Five Ways to Volunteer at Schooling Shows

Volunteers keeping warm early in the morning. (Photo by

By Amanda Ciejko

Volunteers are the unsung heroes of the horse world! Visit any show grounds and you’re sure to encounter countless volunteers giving their time to ensure the competition runs smoothly. Are you interested in volunteering at a schooling show? Here are five ways you can get involved!

Scribe – The scribe is responsible for noting the judge’s scores and comments EXACTLY as the judge states them, making sure that each test movement has been given a score. The scribe is also to make sure that the labeled test matches the rider that enters the ring, and that any revisions or errors are clearly marked.

Ring Steward – Ring stewards are responsible for maintaining order in the warm-up areas and show rings, keeping the rings running on schedule, notifying the judges of scratches and no-shows, and aiding the technical delegate. They may remove unruly horses or riders from the warm-up area and aid in maintaining safety in the arenas. They may also be asked to check tack, open and close gates, or tidy the arena in between rides.

Runner – The runner provides communication between the judge’s box and the show office, and makes sure that test sheets are directly delivered from the judge(s) to the show office. They may also provide assistance to the ring steward, additional volunteers, and other show management officials.

Concessions/Hospitality Shuttle – Often, shows provide some sort of concession area for competitors and attendees, and will need volunteers to run the area. Additionally, most shows will provide lunch for the judge(s) and will need them delivered from the show office to the judge’s box(es). On occasions where the show grounds are widespread, it is ideal to have a volunteer who can shuttle competitors and attendees to areas such as stabling, the show office, and the competition area.

Groundskeeper – Depending on the availability of farm staff, show management, and the size of the show grounds, there may be a need for volunteers to pick and tidy arenas and other high traffic areas. No, it’s not the most glamorous position, but it is one that is often much appreciated.

If you want to volunteer, find a GMO in your area and give them a call! Volunteers can also be nominated for the USDF Volunteer of the Year, Youth Volunteer of the Year, or the Regional GMO Volunteer Award.

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