HETRAHeartland Equine Theraputic Riding AcademyWhere Miracles Happen Every Day

Without our dedicated Volunteers we wouldn’t have a therapeutic riding program!

We would love to have you join the HETRA team. To become a volunteer, you DO NOT need to have experience with horses or the handicapped! All it takes is one volunteer training session, and you are on your way! Volunteer training dates are listed on our events calendarClick here to sign up for the next volunteer training!


HETRA is always looking for dedicated and motivated individuals to become part of the HETRA team. All new volunteers need to attend the volunteer training session and complete the proper volunteer paperwork prior to assisting with sessions. At this training session volunteers will be assigned to duties that match their skill and comfort level including sidewalking and equipment/toy assistant.

In order to keep our sessions as controlled as possible HETRA tries to create a leader and two sidewalker team for each student. It is very important to the progress of the student that this team stay consistent. Therefore we ask that our volunteers commit to at least one 2-3 hour time slot per week for an 8 week course (please refer to the events page for when courses start and end). We understand that not everyone can make this type of commitment. If you would still like to volunteer but can’t come every week we encourage you to put your name on our substitute list.

interested in volunteering?

Check out the events page of the web site for the next scheduled volunteer training, or contact us at Volunteers@hetra.org or call 669-1504 if you have questions about volunteering.  Click here to sign up for the next volunteer training! Please download the volunteer paperwork and handbook and bring it with you to the training.

download volunteer paperwork

Volunteer job descriptions

Equipment/Toy Assistant*: This volunteer is between the ages of 12 & 14, and is responsible for assisting the instructor with retrieving equipment that may be needed in the arena. They also assist with many of the games and activities that the students participate in. All equipment/toy assistants must attend the volunteer training session.

Sidewalker*: This volunteer walks next to the rider and assists the rider with balance and exercises. The sidewalker must go through the new volunteer training session.   All sidewalkers must be at least 14 years of age.

Schedule Keeper*: Responsible for keeping sessions on schedule. Marking down when students get on and off, and making sure everyone is doing their assigned task. Schedule keepers must go through the volunteer training session.

Grooming/Tacking*: These volunteers are responsible for assisting the Barn Leader in grooming and completing tack changes on the horse, and helping with general barn clean up such as tack cleaning and stall cleaning. Those interested in becoming a Groomer/Tacker must have volunteered a minimum of 20 hours as a sidewalker or Equipment/Toy Assistant before attending the grooming & tacking skill training, and must pass a proficiency test prior to participation as a groomer/tacker.

Horse Leader*: This person is responsible for leading the horse during the treatment session. All horse leaders must have volunteered for a minimum of 20 hours as a groomer/tacker or sidewalker before going through a horse leader skill training and must pass a proficiency test prior to participation as a horse leader. All horse leaders must be at least 14 years of age.

Barn Leader*: Responsible for all activities in the barn area including:

  • Bringing horses in and out of the pens.
  • Working with the groomers and tackers to get the horses in the barn, groomed and tacked with the appropriate tack prior to the next lesson.
  • Doing a final tack check before the horse is taken out to the arena.
  • Making sure stalls are cleaned and bedded appropriately.
  • At the end of the night making sure horses are being put away correctly, all tack is put away correctly and the barn is clean and ready for sessions for the next day.

Volunteer/Fundraising Committee: These committees meet one time per month and are responsible for the fundraising and volunteer recognition & recruitment for the organization.

Administrative Assistants: These people help with the general administrative duties of the organization including help with filing, typing, newsletter, mailings.

Special Events: These people help with special events including set up and clean up and provide support for the activity. Special events help is also needed to help find or make items for our silent auction and raffles.

*These volunteer positions require the participant to complete the appropriate training sessions prior to their participation. Volunteers must be at least 12 years of age to be a HETRA Volunteer. Leaders and Side walkers must be at least 14 years of age and demonstrate appropriate maturity and decision making ability.

Days and times that sessions are conducted:

Valley Barn: Monday-Thursday late afternoons and evenings, Saturday mornings & Sunday Afternoons

Omaha Barn: Monday-Thursday late afternoons and evenings & Sunday Afternoons.

Please call Edye at (402) 669-1504 for more specific days and times as these times fluctuate frequently.