Giving Back - Be a Volunteer

Friday, June 12, 2009

With the summer in full swing, it's business as usual on the show scene. For some shows, the numbers are down, a few have been cancelled. Remember this is our sport and our community and the equine world has proven time and again their passion and ability to rally together.Perhaps some of you have made some alterations to your show schedule for the summer. Maybe you are economizing, at a training crossroads, or have a horse in rehab. Are you a newly appointed judge trying to get some miles, or perhaps an established judge who has benefited from years of the hospitality many shows extend to you?

If that is the case, think about volunteering to help your local show.

phelpsphoto: Debbie Garris at Lamplight Dressage
While many shows are hanging in there, expenses are up, profits are down. I was recently at a show in Michigan, Waterloo, a region hit hard with the financial woes in the auto world.

But spirits were high, entries were strong, and one volunteer we met, who is now on unemployment used her newly found free time to spend the entire weekend working for free at the event. How about you high performance riders, and juniors and young riders? This community works hard so that you can shine. You might be surprised at how working for a show will broaden your perspective, even help you as a competitor.

And when you attend these shows as a competitor, don't forget to thank the volunteers for all they are doing. Remember that most of the people you see at the ingate, on the grounds and in the show office are giving their time so that you can have an event. A simple thank you is their biggest reward. One cranky complainer can put a cloud on a sunny day, so be gracious and appreciative.

Please remember to also support the vendors. You might be able to find an item a little cheaper on-line, but these are the small companies who are there for you when you need something at the last minute. They invest a lot in vendor fees, travel, and inventory and help to be there for you, so give them the business. They are our friends and family too.

Count your blessings and remember we are all in this together!

Mary Phelps-Hathaway