Volunteering at Equine Events
 By Winniefield Park   •   18th Jul 2015   •   1,648 views   •   1 comments
Volunteering at Equine Events

Being a recorder at a long distance ride is something I havenít done for many years. But I found myself with pen and clipboard in hand, listening to the comments of a lay judge as horse after horse was vetted through for a long distance ride. A lay judge is someone who is trained to check the condition of horses by measuring the heart rate and looking for lameness or lesions and other things that would make it unsafe for a horse to continue in competing. If there is any question about the horseís fitness to continue, the lay judge defers to a veterinarian. As a recorder it was my duty to write down all the data on a score sheet that would follow the horse throughout the competition. At the end of the competition, the scorecard is used to calculate the final score.

Although itís a long day in the hot sun, itís also a great learning experience. As the recorder for a lay judge or veterinarian you see a wide variety of horses in a very short time. And you begin to appreciate how each horse has a different way of going and how they are affected by their riders. Most of the time, when there is a lull, the judges and vets are happy to discuss what theyíve seen and said.

Related: How to Ride a Dressage Test - The Eventerís Version
Related: Cross Country 101

Being a recorder at a distance ride is only one of hundreds of ways you can learn about horses or a particular sport by volunteering. Often itís the best way to learn, without actually being in the saddle. Itís also available for the cost of your transportation to the event site - and some event managers might even reimburse you for that and feed you for the day. If you love jumping, there are opportunities to be jump judges, or you could be a Ďjump monkeyí or part of the ring crew that helps put courses back together if a horse knocks down a fence.

Dressage judges need scribes and many events need stewards to keep things organized. Driving competitions need stewards to do things like measure wheels and check equipment, open gates and watch for hazards in the competition areas. Many sports like jumping, eventing and trail riding need people to check tack, be go-fers, gate minders, traffic directors, pulse takers and do other duties that put you in the middle of the action. This hands-on experience puts you much closer to the competitors and the competition areas than any paid seat in the stands.

You may not be excluded from the rosettes and awards as many organizations reward their volunteers with year-end celebrations and ample thanks. Not only do you get a great day of learning and observing, you may get an award to hang on the wall. So, if you feel the need to smell horse sweat, learn something new and contribute to the horse world in your area, consider volunteering at an event. An afternoon or day volunteering at a competition is a lot of fun, a great way to learn and spend time with like minded people and of course, be near horses.
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Valkyrie   MOD 
I've been a dressage scribe, a jumps judge, and a judge's assistant before. You basically need to be very observant, quick to follow instructions, and preferably have good handwriting and legible shorthand! Sometimes the comments during a test can come thick and fast haha.
  Jul 18, 2015  •  1,685 views
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