Volunteers – the hardworking, unsung heroes of the dressage world! In Our Volunteer Spotlight series, we recognize those who keep the dressage industry going.
Tell us a little about you (2 to 3 sentences).
I am an adult amateur and a member of USDF, New England Dressage Association (NEDA), and Connecticut Dressage Association (CDA). I am in-between horses and looking forward to returning to the show ring. To stay close to the show environment and vibe, I volunteer. It’s bittersweet because I would like to be in the saddle rather than on the sidelines, however, watching the rides and listening to the trainers in the warmup is motivating.
What do you love about dressage?
I love the discipline of the sport. Finding the oneness with the horse, even for a step or two, is an unexplainable feeling. I thrive on the concept of learning the movements, which build on each other to advance through the levels (still working on First Level). The training scale is in the best interest of the horse’s mental and physical development. I appreciate the compassion and respect trainers and riders have for their equine partners.
What do you find fulfilling about being a volunteer?
The organizers are always very appreciative, and that is fulfilling. It is also a great opportunity to learn the different roles that are needed for an event or a show. Of course, being a scribe is an opportunity to see what the judges see, and hear the comments. Who knows, maybe one day I will be adventurous enough and take a poke at being a show manager!
Tell us about some of the things you do as a volunteer.
I am a member of the CDA Board, and the newsletter coordinator. I enjoy helping with the events and activities we provide. I also volunteer for New England Dressage Association (NEDA) and Green Mountain Horse Association (GMHA).
Are you a part of any Group Member Organizations (GMOs) or USDF programs?
As mentioned previously, I am a member of the GMO CDA. Once time allows, I will look for opportunities to volunteer more for NEDA, and see what opportunities there are to volunteer for USDF.
What volunteer experience that you’ve had has been the most fun?
The NEDA Fall Festival was always a wonderful show. Over the years, I established friendships and always looked forward to the event.
How long have you been involved in the horse industry?
Same as many of my peers, I began riding at a very young age. Took a break for college, and took it up again until our children came along. I started up again when my daughter was in middle school, and we rode together for a few years. Now that we are empty nesters, I am taking lessons regularly, seeking a suitable mount, and looking forward to getting back in the show ring.
What was the most exciting event you’ve gotten to be a part of as a volunteer?
My daughter decided for her high school senior project to organize a two-phase schooling show and fundraiser at a local barn. It was fun to watch her pull it all together, and to be part of her volunteer staff. I was very proud of her accomplishing this with grace and composure for a first timer.
What would you say to someone who is interested in volunteering, but isn’t sure where to start?
Start with your local GMO, and ask for a job that you are interested in learning more about. Board members and show organizers are appreciative and always helpful, because they want to make sure you succeed so that you’ll do it again.