Service-Learning Apprenticeships

Service-Learning Apprenticeships

Carlisle Academy’s Apprentice Program offers community members a valuable educational exchange based on a service-learning model. The Academy’s Therapy Program thrives in part because of the dedication of people who offer their time and talents to help our therapy students reach their fullest potential.

There are three tiers of apprenticeship: Sidewalker, Lesson Assistant, and Equine Assistant. Our tiered system is designed to safely place any participating and qualified apprentice into a designated role while also encourage an apprentice to learn more about the Academy programs. The following is a summary of prerequisites for each tier of apprenticeship (an asterisk* means participants will need to go through an assessment by Carlisle Academy Staff to determine program eligibility and readiness)

Tier I (Sidewalker):

The primary role of a sidewalker is assisting students in the Therapy Program by walking next to them during the lesson and offering varying levels of physical support as needed. Sidewalkers may also assist the instructor or therapist in carrying out activities during the lesson. Occasional help with facility and equipment upkeep is also needed.

  • 14 years old or older
  • 2 hours minimum weekly commitment
  • Side walker training module (2 hours)
  • Walk/running ability
  • Tack cleaning and tack room cleaning
  • Ability to follow 3 stepped directions
  • Reliable, punctual and solid communication skills
Photo of sidewalkers and a therapy student

Tier II (Lesson Assistant):

The primary role of a lesson assistant is to assist the instructor or therapist with the grooming aisle, activity room, or arena activity stations. The lesson assistant may be asked to assist with tacking or untacking a horse and arena/activity room set up or breakdown.

To be eligible for a Tier II position you must fulfill the prerequisites for a Tier I as well as the following:

  • must be 16 years old or older
  • 4 hours minimum per week commitment
  • Ability to lead, groom, and tack a horse (grooming aisle equine)*
  • Possess intermediate level of horsemanship skills required*
  • Knowledge of safety and precautionary measures when working with horses*
  • Backgrounds in health and/or education are desirable but not required

Tier III (Equine Assistant):

The primary role of an equine assistant is to assist with equine warm ups prior to lesson time, including fetching and releasing horses prior to and after warm ups or lesson, grooming and tacking, and horse stretches after work day. Equine assistants may also be asked to prepare or breakdown an arena for a lesson, clean barn aisle, tack and tack area, and record documentation related to horse use or activity assigned. Space is limited.

An Equine Assistant must be 18 years old or older and fulfill all the prerequisites for a Tier I and II as well as:

  • 4 hours minimum per week commitment
  • Possess advanced level of horsemanship*
  • Have the ability to safely and effectively exercise select therapy horses for lesson warm ups, while showing proficiency in walk, trot, and canter and putting the horse on the aids*
  • Excellent time management and work organization skills
  • Complete Carlisle Academy’s Horse Handler Training Course*

* Participants will need to go through an assessment by Carlisle Academy Staff to determine program eligibility and readiness

Apprentice benefits vary depending on their level of participation. In return for a commitment to service, apprentices are offered enriching benefits which include, but are not limited to:

  • Access to 10% discount on traditional lessons at the Academy for oneself or child.  Apprentices must have been actively participating in past three months or during the season in which you want to ride. 
  • Access to free auditing to any Carlisle Academy clinics (Para-Equestrian, Dressage, Eventing, Pony Club, Horsemanship).

To apply for the Apprentice Program, interested individuals must be at least 14 years old and complete an application packet. After acceptance into the Apprentice Program, individuals must attend a mandatory two hour training taught by Carlisle Academy staff.

2021 Apprentice Refresher & Training Dates:

Term 1: Thursday, February 25th  from 1-3pm

Term 2: Thursday, June 24th from 6-8pm 

Location: Classroom and Covered Arena

A photo of therapists, assistants and therapy student.

For more information, contact the office at 207-985-0374, or email your inquiry to Alissa Luckey at