Melanie was blessed to have grown up with horses in her backyard. Learning from the horse itself, Melanie strives to understand all aspects of horsemanship, not just riding. She began giving riding lessons to beginners at age 12, working at a horsemanship camp at age 13, and volunteering at a therapeutic riding facility at age 16. Melanie’s passion to use horses to reach hurting children began early and never left. She began college classes in Human Services with a goal to attend a college that offered a degree in Equine Therapy. Melanie married her high school sweetheart, Nate, while working to help grow an equine assisted program when she was diagnosed with degenerative arthritis in her spine. Melanie had to reluctantly quit all her dreams and pursuits in horses to strengthen and protect her spine. But the dream never died. When she knew that Take Heart was growing and had a need, she was thrilled to serve in a capacity that furthered her similar passion while utilizing the skills she had to give. Melanie has twin girls (who also share her passion of horses), a dog and two cats, as well as her childhood horse, Shallea. She enjoys fostering animals, gardening, art and hosting game nights for friends. If you are interested in volunteering in any capacity, please reach out to Melanie at

Volunteers are appreciated because their help allows Take Heart to grow and serve more people in our community! There are many ways to help:

  • Barn Duty team
  • Horse Enrichment team
  • Horseback Riding team
  • Administrative help
  • Special Events
  • Work Days & Special Projects
  • Landscaping & Facility Care

Melanie Garland, Volunteer Coordinator

Volunteer Work Days

Hope. Healing. Horses.

The Take Heart property is a beautiful wooded property, and each part of the facility used for horses and therapy has been built by us (with lots of help!). Interested in helping with projects at Take Heart as we grow and develop new areas to work with people? Most months we plan a work day, and anyone is welcome to come - just email Melanie for dates and so we can get a head count!

Volunteer Opportunities