My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Saffyre Sanctuary, Inc., Sylmar, CA, USA
I have been volunteering with Saffyre Sanctuary for a little over a year. The first time I went was as a part of a larger volunteer group, but my experience was so great that I went back again by myself. And then again. And again.
I didn't know that much about horses when I first started, and I'm a little ashamed to admit that I was even afraid of them. But, like any assumption held in ignorance, the more you learn, the less you fear. I consistently learn something every time I go - about horse physiology or behavior in general, or about one of the horses individually. You hear a lot of people say about horses that they're "magnificent" or "noble" or "beautiful creatures," which they are, but they're also complex individuals with separate identities: likes, dislikes, quirks, fears, love, hurt -- just like us. They also have a sense of humor, as evidenced by the frequency with which they lay a big pile down in the stall you JUST finished mucking out. Magnificent, indeed.
When you volunteer at Saffyre you can expect to shovel horse manure, sweep stalls, fetch water, and haul hay. If you can't physically handle all that, don't let it put you off -- there are many ways for all ages and abilities to contribute, people are kind, and all help is valued.
While it feels wonderful to do something that benefits others, the reason I keep going back is that it also benefits me. Aside from the cathartic aspects of throwing yourself into pure physical labor, there is a peacefulness that comes from the horses themselves. It settles over you while you're there, and stays with you a while after you leave. When you've been there a few times, you'll recognize it; when you can't get out there, you'll crave it. It's a magical, intangible horse thing that's hard to explain - you'll just have to go.