“Volunteers – The Mainstay of Successful Horse Shows” Special to Dressage Daily #1. Devon, PA - (September 30, 2011) We are all familiar with the truism “No hoof, no horse.” As the performance division here at Dressage at Devon begins its first full day I would like to propose a corrolary to the bit of ages-old wisdom: “No volunteer, no successful horse show.” No place is this more true than at this competition whose profits are directed wholly to the interests of Thorncroft Therapeutic Horseback Riding. Without the supreme efforts of the men, women, and children who give their time and their energies to make this show the success it has been since 1975 we would not be the happy observers that we are.
Let us think the matter through. If a not-for-profit show such as Devon had to pay all the folks involved even a minimum wage, what would be the bottom line on salaries disbursed? All those busy hands emptying trash and recycling containers; individuals frying up sausages and funnel cakes; willing folks moving and then replacing the entry gate at the Dixon Oval and the Gold Ring. If I carry on like this about voluntarism in general you, dear reader, will become bored and will move on to reading Eurodressage. (Who would blame you?)
Thus, I move on to provide but two premiere examples of the volunteer spirit epitomized here at Devon. The first instance is a single individual. My lavishing of praise upon him will be followed by a quartet of lovely ladies. My inaugural illustration of the spirit of Dressage at Devon is one of the friendliest amongst the several hundred genial persons who greet all the showgoers with warm smiles and firm handshakes.
The gentleman of whom I write is Mister Ron Blair. Ron is the greeter, wine pourer, smiling face, and factotum at the beer and wine kiosk on the Devon midway, “The Pub.” Before one of the smart alecks seated there in the peanut gallery of Dressage Daily asks: “No! I have not been a customer of Ron’s as I compose these words. The sun is barely over the yard arm.”
Whether visitors to the Devon showgrounds are tipplers or are abstemious, Ron welcomes us with open arms. Even those of us who are barely old enough to drink beverages of the alcoholic variety (ahem!) as well as the children passers-by are greeted by Ron’s “How ya’ doin’?” as we walk past or enter into The Pub.
The four ladies hinted at above are the dear souls who supply the life’s blood upon which we journalistic types thrive. Ginny Simon leads a merry band whose remaining members are Linda Barba, Carolyn Frith, and Jen Miller. (Lovely ladies one and all!). Now, depending upon the individual writer or photographer, the life’s blood mentioned a moment ago may be either the information (day sheets, final scores, et alii) that enters through our eyes and ears and pours forth onto the printed or digital page or it is the countless bottles of water and cups of coffee that keep us hydrated and/or awake. In both cases Ginny and her crew serve us (and concomitantly you our readers) very, very well indeed.
Whatever more or less may issue from this mind of mine in the coming days is wholly to the credit of the volunteers and the self-giving spirit of the community that makes Dressage at Devon the success it is and the success it always has been. For you who follow the rides from a distance I invite you to emanate the happiest of thoughts in this direction. We will be happy recipients of all your good will.