Frequently Asked Questions
How many facilities does GaitWay have?
GaitWay operates at two locations in the Baton Rouge area. The majority of lessons take place at GaitWay Farms, located in St. Gabriel. We also offer lessons at the Louis Mouch Jr. Multi-Purpose Facility in Port Allen.
Are there any lessons that involve working with horses without actually riding?
The content of each lesson is customized to suit the needs of the rider. Some of these lessons include groundwork, which means that the rider completes exercises or tasks that do not involve mounting the horse. The benefits of these experiences are as equally rewarding as mounted lessons.
Do I need to provide my own horse or tack to ride at GaitWay?
You do not need to provide your own horse or tack to ride at GaitWay. GaitWay has a large family of experienced therapy horses that are available for use in lessons. GaitWay has all the necessary equipment to ride, including saddles, bridles, stirrups, helmets and more.
Who teaches lessons at GaitWay?
Mareike Budo, a PATH certified instructor, teaches riding lessons along with Laura Powell. Mareike has several years of experience in therapeutic riding instruction and is able to mentor new instructors seeking PATH certification. Laura has been with the program for eight years and completed her PATH certification in June.
What clothing do I need to wear to volunteer at GaitWay?
If you are coming to volunteer at the barn, please make sure that you wear closed-toed shoes. Boots are ideal, but not required. For the safety of the volunteer, flip flops and sandals should not be worn. For attire, we recommend comfortable clothing that allows you to move around easily. Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. If the weather has been rainy around the time that you are volunteering, be prepared for muddy areas around the farm and plan accordingly.
If my family member is taking lessons at GaitWay, am I permitted to watch lessons?
Yes, family members are more than welcome to watch lessons. We ask that everyone who visits GaitWay Farms follows the general rules of farm etiquette. This includes using inside voices in the barn, refraining from running on farm property, avoiding sudden movements and loud noises around the horses, respecting GaitWay property and equipment, and treating all people and animals in a courteous manner. We encourage you to take photos or videos of your rider but ask that you avoid using flash photography.
What types of volunteer opportunities are available at GaitWay?
GaitWay offers a variety of volunteer opportunities. During lessons, each rider requires two sidewalkers and a leader – that’s three volunteers per horse! This allows our riders to learn while also experiencing the highest available level of safety. GaitWay also needs help maintaining the farm and caring for the horses. If you would like to volunteer with GaitWay but are not open to working with the animals, we also need volunteers to assist with administrative work in the office, planning and supporting the facilitation of special events, attending community events on behalf of GaitWay. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit this link.
Does GaitWay offer lessons to able-bodied riders?
Yes, but space is limited. Priority is given to family members of current riders. To learn more about riding opportunities at GaitWay, visit this link.
Do I need to have prior experience with horses before riding or volunteering at GaitWay?
No, you don't. Each volunteer will attend a training session before participating in lessons. Riders are introduced to the horses and surrounding environment at a pace that is appropriate for their level of experience and ability.