Volunteering

teapot

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Regardless of discipline, truth time (no judgement here) why do you volunteer? Is it giving back? A free lunch? Boosts your chances of not being balloted? Arena hire voucher?

-puts hands up- I got involved with RDA to boost my CV as a baby graduate with no life experience, but stayed almost seven years, loved it, and was grateful for the training and opportunities it gave me. I hope at some point I'll get involved with BD and/or BE writing not just because I'm interested but it's good experience at all levels. My time at RDA certainly in the later years meant I had more responsibility for other volunteers and we never ever made them feel taken advantage of for giving up their time for free.

I know of somewhere (non RDA) that has reduced the 'volunteer benefits' quite substantially and I can't help but wonder whether the decision may lose them volunteers, when they're always in need of them... Do BD/BE/BS/various venues need to be careful of not reading the room well enough, especially when people are voting with their feet financially too?

Just a musing about where our sports are going... :confused:
 
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Elf On A Shelf

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You get stuff for volunteering!?!

I often volunteer to steward at showing shows and often don't even get lunch as I am too busy to stop. Why do I do it then? I love showing, I love catching up with people and it's great fun. Its what I love doing. I know a lot of people from all different sections so it doesn't matter what ring I am in.

I don't know anyone who does dressage or show jumping or eventing and these disciplines don't interest me so I wouldn't find myself there on a voluntary basis.
 

OrangeAndLemon

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I volunteer at BE events for free entry to the event and free camping and for the behind the scenes experience, but when I'm there I love being part of it and helping others to enjoy it.

I volunteer as a dressage writer for BD to learn about riding a good test and because I enjoy the sport.

I volunteered at my yard because they were desperate after being let down for a BS show, i thought it would be a supportive thing to do. I really didn't enjoy this one and won't be doing it again. No amount of free stuff would get me back here. I'd want paying for that.
 

Lindylouanne

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I volunteer as a fence judge at my local XC course mostly UA but occasionally for my RC and only once BE.

Why? I am nothing more than a happy hacker, I have no desire to hurtle around either SJ or XC courses in competition any longer but I enjoy watching people who want to. I don’t miss the nerves of competition but I miss the buzz so my reasons for volunteering are twofold. I get my fix and other people get theirs by competing.

I don't know what the rewards are for BE but my RC usually give volunteers a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates and at the UA events there are discounts on goods and I have taken advantage of free schooling vouchers. I am fed and watered very well with a packed lunch, snacks and cake half way through the afternoon.

I don’t think many of the competitors realise the effort it takes to make an event run smoothly so it is always nice when walking the course they make the effort to come over and say thank you. It is much appreciated and costs nothing.
 

scats

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I write for dressage because I find that it helps me understand what judges are looking for. The place I generally write at makes you endless drinks and bacon butties, which is nice.
 

asmp

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I started volunteering for RDA as I’d moved to the area and wanted to meet people.

My daughter and I fence judge as we enjoy watching it. Not so much fun when it is pouring down though!

I’m also a happy hacker and now I’m older realise that most Shows wouldn’t be put on without all the volunteers, so happy to help out with my RC.
 

Tiddlypom

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No bacon buttie = no volunteering :D

For BE FJ, it's a welcoming bacon buttie for the briefing at 8.15am ish, then a really good packed lunch, regular offers of drinks throughout the day, and then a bottle of wine or a facilities voucher at the end.

FJ is a loong day with a lot of responsibility, and tbh this is the least the organisers should do to thank those who give up their time.

ETA I get the same when writing for BE dressage, which is a half day.
 
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Bernster

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Did it a few times at munstead and would again if the dates don’t clash with existing plans. It was initially for the xc choosing voucher but I did it again as I had a fun day with my friend, it was lovely weather, I enjoyed watching folks go round, and they looked after us with tea and packed lunches. It felt good to give back even in a small way.
 

Pearlsasinger

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Sister and I started volunteering with a local RDA group after a woman who liveried at the same yard as us and worked for the local newspaper wrote a piece asking for volunteers, we had just bought our 2nd mare and felt that we wanted to 'give something back'. Goodness knows why, really as sis worked in a LA Children's Home and I was teaching in an area of high social deprivation but anyway...
That was way back in 1985 and we are both still involved with the group, we have made firm friendships through the group, which then led to acting as FJ for HT's/TC, stewarding horse classes regularly at an annual Agricultural Show, judging at local shows and being invited to train to judge with BSPS (which we declined, reluctantly, because of a lack of time). I think we got more than we have given tbh.
 

Pippity

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Warrington
I write for dressage to further my own education.

I keep tossing around the idea of starting judge training for the same reason.
So it's for me, really 😂😳
I think you'd make a really good judge, so am officially encouraging you to go for it!

I occasionally volunteer as a steward at my local show. The first time was because they were desperate for stewards and I wanted to help keep a local show going. I've kept on because it's a fun day out, I get to meet new people and potential new friends, and it's interesting speaking to judges and finding out their decision-making process.

I volunteer as a writer at my local unaff dressage because, again, it's interesting to find out what the judges are looking for and how to nudge a movement up by half a mark.
 

EventingMum

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9 September 2010
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The Wet West of Scotland
I volunteer as an RDA coach and used to be the regional sj rep mainly because the group's ponies are kept on my yard and I feel it's a worthwhile thing to do.

My son volunteers in the event stables at Blair every year to put something back into the sport he enjoyed so much - it's a big commitment, 8 days but he enjoys the people he works with there and generally has a great time.
 

chaps89

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Surrey
I’ve volunteered at endurance events because I love the sport and it’s my only way of being involved in it nowadays.
I’ve dressage written partly to help the yard out and partly because I find it really interesting/you can learn a lot. Perks of free food/drinks and a free entry in return were icing on the cake.
I’ve stewarded in showing before but was hopeless and didn’t enjoy it at all! Mind you, both the competitors and the judge weren’t particularly very friendly which didn’t help.
 

Red-1

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Recently bought into cob culture.
I first volunteered as a writer a s affined was qualifying as a judge and needed one!

I first volunteered BE for the ballot and the schooling, but did enjoy it and have done it a few times more.

Non horse related, but I also volunteer as a school governor. I did it for the interest and because our school is wonderful, and I believed in it. That ended up, yesterday, in a trip to London, to the Houses of Parliament, for an award ceremony. That was an unexpected benefit. I would thoroughly recommend being a school governor, being part of a great team.
 

Lexi_

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14 August 2013
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I volunteer at BE because I like it. Simple as that really. Love the sport in general, love watching cross-country, I even like sitting in a field with my mum in all weathers, blowing a whistle. It’s never been about giving back or learning because I’m not really in the horsey world to that extent. I haven’t got my own horse and although I made some use of the facilities vouchers that places like Kelsall and Somerford hand out when I had a share horse, tbh I’ve given away loads more of them than I’ve used myself. The wine option is usually better for me!

Re benefits, the food etc is a nice bonus but we have all sorts of food allergies between us so tend to bring our own lunches anyway and have to politely decline the bun run. The lack of those things wouldn’t personally put me off volunteering - I do it because I want to, not for some butties - but I know I’m in the minority there.

I think I’m fairly easy to keep happy as a volunteer. The only place I won’t go back to is Bold Heath after a truly shambolic experience quite a few years ago.
 

MuddyMonster

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22 September 2015
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I don't volunteer for a sports but do volunteer for a local equine and animal charity.

I used to work for a charity full time (non equine related) and loved being able to make a real difference but needed to move to the corporate world for more money when I was going to buy a house. This helps offset some of the guilt!

I'd never expect anything other than a thank you for my time.
 

J&S

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17 June 2012
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In the 23 years I have lived in Devon I have made up for a life time's volunteering! Local show committee, RDA coach, RC chef d'equippe, Trec committee and pony club parent. I still will fence judge or write for dressage for PC and meet up with the same mums and dads who helped when we had children in the club!
 

Pinkvboots

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Hertfordshire
I write for dressage to further my own education.

I keep tossing around the idea of starting judge training for the same reason.
So it's for me, really 😂😳
You should so do it when I did dressage years ago when I lived in Essex some were quite harsh I thought and I think it can put people off doing it especially if you have not done much.

My friend used to judge and she also competed her horses a lot and she was such a lovely fair judge, I always thought she would really try and leave good encouraging feedback, and she always used to say that she wanted to try and encourage people to want to come back I think you would be very much the same.
 

Nicnac

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9 May 2007
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I volunteered for years - RC committee and organising events, BE fj, sponsoring sections at BE and BE/unaff. dressage writing. Enjoyment was my main reason and to ensure sprog didn't get balloted! I no longer have the energy as still working full time along with horses at home and a grandson to fit in.

When I retire I look forward to picking it all up again.
 

DabDab

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6 May 2013
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Because I enjoy it. I don't do it to gain anything, to learn anything, to feel like I'm giving back, or for any logical reason really....it is just an end in itself, rather than means to any other kind of end.

I do dressage and SJ collecting rings for RC and local UA, and a variety of stuff but mainly xc control or start box for eventing (BE and UA). Used to do RDA until I had fixed working hours in the week and so couldn't fit it in.

Outside of horses I do conservation work volunteering.
 

splashgirl45

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6 March 2010
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suffolk
You should so do it when I did dressage years ago when I lived in Essex some were quite harsh I thought and I think it can put people off doing it especially if you have not done much

i think you would be too young to do dressage in front of mavis thurgood when a high mark was 5 so you were doing well if you got 4 :):) i must admit to dreading it if mavis was judging, this was in essex.

i still volunteer mainly because i enjoy it, particularly BD dressage writing.. i also do BE fence judging if they are really short, that is much more stressful as you have to whistle, write down what they did and note their no., say something about each competitor and be ready to leap out and replace flags or stop someone if there is a hold on the course, luckily i usually do it with someone who has been doing it for years so i just do the whistle and writing and they do the commentary bit . both BD and BE look after us well so i think they do appreciate the help..
 

McFluff

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19 April 2014
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I volunteer at BD and Rc events. Selfishly it’s because they wouldn’t exist if there weren’t volunteers, and I enjoy competing so it’s the least I can do. I really enjoy writing, so much to learn. I’d love to help out at RDA (did when I was a teenager) but doesn’t suit my work schedule. Maybe when I’m retired.
 
Joined
12 September 2021
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2
Regardless of discipline, truth time (no judgement here) why do you volunteer? Is it giving back? A free lunch? Boosts your chances of not being balloted? Arena hire voucher?

-puts hands up- I got involved with RDA to boost my CV as a baby graduate with no life experience, but stayed almost seven years, loved it, and was grateful for the training and opportunities it gave me. I hope at some point I'll get involved with BD and/or BE writing not just because I'm interested but it's good experience at all levels. My time at RDA certainly in the later years meant I had more responsibility for other volunteers and we never ever made them feel taken advantage of for giving up their time for free.

I know of somewhere (non RDA) that has reduced the 'volunteer benefits' quite substantially and I can't help but wonder whether the decision may lose them volunteers, when they're always in need of them... Do BD/BE/BS/various venues need to be careful of not reading the room well enough, especially when people are voting with their feet financially too?

Just a musing about where our sports are going... :confused:
I've no experience but want to be a volunteer so what can I do for that? what is the procedure actually there to be a volunteer?
 

LEC

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22 July 2005
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9,384
I am on my local Area RC committee and run the training. It’s a selfish thing as I want decent trainers so I organise trainers I like while being covered by insurance.

My work policy has just changed regarding volunteering. Previously we had to show a benefit to the business and now we just need to show it benefits our professional development and wellbeing. We get 5 days a year to do this fully paid so I will definitely be doing a lot more mid week! I am pretty sure I can blag both of those criteria with BE. After all running sjing collecting ring is definitely about customer service, confidence, thinking on feet etc!!

There isn’t much I haven’t done over the years so can do most things. I also know a lot of people so tend to get decent jobs and not the crummy ones.
 
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I've volunteered as a fence judge at BE a few times. You get fed and watered well, usually. However, it is a very long tiring day, often 10 hours once you've attended the briefing early doors and then seen the last horse go XC at 7pm. With horses at home myself now, I find it too much of a commitment to do regularly. Having said that I do enjoy it as I just love watching eventing and sometimes you get to see the big names jump your fence. I've fence judged with some lovely people and enjoy the little snippets of conversations you get into between horses.
 

milliepops

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Yeah I've mostly had to knock FJing on the head now. Too many horses to do before and after when it's been a very long day. I also always end up on my own which is a bit of a PITA if you need the loo etc. I do enjoy it as a way to keep a tiny fingertip back in the eventing world and I'd go again if I had a friend to do it with.
 

Velcrobum

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17 October 2016
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I have volunteered for many many years at BE and BD. BE when I was competeing partly to put back to the sport and partly it guaranteed my entry. I Have done much dressage writing and am very experienced. I have learnt huge amounts doing it. Have just spent 5 days volunteering at Cornbury a mix of buggy driving dressage sheet collecting and XC crossing steward. Was on my RC committee for many years as well and chaired it for a while. Got fed up with that as it was always the same few who organised stuff for the membership who never ever wanted to help but at every AGM complained about just about anything!!
 
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I volunteered at a riding school when I was younger. Like for all kids who don’t have their own horse, it was the only way to get ‘proper’ horse experience. Ended up volunteering for the RDA for a bit by default as riding school started doing RDA lessons and thought it’d look good on a CV.

Don’t think I’d volunteer for an RDA group again as don’t enjoy it much and wouldn’t see a reason to unless I got some free rides which most places don’t do.

I’ve stewarded a couple times at small shows - that’s just because I love being surrounded by strange horses and getting to watch them thinking how would I handle that horse if I was riding. Also to build up a more horsey network. Definitely don’t do it to ‘give back’ as no horse means I’ve never ‘taken’. But wouldn’t want to see those shows shut.

Would like to be a dressage writer or fence judge a couple times to satiate my curiosity but there’s rarely a position available round here, given how few ECs there are.
 
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