Great Oak

Great Oak Volunteer Application

WELCOME TO GREAT OAK EQUINE ASSISTED PROGRAMS VOLUNTEER PROGRAM! Thank you for your interest in volunteering with Great Oak! Volunteers are the key to the success for all of our programs. Great Oak will provide the necessary training, continuing education and guidance to make your volunteer experience safe and enjoyable. This manual will serve as a guide to volunteer expectations and opportunities. Please contact our office if you have any questions during your time here with our program. Once you have completed orientation you will be scheduled to attend a volunteer training. The training will give you the tools to encourage a successful lesson and or session utilizing verbal and physical support. Great Oak offers volunteer enrichment programs and continuing education opportunities throughout the year to broaden your horsemanship skills, knowledge and learn more about working with individuals with special needs.

Basic Info

First, let's get your basic info. We use Wranglr for helping to schedule our volunteers. Please enter your name, email and mobile number. This info will be used to communicate openings, your schedule and important info from Great Oak. Make sure you have access to both the email account and the mobile for texts.

Photo & Publicity Release

PHOTO RELEASE FORM Permission to Use Photograph I grant to Great Oak, its representatives and employees, the right to take photographs of me and my property in connection with the above-identified subject. I authorize Great Oak, its assignees and transferees to copyright, use and publish the same in print and/or electronically. I agree that Great Oak may use such photographs of me with or without my name and for any lawful purpose, including for example such purposes as publicity, illustration, advertising, and web content.

Additional Info

Why do we need this info? Some volunteering roles and duties might require you to work with larger horses, carry heavier things, etc. We also work with Participants that have many different needs and the below information helps us make more informed decisions for our Participants and Volunteers. Please fill out whatever info you are comfortable sharing with us.

Contact Info

Emergency Contact

Experience and Health Info

Medical Waiver

Any Medical Information we should be aware of ?


Our programs change lives and foster unbridled personal growth, independence, and confidence for our students. We share our knowledge to empower those of all ages with disabilities through learning and engagement for lifelong impact. Knowledge + Respect + Impact Our advantage is our knowledge and experience. We leverage our assets in a state-of-the-art facility that is supported by generous contributions from many of our local patrons and students. In the past 5 years, we have served over 800 unique individuals through creative programming, dedicated volunteers, certified instructors, and our fantastic herd of award-winning GO Ponies. Great Oak now manages a facility that allows for transformative growth through equine-assisted activities in all seasons. We believe that riders aged 4 years and older with emotional, cognitive, and physical challenges will find that equine interaction may improve their condition. Prior to programming, all potential participants must complete a screening session with Great Oak PATH certified staff. As we grow in our community and beyond, we look forward to the new adventures and journeys that our students will go on with us, and we know we cannot do it alone. It can take up to three volunteers and an instructor for each individual session. We provide thorough training for volunteers assisting with therapeutic riding lessons, barn management, office administrative tasks, fundraising efforts, or community outreach. Great Oak is located on a picturesque 40-acre farm five minutes from downtown Aiken, South Carolina. Aiken is among the foremost equestrian communities not only in the Southeast but also in the nation. It seems imperative that Aiken should be home to one of the PATH certified riding programs. We share our expertise to empower individuals with special needs and their families. We aim to see our students discover a new relationship with the horses through thoughtful programs that guide and nurture the riders. Simply put, we change lives. Help us build the future at Great Oak.

Important Information and Acceptances

General Liability Release

GREAT OAK EQUINE ASSISTED PROGRAMS RELEASE OF LIABILITY, WAIVER OF RIGHT TO SUE AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT WARNING: PURSUANT TO S.C. CODE ANNOTATED SECTION 47-9-720, AN EQUINE ACTIVITY SPONSOR OR AN EQUINE PROFESSIONAL IS NOT LIABLE FOR AN INJURY TO OR THE DEATH OF A PARTICIPANT RESULTING FROM AN INHERENT RISK OF EQUINE ACTIVITY, AND NO PARTICIPANT OR PARTICIPANT’S REPRESENTATIVE MAY MAKE A CLAIM AGAINST, MAINTAIN AN ACTION AGAINST, OR RECOVER FROM AN EQUINE ACTIVITY SPONSOR, OR AN EQUINE PROFESSIONAL, FOR INJURY, LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DEATH OF THE PARTICIPANT RESULTING FROM AN INHERENT RISK OF EQUINE ACTIVITY. On behalf of myself, my personal representatives, heirs, next of kin, spouse, and assigns hereby acknowledge that horseback riding involves serious risks and that it is not possible to foresee or prevent all such risks. I am aware that the fall of a rider from a horse and other accidents involving the horse and its rider can be caused by sudden, unforeseen occurrences and that a fall or other accident can be crippling or fatal to the rider and may cause an injury to or the death of the horse. I understand that the behavior of horses can be unpredictable and irrational regardless of their past training and past performance. On behalf of myself, my personal representatives, heirs, next of kin, spouse, and assigns hereby acknowledge the risks related to COVID 19 also known as the Coronavirus. I agree to hold Great Oak harmless from any claim for illness or death arising from the Virus that may be alleged to have been caused directly or indirectly from exposure to the Virus at any facility maintained by Great Oak or at any function organized by or on behalf of Great Oak. I agree that Great Oak shall not be liable for any sickness, disease, or death which may be suffered by myself or any guest or invitee of mine arising from our relationship to the Virus. I agree that all risks relating to the Virus are to be borne by me. I hereby assume the sole responsibility for and agree to indemnify, defend and save Great Oak harmless from any and all loss and expenses (including legal and expert witness fees actually incurred) by reason of the liability imposed upon any of Great Oak due to illness, including death at any time resulting therefrom, sustained to myself, my guests and invitees, on account of the Virus. I expressly warrant and represent to Great Oak that neither I nor any of my guests or invitees have knowingly contracted nor been exposed to the Virus nor are any of the aforesaid exhibiting any symptoms of the Virus. In the event that I later discover that the aforesaid representation and warranty is false in any manner, I agree to immediately notify Great Oak and provide as much detailed information as is available. In light of the above, I voluntarily assume the risk and danger of injury or death inherent in the use of the horse, equipment and gear provided to me by Great Oak Equine Assisted Programs, and/ or its officers, directors, employees, agents, sponsors and volunteers (all of the aforesaid being collectively known as “Great Oak”). If I have requested my own equipment be used, I agree that Great Oak shall have no responsibility to maintain such equipment and that safety hazards may be present. I agree to and do Release, Discharge, and Promise Not to bring a lawsuit against Great Oak doing business under their own name or any other names. I agree and promise to hold Great Oak harmless and to fully indemnify then from and against any claim, judgment, or expense that may incur arising out of or in any way connected with either my use of the horse and any equipment provided therewith or the facility and landowners, or any acts or omissions of other employees and agents and volunteers. I agree to abide by and follow any instructions given or rules established by Great Oak. The laws of the State of South Carolina shall govern this release and waiver. If a court holds any portion of this release invalid, it is agreed that the remainder of this release shall continue in full legal force and effect notwithstanding the invalidity of some part of it. I HAVE READ THIS DOCUMENT. I UNDERSTAND IT IS A PROMISE NOT TO SUE AND A RELEASE AND INDEMNITY FOR ALL CLAIMS. I SIGN THIS RELEASE VOLUNTARILY.


All information (written and verbal) regarding participants for Great Oak is confidential and is not to be shared with anyone without the expressed written consent of the participant or parent or guardian of the participant. The use of rider or horse information/photographic materials for personal use especially on social media is not acceptable. All published materials or information must come from Great Oak or have the approval from Great Oak and affiliated parties. If it is reported to Great Oak that information about our organization, staff, riders, horses or other volunteers is being exploited on social media, you may be asked to leave the program.

Background Check Release

At Great Oak, we require a Background Check for our Volunteers.
GREAT OAK VOLUNTEER OATH We are safe: Great Oak volunteers will engage in best practices as set forth in Volunteer Training. Safety is our number one priority and it is each volunteer’s responsibility to ensure that they are providing a safe environment for our participants and equines. We are kind: Great Oak volunteers will display kindness toward participants, families, staff, and other volunteers. We are respectful: Great Oak volunteers will show compassion toward participants and their families. Inappropriate and derogatory language will not be tolerated. Use of such language could result in a volunteer being removed from the program. We are considerate: Great Oak volunteers will always do their best to honor their commitment to Great Oak. If a volunteer is unable to make their scheduled shift, they will provide as much notice as possible to Great Oak staff. Great Oak volunteers understand that their presence is imperative for the riders to participate in their lessons. A volunteer no show may prevent a rider from participating in their lesson. We are conscientious: Great Oak volunteers will always communicate safety concerns including those involving participants, equines, property, volunteers, and staff with Great Oak staff. This includes your personal safety and well being. If you are unhappy with your current role at Great Oak, please communicate with Great Oak staff so we can develop a solution. We are consistent: Great Oak volunteers understand that Great Oak equines are to be handled in the manner that is set forth by Great Oak staff. If a volunteer has suggestions, they should bring it up with Great Oak staff and never implement a change in an equine’s routine without consent. We are flexible: Great Oak volunteers understand that Great Oak has set forth policies and procedures. However, daily programming will involve many variables and volunteers may be required to adapt to a variety of situations. Failure to adhere with the Great Oak Volunteer Oath may result in removal from the program.