MESA Therapeutic Horsemanship recognizes Outstanding Volunteers
Elaine Larsen helping with grooming.
November 12, 2014
For the past three years, approximately 40 volunteers have consistently donated their time helping Sublette County children who have disabilities learn to ride horses.
Since June 2012, MESA’s enrollment has grown 35% now serving 34 riders throughout 2014. Our volunteers in 2012 committed 349 volunteer hours to MESA riding lessons alone. In 2014, MESA volunteers gave 468 hours of time and talent to the program.
Without this dedication and time committed by volunteers, MESA would not be able to provide the riding lessons to these children. Lesson volunteers may serve in many different roles: preparing the horses for lessons and leading during lessons, serving as a side walker helping the children ride while walking at the side of the horse, and project volunteers assisting with craft activities and the organization of boots and helmets. All of these duties are essential to the success of the riding lessons.
Each year, MESA recognizes those volunteers who go above and beyond the regular duties of the program and give an extraordinary amount of their time and talent to the program.
The 2014 Outstanding volunteers are as follows:
2014 Volunteer of the Year: Elaine Larsen
Elaine came to each lesson full of enthusiasm, humor, and kindness that was so infectious that the riders, horses and staff loved having Elaine around. She wouldn’t take "I don’t want to" or "I can’t" for an answer from her riders, and her persistence always resulted in her riders having a great time during lessons. She was flexible enough to fill in at a last minute’s notice and keep everything running smoothly. Elaine volunteered in both the Big Piney and Pinedale lesson programs and dedicated nearly 50 volunteer hours to MESA throughout the year.
2014 Outstanding Teen Volunteers: Katelyn Moller and Lydia Seeman
Katelyn Moller, a junior at Pinedale High School, and Lydia Seeman, a freshman at Big Piney, both dedicated a huge amount of time to MESA as lesson volunteers. Both ladies were regular volunteers during all three six-week lesson sessions which started in April and finished in mid October. The girls volunteered around their school schedules and were fantastic role models during their lessons.
2014 Equine Advocate: Sandy McGinnis
Along with being a lesson volunteer, Sandy’s greatest dedication was to our MESA horses. Sandy took great care and time in evaluating the MESA horses and ensuring their health and safety. Sandy personally donated a substantial amount of hay and senior feed to the MESA horses. Most of our MESA horses are old and in need of supplements and tender loving care. Sandy was there to be sure they were all comfortable and happy.
At MESA, horses help us heal and strengthen the lives of children with disabilities. Individual goals are developed to help address their physical or cognitive limitations. MESA develops life skills to help riders gain confidence and self-esteem, teaching them respect, honesty, and self-discipline. Through our network of cooperation between parents, volunteers, and instructors, our mission is to lend a hand to our neighbors who need it the most. MESA is a powerful program that not only touches the lives of the riders that it serves, but it enriches the lives of everyone it touches: riders, adult & teen volunteers, family members, and the horses.
Photos courtesy MESA