Horse Life

Volunteering

I have a confession to make: I’ve never volunteered at an event.

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Not that I haven’t wanted to. I know events couldn’t run without volunteers and I always make sure to thank volunteers at events I compete at. But there are only 2 venues under an hour from me, and neither of those use volunteers since they’re family run. Most venues that I go to are 2+ hours away and if I’m going there it’s to, ya know, compete. Especially this last year where P and I so badly needed to just get out and do all the things.

 

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Like completing our first BN ever…and on our dressage score at that!

 

But I also feel like there’s a lot to be learned from volunteering so maybe missing out on competing wouldn’t be the absolute end of the world. I’d love to scribe for dressage for sure. And while running a warm up ring seems more like herding cats, I think that’d be interesting as well. I’m not sure I have the attention span to be an XC jump judge, though.

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There are a couple upcoming CTs at Carolina Horse Park, which is just over 2 hours from me. I have no interest in hauling that far for just a CT, and so far have no conflicts with their Feb date so that might be a good place to start. But it just seems like a lot of driving, especially since my vehicle is an F-350 dually.

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My main conundrum is that my weekends are often full. If I’m not at a show, I can usually be found on a trail somewhere with barn friends. And if I’m not doing horse stuff, I’m, ya know, with my family.

 

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Even if we are a bit dysfunctional. It took 20+ attempts to get a decent Christmas picture.

 

So tell me…do you volunteer? How often? Favorite job? How far do you/will you travel to volunteer? Inquiring minds want to know!

 

35 thoughts on “Volunteering”

  1. I had never really volunteered much before joining our XC club. The membership offers $100 off of fees if you volunteer a total of 8 hours during the year, so liking my money, I got in there and offered all the help I could. I ended up mostly helping with xc setup putting out the flags and numbers for our derbies and it turned out to be so much fun. It was also a great way to get to know people in the club a lot better!

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    1. I wonder if they’d let me help with setup if I was competing…the places around here give credits that can be used toward HT entries (which is awesome) or schooling days, which is nice for the venues that don’t allow outsiders to school. It’s just sooooo far!

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      1. You should offer! We almost always need help with setup at our one days. Also, a couple of pros at the USEA convention said that they would LOVE to be able to help with setup or send students over to help with setup in lieu of actually volunteering during show hours becasue they are, you know, showing. And having experienced people who know the measurements and order of a dressage court helping set up is great. PLUS you learn a ton about setting courses etc. when you do it!

        I’ll travel to volunteer, but in CA the demands are even higher — more like 4+ hours of driving to get to a venue to volunteer at (that isn’t the show I run). I always volunteer at events that I am riding at. It’s almost impossible with a 1 day, but on a two or three day show there’s plenty of time to help out.

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      2. I definitely will! Since I tend to go up a day early, plus I only have one horse, I have the time during horse trials. I’d love to do course set up and all that, that’s really interesting to me.

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  2. i am still giggling over your xmas family photos. LOL. And no i dont volunteer (and should totally) i have no excuse. I am glad you are considering it. I too thank the volunteers at all my events. But i havent bitten the bullet to do the actual volunteering. i agree about the jump judge roles. I would be Doug the dog too. I dont want to run dressage tests back and forth. I guess i need to find a role where i can help. My friend scribes and you have a great attention span for that too. i feel I would stop to scratch my nose or something and be four horses behind. 🙂 HA HA HA

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  3. I volunteer usually 3-4 times a year, whenever I can make time in my schedule and am not showing (some people can juggle volunteering with showing – I am not one). Our closest show venue is 2 hours away, so yes it’s quite a commitment to get down there to give my day away, but I also know that this sport simply can’t exist without it unless we want to start paying h/j prices. It seems like a duty, really, so I make sure that it happens. It can definitely be a great learning opportunity too, whether you’re jump crew or dressage scribe or XC jump judging (if you want a rules refresher, that’s a great way to get it!) but even on down to jobs like running scores. Nothing is too complicated, but you get to spend the day at the show, watching and learning. Keep in mind that some jobs you have to work your way up to and “earn”, at most venues… the core volunteers generally get the jobs that require more experience or proficiency. At least for us. If the volunteer coordinator is smart they’ll give the “hardest to eff up” jobs to the newbs. 😉

    It’s time consuming, yes, but it’s necessary, and there’s plenty to learn. Our venues give credits, too, that you can use for XC schooling or schooling shows, so there’s a bit of “payoff” there as well. I rack up enough credits to where at least half of my XC schoolings and schooling shows are free. Nice perk!

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    1. Good to know it’s not crazy to drive a ways to volunteer. I was thinking that seemed a little weird (still not sure how I’ll explain it to Husband), but I also see area HT organizers pretty much begging for volunteers on FB and I know I’ve got to do my part as well.

      I’m fine starting at the bottom. They’ll be so impressed with my multi-tasking/organizing abilities, I’m sure I’ll get the cool jobs soon. Or something like that.

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  4. i spent summer 2016 volunteering… almost every weekend for a couple months. I’m lucky, lots of huge events are within an hour of me. I learned a LOT and got to talk to/meet a ton of big name riders and influencers in the industry. the ‘crown’ of that season was when I jump judged for FHI 2*/3*.

    unfortunately life took hold and I didn’t jump judge AT ALL last year which I don’t like. I need to find a balance between ‘volunteer for every event’ and nothing.

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  5. I volunteered a lot when I was living in SC and not riding. It was a way to get my horse fix without spending money and being only 40 minutes from Tryon, made for some cool opportunities. I got to work AECs, jump judge at The Fork for the 3*, and some other small things here and there. I didn’t get involved with eventing here until late last year, so I haven’t had the chance to do anything, but I figure I’ll find some time to help out this year.

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    1. I think going to help out at the larger events that I can’t ride in (like CICs/CCIs) would be ideal so I won’t feel like I’m missing out on competing. I’m definitely going to try this year!

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  6. I’m passionate about this subject which I why I’ve dedicated a decent chunk of my time and money to hosting the Volunteer Challenge this year. Without people showing up to help out these shows can’t go on or at least not for the prices they currently run at. I love to scribe as I think I learn the most there but I’ve run dressage tests, xc junk judged and worked general flow. It’s all needed and it’s all appreciated.

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    1. 100% agree that events wouldn’t exist without volunteers, and they help keep the costs down. I think scribing would be a great learning experience also. I’m definitely going to try to do it (especially since I’m signed up for your challenge now!)!

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  7. xc jump judging is actually a ton of fun with kids (in my experience they love manning the walkie talkie lol) or a good horsie friend. esp if you can make it out for some of the bigger rated events that draw all the local pros! i’ve also enjoyed scribing for low level dressage tests (not sure i could keep up for the higher levels lol) and stewarding warm up rings at big events. no matter what the volunteer role, i always walk away feeling totally energized and inspired!

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    1. True about scribing at upper levels, not sure I could keep up either! I think I could jump judge for awhile…just probably not a huge block of time. I like to be in the action so those would be good jobs for me.

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  8. You want to volunteer? I know people who are looking for people!!!! I might of been wrangled into volunteering for the Fork HT this April so you should come to!!! It’s much more fun with people you know but also a great way to meet others. It does help if the venue is closer and Charlotte is a bit of a desert. There are a couple of opportunities with the Foothills Riding Club here in Tryon and they have about 5 shows a year with easy jobs. Bit check is fun! Plus volunteering is kinda like ripping off a band aide… parts seem really scary and intimidating but once you do it you realize it’s not that bad and you really do know what you’re doing 😁

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  9. I’m not sure how I’m going to do handle the required volunteer hours for year end awards for my GMO this year. They have a limited number of shows and I’d like to actually ride in them. They don’t offer stabling, and I don’t want to leave my horse in the trailer for several extra hours while I volunteer soooo going to have to figure that out somehow.

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    1. Required? I’ve never heard of that! And yeah…if there’s only a few of them and you want to ride, that’s a tough choice. Most of our events are one day horse trials, and the close ones I’d like to ride in!

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  10. I haven’t volunteered yet, either. I actually wanted to this year – and am thinking that perhaps now I can. The problem I face is that every single HT event near me is at least 4 hours away. So I kinda get the wind knocked out of me. I’d probably camp out in my truck because depending on the times I could volunteer or whatnot… It just makes for a lot. But I want to look into volunteering at least at Coconino, since that’s where I’d like to go to compete if Amber and I can. It’d just be something I’d have to figure out and actually, you know, contact them to see if it’s even feasible for me. So, we’ll see lol. I think it’s a good idea tho if you can volunteer! I’d like to at least once before I compete because then I’ll know what to expect when I actually haul down haha.

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  11. I’m not an Eventer, but I used to volunteer for 2 local show circuits. I used to do the points which was nice because I could do that at home (I also did entries intake too and office stuff sometimes if I was in town). I’ve been out of volunteering for a while, but I am looking to get in at the organization level in a different capacity these days. (Also I like the christmas picture you shared – it’s so real life!)

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    1. 🤦‍♀️😂 It very much is real life. I could definitely do stuff at home, though I haven’t seen those volunteer requests. I think it would be fun to be behind the scenes since I’m truly clueless as to how events actually run

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  12. I volunteer lots, especially for local non recognized events. Being a jump judge can be really fun. You see how different riders handle the same question. And I have learned tons being a scribe. Especially what that one judge is looking for. Doing any warm up ring wrangling scares me- I stay away from that job if possible. The most fun I’ve had is being the “cross country controller” I got a four wheeler and walkie talkie and was in charge of what was going on during the xc phase of a derby. That level of power is addicting lol

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  13. There are often events here that require you to submit a volunteer on your entry form. I have jump judged on XC for bigger classes before participating in my own which I actually found very fun.

    When I was horseless for a while I found scribing for dressage judges a very good way to stay in touch and learn despite my lack of ability to participate.

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    1. That’s why I think scribing would be fun also, seems pretty educational. So far I’ve never come across an event that made us volunteer, but I can see why it might be mandatory

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      1. It was definitely one of the bigger one on our calendar, and you just had to provide one volunteer per entrant. Whether that be you or someone else, and it is a system that seems to be spreading more and more to other competitions which I think is great.

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  14. I’m in a similar boat with venues that aren’t close, if I’m gonna go, I wanna compete, and if I’m not showing, I’m with friends/family/pursuing other aspects of my life that make me me. I agree though that it would be so good to volunteer more! I hope to put more effort in to volunteer for more local events, even if they aren’t my cup of tea. We have several AQHA shows and some penning competitions I may be able to get involved in; I also will be helping out at our local endurance ride, but I do that every year because I’m the map maker haha.

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  15. Ugh I really wanted to volunteer last year but planning a wedding and then house hunting ended up sucking up all my free time. Going to put more emphasis on doing it this year though!

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