Volunteers will work with the horses from the ground, not be asked to ride. 3. Volunteer outside the arena – fundraising, publicity, office help, special events, etc. There are also volunteer opportunities where you can work from home. top of page
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO BE A VOLUNTEER?
Arena volunteers (Leaders and Sidewalkers) must be at least 14 yrs. old and physically able to walk for 60 minutes, jog for short distances and support a modest weight. Attendance at an Orientation and Training session is also required. Horse Leaders must pass a tryout. 14 -17 yr. olds must have a parent/guardian sign the release. top of page
WHAT KIND OF COMMITMENT IS REQUIRED?
You can volunteer for as little as 1 hour per week or as much as you want. SIRE has 12-14 week fall and spring semesters and a 6-week summer semester. We ask that arena volunteers commit to at least 1 hour/week for the entire semester. This is important because you will be part of a team, usually working with the same client each week. You will develop a rapport with the clients you work with and can help them to build on their accomplishments from week to week. If you cannot make this kind of commitment, you can be put on the substitute list, where regular volunteers will call you when they need to be absent. top of page
WHAT ARE THE DAYS AND TIMES AVAILABLE TO VOLUNTEER?
NOTE: Volunteers are needed at 30 minutes prior to the start and after completion of classes. Take this into consideration when committing to your time availability. Initial times below are one hour before each class’s start.
Hockley site:
noon – 8:00 pm, Tuesday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm, Wednesday – Thursday 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, Friday 8:30 am – 1:30 pm, Saturday
Spring site:
3:00 – 8:15 pm, Monday 7:45 – 12:30 pm, Tuesday 3:00 – 8:15 pm, Wednesday 3:15 – 8:15 pm, Thursday 7:30 am – 12:30 pm, Saturday
Fort Bend site:
8:00 am – 8:30 pm, Tuesday 8:00 am – 12:45 pm, 1:30-3:30 Wednesday 8:00 pm – 7:30 pm, Thursday 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, Friday 8:00 am – 2:00 pm, Saturday top of page
WHAT IS THE ENVIRONMENT LIKE AT SIRE?
The atmosphere at SIRE is upbeat and fun. The clients will amaze and inspire you. Some classes take place in a covered arena, some in an outdoor arena. Work around horses is never a “clean” job, so be prepared to get dirty and sometimes go home smelling like a horse! top of page
WHEN DOES THE NEXT SEMESTER BEGIN?
Please check our Calendar for the latest info. top of page
WHEN ARE THE NEXT ORIENTATION AND TRAINING SESSIONS?
Please check our Calendar for the latest info. Other training dates may be available on an as needed basis. You will be contacted by the Volunteer Coordinator if we are in need of volunteers on a day you are available prior to the next training sessions. top of page
WHAT HAPPENS AT ORIENTATION AND TRAINING?
Orientation is a 2-hour session on a weekday evening where you will receive and review a handbook, tour the facility, fill out paperwork and begin your training. Hands-On Training is a 3-5 hour session on the following Saturday where you will practice the responsibilities of sidewalkers and horse leaders. Those who wish to be Leaders should sign up at Orientation for a tryout which will be conducted Saturday morning from 8:00-9:00 am. Those who pass the tryout will have a Leader Training session from 9:00-9:40 am. Sidewalker trainees should arrive by 9:30 am on Saturday. Wear sturdy, comfortable, closed-toe and heel shoes. Boots or sneakers are fine. Absolutely no sandals! top of page
WHAT DO I DO IF I AM NOT SURE THIS IS FOR ME?
We invite you to come out to observe during the class times listed above. Please call and make an appointment so someone will be available to assist you.