Smiling Volunteers!  photo by the Rankins

My best guess is a small local horse trial requires at least 50 volunteers, if not more. The volunteers are often the first ones to arrive and the last ones to leave. And more often than not, the work of volunteers starts days, weeks and even months before the event itself.

They are there the week before, flagging the cross-country course and mowing the galloping lanes.

They are there the day before the event, putting up judge’s tents at the dressage ring and handing out competitor’s packages at the office.

They are smiling when you get to the horse show two hours before your 8am dressage test to tell you where to park. Without them and the organization they attempt to bestow on the parking lot, it is likely that at some facilities there would not be room for everyone to park.

They are keeping things on time at dressage, ensuring everyone enters the right ring at the right time in the right tack.

They are scribing for the dressage judge. Listening to hours upon hours of comments such as “circle not round” and “needs more energy”.

They are running dressage scores from the rings to the office for the (volunteer) scorers to meticulously enter on the computer and post in a timely manner.

They are announcing the event, from who is in the ring, to the official show time, to friendly reminders that the coffee is hot and fresh at the canteen.

They are the last person to tell you good luck as you leave the start box and they are the people at each and every jump whether under the blazing sun or in the pouring rain.

They are standing at road crossings ensuring traffic won’t get in your way while on course.

They are driving around the cross-country course picking up the jump judges sheets and running them to scoring.

They are opening and closing the showjump ring as each and every competitor enters and leaves.

They are timing your showjump course and most likely running to pick up the many rails accidently knocked.

Without the many, many volunteers involved in each and every horse trial and horse show, they would not happen. Have you thanked a volunteer today?