Volunteers are the backbone of Guardian Oak

Volunteers are an essential part of fulfilling Guardian Oak’s mission! We could not operate without the dedication and hard work of our wonderful volunteers, who help us keep the animals happy and healthy. Many volunteers do not even set foot on the farm, or work with the horses regularly - there are tasks for everyone's interests!  Essentially, volunteers assist with educational, recreational, and therapeutic programs, and help us ensure that visitors and participants have a positive experience at the farm. Volunteers help us ensure that the animals and people who come here for healing receive that healing through positive interactions. While some of our residents are owner surrenders, other animals come from backgrounds of neglect and/or abuse. Rebuilding trust through patient care and attention is an important part of providing sanctuary or preparation for a future home.

Equine volunteers

  • Perform daily care of the horses - throwing hay, preparing and feeding grain, supplements and medications, and checking water tanks to refill or scrub as needed
  • Cleaning the barn and arena
  • Assist with herd health days - de-worming, vaccinations, hoof trim days, teeth floating, etc
  • Assist with regular and therapeutic riding lessons and trail rides
  • Help exercise horses as part of the rehabilitation process - both ground work and riding
  • Simply spend time with the horses
  • Teach horse-related clinics, classes, in-service workshops, etc
  • Assist with equine transportation - to events, pick-up of rescues, and trips to the vet
  • And more!

Non-equine volunteers

  • Assist with online, website and social media projects
  • Manage the GO gift shop and resale shop
  • Do special maintenance and landscaping projects such as replacing fencing, painting, performing repairs, and more
  • Develop and maintain the community garden
  • Maintaining and marking trails for riding and walking
  • Teach non-horse clinics, classes, and in-service workshops
  • Create crafty or useful items for GO to sell at craft fairs and in the gift shop
  • Interact with the public by sitting at the GO booth at craft fairs and community/regional events
  • Run independent fundraisers or assist with GO-organized fundraisers
  • Solicit donations from local, regional, and destination businesses, to be used in silent auctions, raffles, giveaways, etc
  • Assist with administrative aspects of the programs
  • Develop the art studio and maintain schedule of artists and art-related workshops and clinics
  • Serve on Board of Directors or Friends of GO Advisory Council
  • And more!

How can I become a volunteer?

  1. Begin by signing up through our YourVolunteers account (click here); there you can register your interests and view available shifts.
  2. Fill out the comprehensive application (click here) , which will let us know your current knowledge, skills and abilities and your interest area. 
  3. Volunteer orientations occur on an as needed basis. Please email us to confirm your attendance and receive the on-boarding documents which you will need to sign and return either via email or bring to orientation.

We do not have a minimum requirement for hours, but do ask that each visit, you commit at least three hours of your time. Volunteer t-shirts are available in return for a donation; the suggested donation amount is $15 which you may submit through PayPal or bring in person. Regular volunteers should wear a bandana of the color appropriate to their current level of volunteerism. Bandanas will be available through the gift shop.

Level? Color? What's this?

While event, virtual, and other periodic volunteers are welcome and appreciated, we have a system through which regular volunteers can develop their ranch, animal, and horsemanship skills. As volunteers spend more hours at GO and build skills, they move through color-identified levels. Upper level volunteers are entrusted with leading other volunteers in various projects and may be entrusted with independent projects related to the rehabilitation and care of horses. Learn more during volunteer orientation!

Frequently Asked Questions

How old do I have to be to volunteer?
We love to allow families to volunteer together- many such opportunities provide special time for bonding! Please be aware, however, that GO does not provide free babysitting service for volunteers; you can contact us to discuss your circumstances. From age 11 up and with parental consent, youth volunteers may begin to participate in our summertime, after school and weekend horsemanship programs.

I don’t know much about horses, but would love to learn.  Can I still be a volunteer?
Of course!  There are plenty of opportunities available outside of working with horses, such as in the community garden and art studio, among others. We will also help you learn basic handling and grooming of the horses. We stress safety first, and start volunteers with our most gentle horses.  We’ll also try to team you up with an experienced volunteer to help you out.

I have experience with horses.  What can I do to help?
We welcome volunteers with experience to help get our horses ready for new homes and assist with various programs.  We follow natural, relationship based horsemanship, and are working on implementing holistic horse care options.  Materials on new information will be provided as we learn and grow together.