Sunday, October 12, 2014


No matter what discipline, every organizer agonizes over how to attract and retain their volunteers.  Without volunteers, no event is possible. 

{{{And, if you've never volunteered before, please dear god, do not complain about how a show is run or even, make suggestions on how to make it better for the participants.  And just once in your life, show up the day before an Event and ask them if they need a hand.  Trust me, you'll never complain again.}}}

Course Brook Horse Trials was Newbie Event Rider's first (and hopefully not last) volunteer stint.  "Come on, it is so much fun", I told her!  It was 47 degrees and raining.  Despite wearing a rain coat, hat, three layers of fleece, ski pants and waterproof insulated boots, I left my post jump judging at Course Brook Horse Trials shivering, soaking wet, and chilled to the bone. 

You know the kind of chill where it takes another 5 hours of deep therapy - hot shower, dry clothes, hot food, hot steaming tea and two very warm pooches to finally warm up.   I can only imagine Newbie Event Rider's excitement at volunteering the next time (maybe a plague of locus?).

{{{Pretty sure I could have used deep therapy for other reasons, like understanding why I spent 6 hours outside in the rain watching folks leaping over jumps.}}}

How do you attract and retain volunteers? 

Well, Course Brook Farm provided each volunteer with a lovely gift bag, a nice lunch and, when we thought we were going to die from hyperthermia  (yes, Newbie Event Rider, I will use this word again and again), they delivered hot chocolate and coffee out to our fence. 

{{{Angels arriving in a gator... best sight ever!}}}

What else?  Did I mention that we were cold, wet and suffering from hyperthermia (that word again)?

Hmmm, how about a Fence Judge's Drinking Game?  Ok...  what would that look like?  So we set out with a simple Jump Judge's Chug-a-lug.  At your jump only (or it could be a very short game):
Used with permission
  • One shot for every "Good Boy/Girl" (and please hope that the Beginner Novice Division is small)
  • One shot for every long spot (really hope that the Prelim folks are not contenders)
  • Two shots every time a rider makes a fence judge gasp (could be any fence judge)
  • Chug-a-lug for every "Good Boy/Girl" after just having done a flyer at your jump
For those of you who have never fence judged, this might seem to be a light weight game...  Right!  Don't actually try this, the day could be awfully short and the EMTs might be carrying you out!

{{{Shhhh, I'm actually not a drinker but it was fun to figure out a game where, if played, a person could last the day...  all depends on the BN Good Girl/Boy levels.}}}


Amanda said...


Possible additions:
- a sip for every bay TB wearing navy blue
- shot for every insanely adorable fat pony
- a long sip for every time you rake the takeoff or landing
- a shot for every time Control tells everyone to shut the hell up already on the walkie talkies
- during hot summer events, a sip for every mosquito bite
- in spring/fall, a shot each time you lose feeling in another finger/toe

I love fence judging. :D

Suzanne said...

OMG Amanda! Those are fantastic, particularly Control... I may have to amend this later and add yours!

Donna B said...

Totally agree ladies,I took one of our working students to fence judge up here at Snowfields. He loved it,I got stung by a yellow jacket. That should definitely be part of the game. Yellow jackets...... Volunteering is needed glad y'all do it to.😊 See you ladies out there.

eventer79 said...

Awesome! And totally agree -- if you have never volunteered & seen what it takes to run an event at ANY level, you have no whining rights!!!!

zerry ht said...

Hey, would you be able to suggest me some indoor event locations? Actually, I am seeking some unique locations for my college events and could not find any venue till now and event date is really near now.