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Staff & Volunteers

Support of Many

   Lessons require many volunteers, as each child is attended to by a leader and two side walkers. Therefore the volunteers are the real backbone of the program. You do not need a strong horse background to volunteer as a side walker, just a desire to contribute to the programs.

   Horse leaders must be experienced in handling horses for the safety of the riders and volunteers. Volunteers are also needed for barn and arena care as well as clerical needs. SHADOW Equestrian provides a training program for each volunteer to insure the quality and safety of our lessons and facilities. All of the directors, instructors, and staff members work on a strictly voluntary basis.

  SHADOW Equestrian head instructor is Kay Drissel. She received her NARHA Instructor certification in February of 2003. She is a retired teacher with thirty years experience. She has many assistant instructors that she has trained by using the NARHA Instructor guidelines.

Staff and volunteers


Kay E. Drissel (President), 1907 Monroeville Rd. Monroeville, NJ 08343Phone: (856) 694-4034     Email: shadoweq@verizon.net



   I have been a volunteer with SHADOW Equestrian since its very beginning five years ago when we were operating at another NARHA(North American Riding for the Handicapped Association) facility.  Shortly after I started, I came to realize that whatever problems I may have had, they paled in comparison with the struggles that these special children have overcome.  When they are riding their special horse, and do something as simple as shooting a basket and making it, their pride and joy is immeasurable.  I can’t even think of spending a Saturday morning doing anything else.
Chris, volunteer, age 55



   I am a retired teacher who has been volunteering at SHADOW Equestrian for almost three years.  I still marvel at the small miracles that I witness each week.  Children come to us crying and timid, not wanting to touch a horse, let alone climb on one.  They are smiling and eager to ride and participate in our many activities in a few short weeks. Our instructors know just how much to challenge each child so that he or she will perform tasks designed to improve learning and motor skills.  It’s a positive experience for all of us.

From Joann, volunteer (age 59)


   It’s funny how things happen…at a Bridge Club game, my mother-in-law was talking to her friend, who mentioned that her daughter-in-law just started a riding facility for handicapped children and was looking for volunteers.  My mother-in-law told her that the experience would be perfect for her granddaughter because she rides and loves horses.  She knew I would be willing to drive her anywhere if there were horses involved.
So, I took our daughter and two of her friends from our 4-H Club to SHADOW Equestrian to meet Kay and find out what happens at a riding facility that works with special needs children.  The girls decided it would be interesting to volunteer and we took the paperwork home with us.  I looked it over and saw they needed volunteers to do secretarial work, I completed an application and checked off that box.
That was four years ago, and not only do I sidewalk with the students, I also teach!  I never imagined that I could do anything like this and I love it!  I have met many amazing children and their very special parents.  My daughter will be graduating from high school  in 2008 and going off to college, but I will still be volunteering at SHADOW Equestrian.  I can’t imagine my life without it.

From Patti, volunteer
(age 48)



   Imagine watching a child take their very first step or hearing them say their very first word. Now imagine yourself being the one that helped that child reach their first out of many goals. The feeling it gives you is something I have been able to feel for the past four years because of being a volunteer at SHADOW Equestrian.  Being part of the SHADOW Equestrian family has given me the opportunity to work with many different children and watch each and every one of them grow in their own special way.

SHADOW Equestrian is not just a place where a volunteer comes, works their hours, and goes home.  It is much more than that.  The SHADOW Equestrian volunteers are one big family, one that I am proud to be a part of.  I simply love coming each week to not only work with the children but to catch up with a group of volunteers that have become my close friends.

Nicolle Capanna, volunteer
, age 17