Helper Safety

COVID 19 update March 2022

To keep everyone as safe as possible we have a general social distancing policy and various areas continued to be zoned to enable this. There is a one way system for participants and their carers on the gallery. Please do not come up if you are feeling at all unwell or have COVID symptoms.

On arrival at the centre  please sanitise your hands and sign in our fire register. (By the indoor arena entrance for participants and yard notice board for volunteers).

Please sanitise your hands before and after using all equipment used e.g. forks, shovels, rakes, wheelbarrows, pooper scoopers etc. There is a large pot of sanitiser on the yard and on the gallery.

Remember that you should maintain a social distance where possible from others.  Volunteers need to sanitise before and after supporting participants. It is highly recommended that side walkers wear face coverings, for their safety. 

If you become unwell during your visit, please inform the staff and leave the premises.

Thank you for volunteering at South Bucks RDA the Trustees appreciate the time that you are giving up to help provide riding for disabled people and looking after the horses and ponies.

You will be given training to help you help our riders, instructors and ponies but more information can be found in the Green Card Training Booklet.

What to wear:

Please ensure that you wear sensible clothes around the horses:014

Long sleeved or elbow length tops, with the top layer secured

Long trousers or Jodhpurs

Stout foot-ware: walking boots/ jodhpur boots/wellingtons/riding boots

Gloves for leading the horses and ponies

Well fitting warm hat in winter/ baseball cap in summer

Long hair should be tied back

Wear plenty of layers to stay warm/cool depending on the season.

Please wear gloves at all times when leading the horses.

Catching in and putting out into a field

Please take only one horse per person, where possible an extra person should see to the gates.
In the morning when horses are eager to get in you should wear a riding hat as well as gloves.

Horses should be tied up in the stall with a quick release knot, tuck the end in.
In the winter months, the horses and ponies will need to stand with their rugs resting over them.

Put a head collar on the horse and tie them up whenever you are dealing with them in a stable.

When putting back out, turn the horses to face the gate before you take the head collar off.

When putting out more than one horse at a time, leaders should release the horses at the same time.


Pick out the horse’s foot from the heel to the toe, keep to the side of the horse and face it’s tail. Remove any stones or wedged mud.
Brush off the horse, following the lie of the coat. Use a dandy brush for the horse’s body and legs, if the horse is clipped use a body brush.

Make sure all areas that have tack on are very clean to avoid rubbing the skin.

Report any cuts, bumps or unusual marks to centre staff or Di and Theresa (OMT).

The horses should be brushed off again after being ridden making sure that all signs of where the tack has been are now clean. In the winter they need to have their rugs put on before they go out to the field.

Tacking up:

Check you have the correct tack and note whether you need a noseband or head collar and the type of reins needed. (this is written on the ride list)

Ensure that the saddlecloth and any pads are even and pulled up into the gullet of the saddle.

Make sure the girth straps and webbing are flat. Check which girth straps need to be used, when there are 3 the ones in use have buckle guards on them.

Ensure the girth is flat and done up comfortably. If there is a balance strap take care to place it in the middle of the girth, between the buckles so it does not slide back or forwards pinching the skin.

If crossing the stirrups, pull the leathers down enough to ensure they lie flat.

When the horse is not mounted the reins need securing by twisting and putting the throat-lash through them.

Modified reins are usually fitted to the ring at the side of the head collar in the direction of the ordinary reins or on the bit for more competent riders.

Always double check your tack before presenting the horse to the mounting block. Check that the girth is secure, the reins ready and stirrups if needed are even or crossed in front of the saddle.

During the lesson:


Your job is to help support the riders’ control of the horse, encouraging the rider to do as much as possible themselves. We are aiming to develop independence.

Make sure you are wearing gloves.

Walk near the horses shoulder when using the lead rope,(stage 1 leading) by the rider’s leg if they are becoming independent. (stage 3)

You should avoid turning to face at your rider, keep looking where you want to go.

Have a ‘smiley’ lead rope between your hand and the horse’s head. (avoid having a tight lead rope)

Spare rope should be held flat in your hand.

Be aware of side helpers, they need space.

When changing the rein, make sure your rider is safe.

Keep checking in which direction your rider is attempting to steer their pony.

If you have side helpers, let them do their job supporting and reminding the rider.

_DSC0841Side Helpers:

Follow the instructor’s commands, repeat to the rider when needed.

Always check that you have enough room, you may need to tell the leader to move over.

Physically support the rider only when you have to, encourage them do as much as they can, we are aiming for independence.

Keep checking that the rider is in the middle of the saddle and straight.

Help the rider as needed to adjust their position to maintain straightness. You don’t have to wait to be asked.

Side walkers are advised to wear face coverings as they are less than 2m from their riders.

Other duties:

There are always jobs around the place that need doing:

Please ask the Centre Manager, Assistant Yard manager, Grooms or Di and Theresa (OMT) as to what needs doing.

For Example:

All tack  and riding hats should be sanitised after being used by a rider and before another rider needs to use it.

Tidying up

Sweeping the yards and the road way

Weeding – we need to keep the ragwort under control – especially during the summer months

Washing /mending rugs

Cleaning water troughs and in winter taking ice out of the troughs

Skipping out Boxes and Shelters

Poo Picking fields

Clearing vegetation from the fences


Where possible all jobs should be done in pairs, especially in the fields. (keeping socially distanced from April 2020)


Trustees South Bucks RDA 2021

Adults at Risk Policy

Vulnerable child policy