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Volunteer at Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch and Doris Day Equine Center

Help us make a difference for animals in one of the many volunteer roles at our East Texas ranch

  • Vicky and Linda are representing Black Beauty Ranch (a Level 2 duty), at an open house event. Judy Keown

  • Level 1 volunteers are cleaning the Chimpanzee bedrooms for the Primate Team. The HSUS

  • Glenn, a Level 3 volunteer, spends 3 days a week volunteering at Black Beauty Ranch with the Facilities Team. The HSUS

  • At the Doris Day Equine Center, Horsemanship Track volunteers help prepare horses for adoption. The HSUS

  • At the Doris Day Equine Center, Horsemanship Track volunteers help prepare horses for adoption. The HSUS

About our volunteers

At Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch (CABBR) and Doris Day Equine Center (DDEC), volunteers are essential to our ability to provide care to almost 1,000 animals of more than 40 different species daily. They contribute in a wide variety of ways ranging from administrative work, helping with maintaining the grounds, building enrichment toys for the primates, grooming and caring for the equines, and coordinating special events such as our open house or tabling events. Importantly, our volunteers have fun and make new friends, while helping animals.

The Doris Day Equine Center also offers a special horsemanship program that teaches volunteers about horsemanship and prepares potential adopters to become better caregivers. In this program, volunteers learn ‘hands on’ horsemanship, while serving a vital role in horse rehabilitation. Volunteers also help with horsemanship education and outreach activities. Progression through the system enables volunteers to work with more difficult horses and participate in more educational opportunities. Many of our volunteers participate in the Doris Day Equine Center horsemanship program in addition to other, non-horsemanship activities on CABBR.

Black Beauty Ranch location

The Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, which includes Doris Day Equine Center, is located in Murchison, Texas.

Volunteer opportunities

Click on role title to view an expanded position description.

Equine Team Assistant: Assist the equine care team with mucking, feeding, grooming, and provide other equine care as needed.

Facilities and Maintenance: Assist with general maintenance and repair of the ranch.

Garden Club: Help keep our gardens flourishing by providing general garden care.

Horsemanship Track: Develop horsemanship and equestrian skills through natural horsemanship approaches while preparing equines for adoption.

Office and Outreach Assistant: Provide administrative support to staff by helping with common office duties such as data entry, photocopying, filing, and answering phones. Represent CABBR and DDEC at local community events to promote our programs, services, and horses available for adoption, as well as promote our volunteer programs to members of the public.

Primate Team Assistant: Assist the primate care team with cleaning, feeding, and providing enrichment for primate residents.

Wildlife Team Assistant: Assist the exotic care team by cleaning, feeding, and providing general observation of the exotic animals at CABBR.

Note: Volunteers may be considered for other volunteer positions once they complete 60 hours of service.

What our volunteers say 

“Black Beauty Ranch is heaven on earth for animal lovers. Volunteering at the ranch makes me feel good about helping animals, and it’s a great feeling to know that when I leave, the animals are in such good hands. I leave the ranch feeling like a million bucks after I’ve spent the day there, and on top of the having the privilege of hanging out with some fun animals while volunteering, I get to do it among some very cool people. As animal lovers, we never meet a stranger at Black Beauty Ranch.” —Pam Duffy

“We have learned so much about horses and horsemanship at Doris Day Equine Center: Love, Language and Leadership! I am so impressed with the teaching we have received. It has been safe, respectful of us as learners, considerate of our skill level, patient, and also has given us a chance to experiment with new techniques learned....It has been so wonderful to experience all aspects of owning a horse. As my other daughter, Jamie, said to me after helping out one day at the Doris Day Equine Center, “Mom, I like this place, the people here are nice and it is so well organized.” Thank you all! You all have created a special place for horses and those who want to learn how to help horses.” —Beth Boyd and daughter, Karli Boyd

“There is nothing like the feeling of driving home after a hot, sweaty, dusty afternoon at the ranch smelling like a burro and knowing that I made a chimp happy that day.” —Stacy Smith

“I just love coming home hot and sweaty with hay in my hair and horse slobber on my clothes. It comes from knowing I've had a wonderful day with the hands on experience and the unconditional love I receive from these magnificent horses.” —Donna Talley

Benefits of volunteering

Regular volunteers at Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch and the Doris Day Equine Center are able to meet and work with like-minded people while having the opportunity to learn about animals. Volunteers have the opportunity to make a real difference for our animals while participating in activities that involve caring for more than 40 different species ranging from tortoises to horses to chimpanzees. Volunteers in the Doris Day Equine Center's Horsemanship program will assist the trainers while they prepare horses for adoption. They will learn about natural horsemanship in a supportive and motivating environment. They could showcase adoptable horses at events, have access to guest instructors, wellness clinics, seminars and library materials.

Becoming a volunteer

Commitment Policies:

  • Our goal is to ensure you have a good volunteer experience, while creating consistent, trained volunteers to assist our staff. We maintain a minimum 4-hour volunteer shift. Depending on the volunteer role, shifts are somewhat flexible, but work typically needs to be completed when the majority of our staff works: between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • There are 3 options for the initial volunteer commitment: Fast Track (4 shifts in 6 weeks), 30 in 90 (30 hours in 90 days) or Group / Occasional Volunteer (1-4 shifts per year). After the initial commitment period is complete, continuing volunteers are asked to work one, 4-hour shift each month, if possible.
  • The Photography Club and Tour Guide Team roles have different commitments (not currently accepting applications for these roles). Please review the position descriptions linked above for additional information.
  • Please let us know your initial and long-term availability in your application.


  • Volunteers under 18 must have permission from a parent or guardian to participate in our program. Teens 16-17 may work independently after attending the orientation with their parent or guardian. Teens 12-15 can volunteer with a parent or guardian as their partner at all times.
  • All volunteers must have current tetanus inoculation.
  • Volunteers who seek to work in our Primate Care team must provide proof of vaccination against Hepatitis A & B and provide proof of a negative TB titer.
  • Volunteers must meet the requirements of the Essential Capabilities document.
  • We can accommodate some court-ordered community service in our program. Please note there may be restrictions on the types of volunteer activities allowed for mandated service.
  • Volunteers must pass a criminal background check.
  • Volunteers are provided with one t-shirt to wear during their volunteer service; additional shirts are available for sale.


  • Complete an online application form linked below. A staff member will contact you to discuss opportunities and schedule you for an orientation.
  • If, after the orientation, we mutually determine that the opportunity appears to be a good fit, you will be asked to fill out an authorization form allowing us to carry out a background check based on the type of position for which you are applying.
  • Following the orientation, a nominal fee of $25 will be due to help cover our expenses and to cover the costs of the first volunteer t-shirt. (These fees may be waived upon request if they would cause a barrier to an applicant’s ability to become a volunteer; please contact us directly if you would like to discuss the fees.)
  • Before your first shift, you will be asked to sign a volunteer agreement and a waiver and release of liability.
  • After you are made an official volunteer, you will be trained in all aspects of your volunteer work.

Apply now

Please apply for the position that interests you most. After you submit your application, you’ll have the opportunity to indicate other roles in which you might be willing to participate. Be sure to list all of the opportunities you're interested in so we can assign you where your help is most needed. Please also be sure to indicate the days/times you are available to work.

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