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retreadeventer
Oct. 18, 2009, 10:18 AM
Volunteers at Fair Hill International:
There are just no words. Nobody could thank these people enough.

A pony clubber whose raincoat and sweatshirts soaked through in the first two hours in the soggy warmup area, who borrowed my only raincoat that would fit her, a Misty Harbor dress type coat, which admittedly was not the height of fashion, and wore it uncomplainingly for hours standing in the middle of the road stopping traffic for horses to cross the road.

Jump judges in the rain all day. And this was not just rain. It was rain and wind. A slog to anywhere if you got up and tried to move. Plastic covers over things. Hands so cold you couldn't get the plastic up to write.

Mounted stewards, who without horses, came ANYWAY, and stewarded just the same - all day - standing on wet mucky ground or walking in wind and rain, just to help in case they were needed and acting as cheering sections for riders to help them around.

Another pony clubber not much over 12 years old who authoritatively ran her warmup like a pony club jumper schooling show. "You're on deck," she said to the three-star rider, "and you're in the hole," she directed, to another three-star rider, veteran USET member, who nodded and said "thanks!" This kid was not 5 feet tall and she was rocking out there, her clipboard covered in plastic, her little hands red with cold.

The volunteer coordinator, up at 5am, running all day long, barely in the warmup tent more than an hour, delivering volunteers to needed areas of the course and trying to keep sandwiches dry on the way out to the faithful.

Dedicated jump decorators, who worked two entire weekends decorating and constructing and painting beautiful three star CCI obstacles -- that were taken out of the course and never jumped.

Everyone doing course maintenance.

All of this, just so that riders and horses can run about that course, and jump. The staggering amount of love that went into that opportunity for them is overwhelming. If you are a rider, out there, do something for these people beyond just a "thanks". I don't know what, but reflect that love back somehow. Your own family probably wouldn't do what some of these people did for you yesterday out there, because they felt part of a thing that was bigger than just individuals. And they were. They were a part of something big and important. Let them know how you feel. Give them a tribute.

Those are only the volunteer stories I know about. Please add more.

Rescue_Rider9
Oct. 18, 2009, 10:28 AM
Those guys are pretty amazing. I am going to try and volunteer in Nov if I Can afford it (its 2 and half hours away) and I can only PRAY things run with out rain.. Its going to be darn cold up near the mountians in Nov! Rain will make it hell! But way to go to everyone out there!

RunForIt
Oct. 18, 2009, 10:35 AM
Well done, and with many thanks from all us eventers! And a HUGE thank you to you, Holly, for your organization, and I know, all the encouragement you gave those wonderful Pony Club kids so that they grew a bit inside of themselves, as well as outside in what they have done all weekend.

CHEERS to all! :cool:

Dr. Doolittle
Oct. 18, 2009, 10:53 AM
These stories are inspirational, and the volunteers are a remarkable and selfless group of people. You are absolutely right, they should be acknowledged and lauded; and deserve more than a simple "thanks" (though as a frequent volunteer, I don't really expect to be thanked--I do it for the love of the sport...)

One thing that competitors CAN do (to show their appreciation) is to volunteer THEMSELVES! Yes, even the "big guys", and yes, we realize that they are busy (and will lose out on income), but think of the example they would be setting for the Pony Club kids out there in the cold, giving up their weekends to help out...

elizabeth Callahan
Oct. 18, 2009, 10:58 AM
The jump judge running out there to replace divots between each horse and the poor tractor drivers ( all 10 of them), who were just as muddy, cold and wet as the rest of us and who have another long day ahead of them

3dazey
Oct. 18, 2009, 03:29 PM
:sadsmile: I heart these stories. I think I love this sport for the volunteers and THEIR love of the sport as much as I love the horses and love to compete myself. I also love the organizers and officials who endure much and complain little. What is NOT to love about eventing, anyway??? :sadsmile: Thanks, retread.

Kairoshorses
Oct. 18, 2009, 03:42 PM
Big thanks from far away--Eventers are the best. Think of the great Karma!

Timex
Oct. 18, 2009, 04:15 PM
Big thanks to the all who volunteer in our sport! And for the Fair Hill volunteers - you rock!

ss3777
Oct. 18, 2009, 04:47 PM
Hats off to all the volunteers. The original post really had me choked up. Love the story of the 12 year old running the warm up ring with authority.

CookiePony
Oct. 18, 2009, 07:24 PM
I'm glad you started this thread-- I have been thinking there is a special place in heaven for those volunteers who stood out in the cold rain so others could compete. MidSouth volunteers worked hard in the cold this weekend, too.

stryder
Oct. 18, 2009, 07:32 PM
Hats off to all the volunteers. The original post really had me choked up. Love the story of the 12 year old running the warm up ring with authority.

ditto.:yes:

myrna
Oct. 18, 2009, 07:41 PM
and don't forget that as soon as the event is over,plans are already underway for next year.Events don't just take a month or 2 to plan,they are a work in progress for the next year, as soon as the current one is finished.i know from first hand experience.Our event is the september long weekend and many meetings have already been held for next year.

the lady of shalott
Oct. 18, 2009, 07:43 PM
this post brought tears to my eyes. THAT is what eventing is all about. All those volunteers deserve a huge pat on the back!

=D

RunForIt
Oct. 18, 2009, 08:07 PM
I'm glad you started this thread-- I have been thinking there is a special place in heaven for those volunteers who stood out in the cold rain so others could compete. MidSouth volunteers worked hard in the cold this weekend, too.

I thought you and I had the "we'll brave all cold, wind, and rain" volunteer record til this weekend....:lol: :cool:

Kanga
Oct. 18, 2009, 08:45 PM
This is exactly what is SO GREAT about our sport!!!!

Meredith Clark
Oct. 18, 2009, 08:52 PM
It was a looooong cooooold day but I'm glad to have helped!

Even without my horse "outriding" was still fun and I get to see many people I haven't for years!

Next year I want to jump-judge, they got to bring cars and sit by the fences :lol:

I was really impressed by the TDs, running around wet with their walkie-talkies in plastic bags making sure all the horses were handling the weather alright and keeping everyone safe.

My trainer said she had never noticed that there were people outriding at every fence each year, I hope all the competitors noticed how many people came out to help their event run smoothly, and I thank them for riding so well and giving me something to aspire too! :yes:

Meredith Clark
Oct. 18, 2009, 08:56 PM
The jump judge running out there to replace divots between each horse and the poor tractor drivers ( all 10 of them), who were just as muddy, cold and wet as the rest of us and who have another long day ahead of them

I was doing crowd control by combo fence 18. The flag on the corner jump kept getting knocked off (and once caught in a horse's tail and dragged for several feet :eek: )

The jump judge had to keep getting in and out of her car and walking down to reset it until one of the other groundsmen just decided to stand there!

I almost considered asking if I could come sit in her car and get out of the rain and off my feet for a while but I didn't want to look like a whimp :lol:

inquisitive
Oct. 19, 2009, 09:22 AM
Great job everyone!!!!!!!! Volunteering has definitely made me appreciate everything that goes into an event! :yes:

Dressage62
Oct. 19, 2009, 09:50 AM
I was doing crowd control by combo fence 18. The flag on the corner jump kept getting knocked off (and once caught in a horse's tail and dragged for several feet :eek: ) The jump judge had to keep getting in and out of her car and walking down to reset it until one of the other groundsmen just decided to stand there!


Hi Meredith! I was the jump judge at #18, and I definately didn't wear enough clothes! It was absolutely freezing weather. I am SOOOOO grateful for the goundmen who stuck close by and just popped up to help all day. I am so grateful to them for finding the corner flag after it got stuck in a horse's tail. (That's a new one!) The course itself ran really well for the horses. I watched them after jump #1 they had to cross the muddy road and made it look easy. Our car got stuck near the jiffy-johns during the break, then we slid over to jump #18. I wasn't sure how we were going to get back to the paved road and I decided to move the ropes and follow the course. The volunteer parking lot area near the main entrance was quite a quagmire. Hope everyone didn't have to wait too long to get out.

VWBug
Oct. 19, 2009, 10:22 AM
Wow, I got choked up reading the OP - thanks. It was an honor to be there really, and I saw some incredible displays of horsemanship. One rider in particular pulled up at fence 10 after her horse stopped, and she simply dropped the reins and started back, patting him all over. It was so clear she was thanking him for being brave and trying. I got totally misty watching that. I wish I knew who it was.

I should have worn my ski pants, other than that I did OK clothing wise. I missed my horse though - visibility is much better from the saddle. And he's just good company. :)

Eastview and I ran back and forth between fences 6/7 for the ** and 9/10 for the ***. Even though they removed drops and combinations there were still corners to ride and the ground crew worked their butts off to keep the approach and landing as safe as possible. I could not believe the approach Ian Roberts took on Napalm - he found a path through the trees, right up against the galloping lane that I didn't think was possible. It gave him a straight approach though!

Thanks to our gator-guy who collected us at lunch and took us back to the staging area for sandwiches, cake and chilli. We grabbed our food and ran to the truck to blast the heat and change into any dry clothes we had before heading out for the ***. My only scare of the day - someone walking with their head down to avoid being pelted by the rain did not hear my first whistle as he nearly stepped out into Boyd and Neville's path, but he DID hear my second whistle and shout. Totally nerve racking!

There was so much mud though! We had to get alittle help getting out, and we were in a 250 with 4 X 4!

FairWeather
Oct. 19, 2009, 10:37 AM
WORD!!

Can we also give a shoutout to the dudes running the tractors, pulling people up the hill to get their rigs? Talk about a CRAP job. They spent 45 minutes to help me get hooked up to my rig, then make sure I could safely get out. I wanted to buy them a car.

EastviewBlue
Oct. 19, 2009, 12:14 PM
This was my second year as an outrider and what an experience! The entire day I was in awe of the determination and dedication that each and every person on the grounds put forth. As people walked by, we'd smile and comment on the weather or the pair that galloped by. A few people commented, "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else today." I complete agreed with them!

VWBug and I were all smiles at 5pm eating soft shell crab sandwiches and crab wontons! Thank you to the park rangers and fellow out-standers, as VW nicknamed us since we were without our horses. You are a well organized group who made our day the best it could be.

Thank you retreadeventer, for this thread. You're post was spot on. It was an impressive day.

Gestalt
Oct. 19, 2009, 12:46 PM
I enjoy volunteering even when no one thanks me. I love to compete too, but I think it's everyone's responsibility to help.

My little heart story: I was the obstacle judge at a NW CDE (driving) and as usual, the weather was wet. A man came over with warm oatmeal cookies and hot chocolate. He said his wife and her sister were competing and wanted to show their appreciation to the volunteers. Yummy!!!!! Nothing like delicious cookies and cocoa on a cold, wet day! I cheered them through the obstacle. (silently of course) :)

ntoeventing
Oct. 19, 2009, 03:32 PM
Thanks to all volunteers! This sport would not be possible without the lovely volunteers! :)

Threeday33
Oct. 19, 2009, 04:12 PM
Yes, thank you!!!!! You all are the best! When we got stuck (only 10 feet away from our parking spot), there was a tractor sitting and waiting for someone to help. He was there within 2 minutes pulling my truck and trailer out onto the driveway. That was amazing!!!
Chrissy