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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2007
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    Default Please be nice to volunteers...

    I know that there have been threads/posts on this kind of thing before, but it seems as though in today’s world it just can’t be said enough.

    I’ve been making an effort this year to put in more hours as a volunteer with my local GMO. It’s been a great learning experience, a lot of fun, and I’ve greatly enjoyed getting to meet new people in addition to getting better acquainted with people I’ve met in the past but maybe didn’t know very well.

    Recently, I scribed at a schooling show. It was my first time scribing and I specifically wanted to scribe for this judge because I knew that she’d be a great person to show me the ropes. (I was right!)

    The show ran late from the beginning and continued that way, though we did start to make up time as the rides progressed. The judge kindly asked the ring steward to do her best to get everyone up to our ring promptly. The steward was legitimately trying, but she told us that several people weren't listening to her and just took their time anyway. Apparently a lot of people either ignored her or were downright unpleasant. Judge’s goal was to have it so that when the person in the arena was doing their final salute, the next person should have been ready to warm up around the outside of the ring, which seemed reasonable.

    The last rider before the 15 minute break was to ride at 10:37. By this point, we were running maybe 2-3 minutes late as the second to last rider finished up around 10:39-10:40. The judge and I looked around to see if anyone was coming to our arena and we waited 2-3 minutes, but nobody showed up. Since it was just a schooling show, we didn’t have any walkies or anything, so we couldn’t check to see if the last person had scratched. Judge went to her car which was parked next to the arena and I started heading towards the barn to drop off the last score sheet and hit the restroom.

    When I got halfway to the barn, I saw a horse/rider walking up the driveway towards the arena. I looked at the number and see that it's our missing rider, and I said something like, "Oh! You're ‘Rider 123’! We thought you were a scratch because so-and-so’s ride finished a few minutes ago and nobody was there warming up. We were just going to take our break, but let me go tell the judge you're here." So we're all walking up the hill and she rudely says that she's not late, and trying to keep my tone of voice light, I said, "Oh, OK. Well, I think your ride time was 10:37 and it's almost 10:45 now." The person with her then says, also rather rudely, "It's only 10:42!" (Right...which is closer to 10:45 than to 10:37, but whatever.) I called out to the judge that the rider was there and when we got back into the trailer, the judge immediately says to me, "She's really late." I mentioned to her what they said to me and how they said it. Judge was very surprised when she realized who it was and made sure to say something after their test about being on time in the future.

    I’ll be honest – until yesterday, I’d never even heard of this pro rider, but it does appear that she’s fairly active within our GMO. Given that fact, I was even more surprised in how she addressed me, because most people who seem to volunteer time in our GMO are usually pretty cordial to one another. I would also hope that since she has volunteered time herself and has organized shows, that she wouldn’t be so abrupt towards someone who has volunteered their time also. It was a 3 hour round trip for me to go there and I chose to spend that one day out of my weekend trying to help out. I normally try to ride my horse 5x a week, but I gave up a day of schooling in order to volunteer. Believe me, there are a million and one other things I could have been doing, but I’m trying to step out of my comfort zone, make new friends, and educate myself so that I can become a better, more competent rider.

    So, in short, please be nice to volunteers. None of us are perfect, but most of us try hard to do a good job and most of us are there because we want to be!
    "It is not necessary for you to let everyone know everything about you. In fact, it is probably wise that you don't. There are some things that you need only discuss with God."


    3 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2005
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    Desert Southwest
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    Default

    Yes! That "pro" should have been DQ'd for being late. That's how "real" shows are run, and it insures that everyone is ready ON TIME. At a schooling show, well, it's a learning experience. Get DQ'ed enough times for tardiness -- you'll learn!

    It was VERY rude of her to expect you and the judge to give up your precious break time to watch and score her ride. Having volunteered myself, I appreciate all the times I've had folks thank me for my time. The "Pro" deserved a slap for her attitude. Especially if she's volunteered herself -- she KNOWS how it is.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2002
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    Area VIII, Region 2, Zone 5.
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    Default

    This kind of enabling makes me sick. I wish the judge had said, "Tough beans. You were not on time, therefore you are outta here." What has that pro learned? That she is correct in her assumption that she can be late with no consequences.
    Quote Originally Posted by Linny View Post
    Those martingales were so taut, you could play Ode to Joy on them with a comb


    7 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2001
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    Finally...back in civilization, more or less
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    11,438

    Default

    You have more self control than I have, I think. I am not sure I would have been anywhere near as nice, or as accommodating, as you and your judge were.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 13, 2008
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    2,179

    Default

    Holy crap, see u at x, were you at the same schooling show I was at last week?! I don't get it but sometimes some of the "pros" can be the nastiest to deal with as a volunteer -- which is shocking to me because most of them, at one point, stood in our shoes!

    The dressage schooling show I volunteered at, I was the ring steward -- and I had two DQs (the LAST riders of the day, conveniently) who were running late. One even came to the warm-up ring without her full attire and when I reminded her she was on deck she got very snippy and was huffy that she wasn't prepared! The other DQ (who, IMHO, had a VERY nice horse) reported to me she needed at least another half-hour warming up before she was ready -- and she was on deck too!! I couldn't believe it. Karma got both of them though - they didn't score too fabulously.

    At the end of the day, volunteering is always a thankless job. You spend a good amount of your time organizing distressed and unappreciative riders - you shuttle them from their crazed warm-up to the ring, and sometimes you have to actually find them. I cant count the number of times I got the evil eye or the annoyed/huffy/DQ response when I told people they were on deck or about to go.. and really?? For what? Is it that hard to be polite?
    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


    2 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2007
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    2,779

    Default

    SillyHorse and Lucassb, this is why I probably could never be a judge - I'd likely end up being the mean one that everyone hates! My instinct in this situation was to be a complete witch back to her, but a part of me also feels that I'm so used to feeling like I have no power in these kinds of situations that I end up just letting it go. I figured that at least I would try to be more professional than she was.

    The judge was extremely fair throughout the show and was great about telling the riders what they did right or what she liked about their horse. However, she also didn't hesitate to suggest to some that they might want to do things like get their saddle fit checked, tell them their stirrups were too long, tell them that their noseband/flash was too tight, and in at least one case, tell the rider that their horse just wasn't fit enough for the level they were showing. What I also couldn't believe were the number of riders who made excuses or who tried to blame things on their horse. It always sounds like they're talking back to the judge, and I had to restrain myself from saying, "Don't talk back! Just listen!"

    This summer, I got to be a ring steward for a big recognized show, and lemme tell ya, those riders were absolutely on time. I was even nearly run over by a very well-known trainer's horse when he spooked at something, and the trainer was so extremely apologetic and kind! The difference between these two shows (and riders) was like night and day. I think if the pro's horse from this recent show would have almost smooshed me, she probably would have been screaming at me that it was MY fault for spooking him!

    Beowolf, that's just NUTS. Seriously, who DOES that?!? Our show manager told us that there were one or two people riding at this show who had made all kinds of crazy requests that she just couldn't believe it. I think some people must somehow make a living being insufferable.
    "It is not necessary for you to let everyone know everything about you. In fact, it is probably wise that you don't. There are some things that you need only discuss with God."



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 15, 2010
    Posts
    1,609

    Default

    Awww, I think most riders do appreciate the volunteers, although show nerves get in the way and they don't always show it. I also think ALL riders (pro and ammie and jr) should be required to volunteer at least one half day for every 6 shows they ride in

    I judge a lot of schooling shows - and I would have rung the trainer out - sorry, but the rules are the rules. As already stated, in a rated show, you miss your ride time, oh damn, too bad Joe! I do think all shows should have a clock prominently displayed with official show time - and ring stewards should try (and I know it is hard) to let people know if the show is behind. Beyond that, it is the rider's responsibility to be at the ring in time - even at a schooling show.

    Anyway - fwiw, thank you for volunteering! Shows can't exist without volunteers!


    2 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2010
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    Tucson
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by see u at x View Post
    I think if the pro's horse from this recent show would have almost smooshed me, she probably would have been screaming at me that it was MY fault for spooking him! ??
    Been there, done that! Not volunteering, but waiting for my horse to come out of the arena. Group of three people in front of him riding along chatting, walking around the ring the night before the show. One on the outside looking at her friends who both turned, without looking that direction steered her horse toward the gait where I was standing. He slowed slightly and I would have had plenty of time to move even though she gave no indication she was going a different direction than the other riders until, still not looking, she spurred him to go faster. I had to jump out of the way and her horse balked for being asked to run over a person. I of course then got yelled at for "hiding behind things and spooking horses." Uh, nope, I was very visible and only jumped behind things to avoid a trampling - but your horse did object to your spur.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2002
    Location
    Central FL
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    5,250

    Default

    Ring Stewarding is *the* most thankless job, IMO. A clock with official time at each warmup area is a great idea.

    In addition, I think people have different expectations that "schooling" shows that don't have a licensed TD on site may not have to follow all the rules.

    I think it's up to show management (and I'm not sayin' it's easy what with wanting people to come back to shows, not stay away!) to back up the staff and emphasize courtesy and timeliness.

    Having said that, I hope your experience remains outside the norm.
    *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=
    Dressage becomes art when it is a joy for the horse. -KBH

    Mighty Thoroughbred Clique Now on Facebook ... ... show the loff



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 10, 2011
    Posts
    165

    Default

    You were so very kind to that late comer. I think I would have just put on my blinders, zipped the mouth and continued on my way to the restroom. Silence is golden - let here get to the ring and wonder where the judge and scribe "disappeared" to. After break....."OK we're ready for rider number (not her number)"

    GP - one of the things that maybe we should all learn from a schooling show is that, yes timeliness is part of the game. Those of us that do play by that rule will continue to come back. We DO appreciate the effort of the volunteers and staff that keep things running as they were meant to be. We know the show won't go on without you!


    2 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep. 9, 2008
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    north of the Arctic Circle
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by see u at x View Post
    The judge was extremely fair throughout the show and was great about telling the riders what they did right or what she liked about their horse. However, she also didn't hesitate to suggest to some that they might want to do things like get their saddle fit checked, tell them their stirrups were too long, tell them that their noseband/flash was too tight, and in at least one case, tell the rider that their horse just wasn't fit enough for the level they were showing. What I also couldn't believe were the number of riders who made excuses or who tried to blame things on their horse. It always sounds like they're talking back to the judge, and I had to restrain myself from saying, "Don't talk back! Just listen!"
    This can be pretty touchy. Really, a judge shouldn't comment on anything regarding tack, equipment, etc unless there is something illegal or dangerous. Schooling shows are often a bit more lenient on this, but judges need to be veerrrryy careful when going off-book this way.

    Regarding the late rider, she really should have been DQ'd, or at least made to wait until she could be fit in the schedule after the break. I appreciate that schooling shows are often more lenient on stuff like this, but if one of the purposes is for people to learn the ropes before moving on to recognized shows, there do need to be consequences if you completely disregard the rules.
    "Winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle,
    but put me in summer and I'll be a... happy snowman!!!"

    Trolls be trollin'! -DH



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2009
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    6,441

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    Quote Originally Posted by CatPS View Post
    This can be pretty touchy. Really, a judge shouldn't comment on anything regarding tack, equipment, etc unless there is something illegal or dangerous. Schooling shows are often a bit more lenient on this, but judges need to be veerrrryy careful when going off-book this way.
    That's a matter of opinion, they are all factors which will be part of the judging process ...

    The judge was extremely fair throughout the show and was great about telling the riders what they did right or what she liked about their horse. However, she also didn't hesitate to suggest to some that they might want to do things like get their saddle fit checked, tell them their stirrups were too long, tell them that their noseband/flash was too tight, and in at least one case, tell the rider that their horse just wasn't fit enough for the level they were showing.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 5, 2009
    Posts
    895

    Default

    and I had two DQs (the LAST riders of the day, conveniently) who were running late. One even came to the warm-up ring without her full attire and when I reminded her she was on deck she got very snippy and was huffy that she wasn't prepared! The other DQ (who, IMHO, had a VERY nice horse) reported to me she needed at least another half-hour warming up before she was ready -- and she was on deck too!!
    Umm . . . WTH? I could see the first riders of the day maybe scrambling a bit, but the last riders - what in the world were they doing all day?!?! Isn't the point of being at a show to be ready to ride in the show?

    *Disclaimer: I have NEVER been to any kind of show.

    Good to know - I would have looked at both of those riders and said, "Hmm, well, then you don't ride. Thank you for your donation to the show fund! " and walked away.

    This kind of leniency just reinforces the lack of personal accountability/responsibility in the rest of the world.

    (wanders off to find teenage riders at barn to see if she can tag along to next show to see all this for herself....)
    "Let's face it -- Beezie Madden is NOT looking over her shoulder for me anytime
    soon . . . or ever, even in her worst nightmares."


    Member, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2008
    Location
    Hot Springs, VA
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    Default

    Unfortunately I probably will never volunteer for a dressage show again. Too many DQ's for my taste. I will stick with eventers....

    I volunteered one time at the Caroline Horse Park where I was the bit checker. They had me stationed at the out gate and was told to check every 5 horses unless I saw something.

    One rider came in-trotted around the ring (horse had no issues with me sitting there) proceeded to do her test and her horse shied @ M-I mean put the head down and shied-nothing major. I guess the flowers moved inthe breeze...

    She proceeded to come out of the ring and as she walked over to me she started yelling at me saying you spooked my horse and what was the reason I was sitting here instead of the stands. I stood up and said I am the bit checker and I need to check your bit....

    I have had a few moments with eventers but for the most part they are always thanking the volunteers. I had one run in with an eventer who skipped the bit check and when we told him that he could do it after his test and pointed out where the tent was he complained that it was too far away and just was nasty-not our problem that you came the other way and not the way everyone else did! His coach heard him talking to us and came over and ripped him a new one. Another one missed her dressage time for a HT and then claimed that we never called her-which was BS since I know I called her # numerous times and everyone who knows me and sees me at CHP knows that I have one of the biggest mouths..... JMP even commented one time that if they didn't hear me they needed to have thier hearing checked...


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2005
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    Desert Southwest
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    We have a policy in RMDS shows that bits are always checked AFTER a test. I can see people objecting to having their horse's mouths invaded with latex gloved hands moments before a test. They've got their horses on the bit and attentive and are ready to go (hopefully). Afterwards there is no such problem.

    Glad that guy's coach read him the riot act!



  16. #16
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    Sep. 18, 2002
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    For some reason at events, they check before, but usually you do it pre-warmup so that you aren't doing it right before entering at A. Usually there is a tent set up with a whiteboard and all the competitor numbers for 3-4 rings and they check your number off after the bit/spur/whip length check.
    Beth Davidson
    Black Dog Farm Connemaras & Sport Horses
    http://blackdogconnemara.com
    visit my blog: http://ponyeventer.blogspot.com



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2004
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    I volunteer at a Youth Dressage Show here every year, and 99% of the kids are fantastic. But there's always just that one. Ok, sometimes it's the mom not the kid, but still. Although there's one barn from the Seattle area who has to be called out for being AWESOME from start to end. Kids are polite, parents are professional, trainer is in absolute control of the situation. You'd turn around to call them and they'd be ready and waiting. I'm sure it was the trainer because every kid from that barn is like this.

    It was interesting tho... this year I whipped in the Bronze circuit ring (basically a step up from a schooling show, run concurrently with the main show). Lots of good kids ponies, school horses etc as opposed to kids aiming for purely the dressage circuit. Wow what a patient and flexible bunch. There was an issue with a tractor breaking down while harrowing, and all the kids just loosened their girths and parked it in the shade until we were ready to roll again.
    "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."


    2 members found this post helpful.

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