Post by: Emma Knight
Well, they’re really invaluable. Priceless. Irreplaceable. Exceptional. Whichever way you write it, volunteers keep eventing going. It would be literally impossible to run horse trials the way they are now without volunteers. For example, you need scribes and runners for dressage, jump crew and timers, cross country jump judges and timers, and that’s just the beginning.
I was inspired to write a little blog about and for volunteers by the USEA. The US Eventing Association has recently started a new Volunteer Incentive Program, or VIP for short (Apps in the Apple Store and Google Play). It’s a way for organizers of the horse trials to keep easy tracking of volunteer sign ups. I also believe there are certain “incentives” for the volunteers as well, although the information on that is lacking. Be sure to check the VIP site for updates! One of my favorite event hosts, Stone Gate Farm, is trying the program at their spring event, the Winona Horse Trials (Hanoverton, Ohio – Area VIII).
My hope is that it makes volunteering easier and incentivizes more people sign up to volunteer. Volunteering is an important way to give back to the eventing community. Not only is it a form of community service, it’s a fun way to get to know the rest of the eventers in your area. There are usually multiple events throughout the year, as well as smaller jumper or dressage shows, so there should be at least one you can volunteer at in the year for farms near you.
Here are a few things to remember about volunteers:
- They are there all day: rain, sun, freezing cold, or sweating and hot.
Remember that volunteers aren’t just there for one ride. They are often outside all day, through all sorts of weather, doing jobs to make sure riders can get the best ride possible. Especially with cross country judges, who usually sit in isolated spots, giving a smile or a wave can make their day!
- They are there to help you.
Volunteers are usually riders or family members of riders. They know what it’s like to be in the place of a rider – so, anything you need (that isn’t unauthorized assistance), volunteers will usually be happy to help!
- They are committed to the sport of eventing.
If there is one way to tell if a person is committed to eventing, it’s volunteering. Like what I said before, volunteers are out all day to help you. They take time out of their days to volunteer so that you can ride.
So, smile, say hello, and volunteer if you can. Make sure to thank a volunteer the next time you’re at an event – they are there for you!
I am planning on vlogging my volunteer day at Winona Horse Trials on Sunday the 14th, so keep an eye out for that on my blog or YouTube channel!