Why riders should Volunteer at British affiliated shows!! #supportyoursport
Firstly I would like to say before I upset anyone that I know of lot of riders that do volunteer or help out where they can. Over the last couple of years I have started to help at British Events and I had my eyes wide opened by the behaviour of some riders towards officials and I was astounded at the amount of work that goes in to running these events. I was also shocked at how much they rely on volunteers so before you shout at an official or a jump judge remember that one they are giving their day up so you can compete and two they are NOT paid!!
If every rider gave one day up to help in their chosen sport there would be no shortage of volunteers. I also think that if professional riders could do the same then this would set a great example and the sport could only benefit from these riders providing their input. I appreciate that time is difficult but it is a great experience. British Event rely heavily on jump judges and volunteers for the safety aspect as well so please make sure you respect what they are saying they are there for you and to make sure you have a fun but safe day.
One day a year is not a lot to give up so that your sport can continue to run the well organised events, and this is just as important in Showjumping, Dressage, Endurance, Polo, Hunter Trials, Vaulting etc as it is in Eventing. Think what you could learn sitting next to a dressage judge writing!!!
If you are sitting their thinking someone else can do that bit then it can make the difference between shows running and not so please get in touch with your local shows and contact the organisers to see how you can help.
I have to say most riders, owners, parents and grooms are amazing and make the day fun,enjoyable and very rewarding I was very lucky yesterday I had coffee purchased for me, nearly acquired some nice horse rugs, whips and spurs that were kindly left by my side (unfortunately these were all collected!!) but most of all I got lots of thank you’s and hugs which just make it all worthwhile despite how cold I was. I did think that I would need Valium and Gin when I was first given the volunteers role as a cross country steward in the collecting ring I think the showjumping one would definitely be an interesting job so well done to those volunteers for surviving!! I will say though please can riders not fall off as it is terribly inconvenient with the forms that have to be completed after that and it really upsets the time schedule so unscheduled dismounts are not high on the agenda or sort after!!
Remember to thank the organisers and any officials you see as it really does make an impact, think of all the people who are involved so that you can go and jump a round of showjumping or ride a dressage test never mind do a day of eventing. There are doctors, vets, scorers, judges stewards, time keepers, fence judges, commentators , technical advisors, course builders and that won’t be naming them all so yes when you have a bad day and things are not going to plan for you and your horse still thank these guys for giving you the opportunity to compete and think of all the other riders that are still competing and how these officials are helping them! It is not the officials fault if you come with the wrong tack or the wrong number on etc there are rules for a reason and it is your responsibility to make sure that you comply. Professional riders will get treated the same if they are not following the rules, It is easy to make a mistake as a rider but be polite apologise and ensure that you will not let it happen again. If you become rude aggressive or awkward there will be repercussions as why should someone get abuse when they have given their day up to help you.
Riders need to also try and make the day enjoyable for themselves, owners, grooms and officials. It is amazing how many riders get spotted for the wrong reasons as well as the right ones so please keep that in mind because if officials see it then you can bet your bottom dollar the public and other riders, owners and sponsors have!!
Come and learn what its like to be on the sidelines and experience the other side of your discipline and if you are lucky you might even get your lunch and a bottle of wine or a schooling voucher if you event!! I will also say if a show was to become over subscribed and entries were going to be balloted I would pretty much guess they would give the places to riders who have volunteered than to those that haven’t! Top professional riders that have lots of horses ,owners etc and will have little amount of time come and give a few hours or send someone from your team at the yard to help one day if Mark Todd can do it then I would pretty much guess the rest of us can!!
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