Volunteer Spotlight – Lindsay Donat

This winter, Endeavor had the pleasure of working with Scarsdale High School sophomore, Lindsay Donat, who interned with us for one month as part of the Scarsdale Alternative School Program. Lindsay was a huge asset to us and helped with everything from ground programs and hippotherapy, to caring for the horses and doing administrative work. Lindsay is a hunter jumper rider, and we asked her to share some of her experiences with horses and tell us what brought her to Endeavor:

I've been riding horses since I was about seven. I have never owned a horse, but the horse that's had the biggest impact on me was a mare named Betty. I met her at a point in my life when I was a lot more shy, and she had come from a rescue and was very guarded especially around new people. Over time she started to show me a lot of kindness, and I just felt very connected to her. It was the first time I had really seen how horses have such complex personalities and how horses and people can have strong bonds.

I was interested in interning at Endeavor because I really enjoy working with horses, and because I was interested in how a non-profit works. I also was very curious about therapeutic horsemanship and was amazed at all the different ways horses can help people and wanted to see it firsthand.  

After helping in classes here at Endeavor and seeing all the incredible ways working with horses impacts the participants here, I find myself realizing all the ways that working with horses has impacted me as well. My other passion, aside from working with horses, is music. I play classical double bass. Most people would probably assume that music and horseback riding have nothing to do with each other at all, but I've found a lot of overlap. I've learned through many years of riding how to deal with my emotions so that they don't interfere with what I'm doing, which has been useful for all sorts of things but especially when I'm feeling some stage fright while performing. Riding has also taught me how to be aware of and have control over tension in my body, which is super important when trying to sound good while playing. I worked with this one horse a lot who had a ton of energy and was trained a specific way as a saddle seat horse, so that if you tensed even one muscle, he would start running around. I often remember that horse when I'm trying to get a relaxed arm for something like good vibrato or even tone. Riding really taught me how to have confidence, since there have been a lot of times where I’ve needed to have trust in my instructor that I am safe and capable, and that I just have to move forward with what I'm doing. Working with horses and around barns has also helped me develop a good work ethic.

We’re so happy we got to work with and get to know this bright young woman. Thank you for all your help, Lindsay!