Volunteer FAQS

How do I become a volunteer?

First, sign up online using our Volunteer Application. Our Volunteer Coordinator will be in contact to set up an orientation/training session.


Do I need to sign up in advance or can I just stop by to volunteer?

We ask that all volunteers sign up in advance so that we can ensure the proper paperwork is complete and that our volunteers have a positive experience with proper orientation and training.


What are the volunteer roles?

Learn more on our Volunteer Information page.


What can I expect volunteering with This Old Horse?

Though our volunteer opportunities vary greatly, all volunteers will be a part of a welcoming community and will know that their work is greatly appreciated. And don't forget that doing good feels good!


What can This Old Horse expect of volunteers?

  • Commitment: If you sign up to volunteer, we count on you, as do our horses.

  • Safety: Our policies are in place to ensure the safety of both humans and horses. We ask that volunteers help ensure their own safety and that of others by following these guidelines and reporting any safety concerns in a timely manner.

  • Clear communication: Life happens, and sometimes volunteers are unable to keep their regular schedule or have to change their commitment level. We ask that volunteers communicate early and often if they have questions, concerns, or changes.


Where is This Old Horse located?

Our home is Wishbone Ranch, located at:

19025 Coates Blvd.

Hastings, MN 55033


From Highway 52, go West on 190th Street.

Take the first left to go South on Donnelly Avenue.

We are the first farm on the left.



How often can I volunteer? Is there a time commitment requirement?

Some This Old Horse volunteers help out once every six months, and others are out at the farm twice a week. We want This Old Horse to be a fun, manageable part of your life, so you get to decide how often you volunteer.


What is the minimum age requirement for volunteers?

Kids age 7 and older can volunteer. We require that anyone age 16 or under is accompanied and supervised by a responsible adult.


I don't have any horse experience. Can I volunteer?

Of course! We will provide training and ensure you are working on tasks that make use of your skills and are within your comfort zone. Some volunteer opportunities require certain levels of horse experience to ensure the safety of all involved.


I have a physical and/or cognitive limitation. Can I volunteer?

Yes! We pride ourselves on creating a welcoming, inclusive community and are able to adapt our volunteer opportunities to ensure the safety and involvement of anyone who wants to help. Some volunteer opportunities require certain levels of physical and cognitive ability to ensure the safety of all involved.


I don't want to work around horses. Are there volunteer opportunities for me?

Yep! We have volunteer opportunities that don't directly involve horses.


I have extensive horse experience. Why do I have to undergo your training?

Trust us: Your expertise makes you a valuable part of our community! We require that all volunteers participate in our training so that they learn and understand the "This Old Horse" way. This allows us to ensure everyone's safety, both human and horse.


Can I bring a group?

Of course! Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator to set up a visit for your group. We do require that everyone volunteering at the farm completes our Volunteer Application, including signing a liablity waiver and informed consent form.

Can I bring my children or pets to the farm when I volunteer?

If your children or pets are going to distract you from your volunteer role or pose a safety risk, we ask that they do not acompany you to the farm. 


A responsible adult must accompany children under age 16 at all times unless prior permission has been granted. Small children must be in hand at all times and are not allowed to yell, run, or otherwise spook horses or annoy clients. Children are not allowed in the pastures or paddocks.


Dogs are permitted on stable premises so long as 1) they are under their owner’s control at all times (if necessary, on a leash, in a crate, or otherwise in an enclosed space), 2) on-duty staff are made aware of dog's presence, and 3) owner takes care to clean up any waste. Under no circumstances are dogs to be kept in lobby, permitted to chase other animals, or allowed to disrupt stable activities including but not limited to lessons, feedings, etc. Stable may, in its discretion, refuse to permit a particular dog to return.


What should I wear to volunteer at the farm?

We require that everyone working around/near the horses wear close-toed shoes. We recommend wearing long pants, clothes that can easily be washed, and layers that you can shed if you work up a sweat (horse work is hard work!). If you frequent another barn, please have a distinct set of clothes (including shoes/boots) that you wear soley for volunteering with This Old Horse; some equine illnesses can be spread via clothing and could put horses at both barns at risk. 


What if there is inclement weather?

We will inform you if an event or other volunteer opportunity is cancelled due to inclement weather. Our horses require care rain or shine, snow or sleet, so if you are involved with an activity such as feeding, we ask that you do your best to make it to the farm as long as you can safely do so.


I can't make it for my volunteer commitment. Who should I notify?

Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator.


I have questions, concerns, or suggestions about volunteering. Who should I notify?

Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator.


Do you accept court-ordered community service hours?

Yes, in certain circumstances we accept court-ordered community service volunteer hours. Contact our Volunteer Coordinator for more information.


Have a question that didn't get answered? Contact us.

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© 2019 This Old Horse, Inc.   .  651 . 437 . 1889  .  info@thisoldhorse.org  .  19025 Coates Blvd., Hastings, MN 55033

This Old Horse logo designed by Sue Shadow.  Principle photography on this site is by Toni Thomas.   Additional photography by Ronnie Hartman Images.