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Spinoff: Why do we lose events, why don't more new ones emerge?

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    #41
    Also the ability of the venue in recruiting-and nurturing!- volunteers can easily spiral downhill over the years. Everyone thinks that volunteers work for no pay, but the reality is that they do expect to be paid --in expressions of gratitude and a feeling of belonging / being needed. That takes a significant amount of effort, tact, and patience because on the day of the trial there are a million things to manage and it's easy to overlook or snap at people when there are issues. Or a timid newcomer jump judge gets plopped in front of the water jump and they don't speak up that they're uncomfortable with that assignment / don't understand the rules enough to judge. Or they thought it'd be a very social experience and there they are sitting alone in a field all day. I know it's sacrilege to dis volunteers but there are a few who crave external rewards and who passively wait to be assigned a task and need instructions on exactly how to do the task, and they can sap all the attention and energy away from the many vols who are out there making themselves useful by observing what needs doing and just diving in to assist.

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      #42
      I sure a lot of this has been covered but just my two cents.

      1) Land: you need lots of it and the land owner musn't mind that it is going to get torn up.
      2) Money: It's hugely expensive to clear land, prep it and build rings, XC, etc. And it is a repetitive expense due to maintenance, redevelopment, etc. Other than your own personal enjoyment of the sport there is no return on investment.
      3) Staffing: It takes a lot of people to run an event. Some are paid but most are not. Getting people to come out and volunteer is really hard. I spent a lot of years jump judging and gave it up when I would see people that were out eventing every weekend but never volunteered. I figured that if eventers didn't care about their sport, why should I. I went back to volunteering to jump judge a couple of years ago at a big name event. The treatment of volunteers was poor. I did a couple of the events, treatment didn't get better, so I bailed.
      4) Liability: We live in a contentious society and people are very quick to sue. I would not want that exposure if I was the land owner.
      A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

      Comment


        #43
        Originally posted by initiate1987 View Post
        I'm curious, as someone who would love to own enough land to host an event someday, how much land do you need? Ideally to host, say BN-P. Would it change much to add the FEI levels? Purely curious.
        This is one of those "It Depends" question.

        On the layout of the farm, availability of parking, and entry/exit access area.

        There is a farm near me that has 150+ acres of land cleared. However, they don't have great parking (their parking lot is small, so they usually open a paddock up for parking). The layout is one of the things that has hindered their ability to run a recognized event easily, because arrivals drive right past the dressage and SJ rings (within ~20ft), which would be disruptive to those warming up + doing their test.

        I would say, for those considering designing a farm and eventually allowing others to access it -- very carefully structure your parking, with high volume traffic in mind if you're thinking of running shows. Many farms aren't equipped for that kind of volume, and have to get creative when it comes to parking.
        AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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          #44
          Originally posted by Alpha Mare View Post
          Xctrygirl - you have exceeded your limit on private messages.

          Tried to tell you - if you host an event where money changes hands you'll likely need to go through the Conditional Use process (in Chester County) run by your township because it is considered 'commercial'. Suggest you check that out before going too far. They will want to know that a fire truck and ambulance can get in/out if an emergency, as well as traffic and parking.
          Thanks. I've been trying to clear the Pm's and have deleted easily 50-100 but it's still not letting me send any either. FitzE I was trying to reach out to you also. But I cant get through.

          Alpha Mare we are realistically a LONG way away from that part (Remember there are still crops on the fields and no grass underneath!!) but I appreciate the heads up. The thin strip on my map would likely get gravel or some consistent base so that all kind of emergency vehicles could get in. It's an access to the property and has been since before the house I live in was built.

          Em
          "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

          Comment


            #45
            Originally posted by Xctrygirl View Post
            The answer to both is: Money.

            Em
            The answer is always money.
            Proud member of Appendix QH clique

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              #46
              Originally posted by Alpha Mare View Post
              Xctrygirl - you have exceeded your limit on private messages.

              Tried to tell you - if you host an event where money changes hands you'll likely need to go through the Conditional Use process (in Chester County) run by your township because it is considered 'commercial'. Suggest you check that out before going too far. They will want to know that a fire truck and ambulance can get in/out if an emergency, as well as traffic and parking.
              This is a really good point. Xctrygirl Also plan for sanitation-- you'll need to show how many people are expected to attend, and there's a formula for how many portapotties are needed. The code enforcement officer in your town will be a great resource for all of this.

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                #47
                Originally posted by HungarianHippo View Post

                This is a really good point. Xctrygirl Also plan for sanitation-- you'll need to show how many people are expected to attend, and there's a formula for how many portapotties are needed. The code enforcement officer in your town will be a great resource for all of this.
                So this has me curious... I'm a mere 4.7 miles from Windurra. Boyd has NO porta potties and he has some days where upwards of 70 people show up.

                So at what point do you have to have sanitation facilities versus not have to have facilities??? Not saying I wouldn't have any, it just made me wonder.

                Em
                "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

                Comment


                  #48
                  I also think some of the free labor that used to support smaller events has dried up. Way back when I was a pony club kid, we would spend whole days working on our course - both parents included. My mom and I would paint/stain, weed whack, measure distances, etc. and my dad (in an engineering field by trade) would design and construct roll tops, tables, etc. Other kids and their parents would be there working too.

                  Comment

                    Original Poster

                    #49
                    There needs to be a core of dedicated volunteers who will help organize other volunteers.

                    One of the longest running events in this area has a long-serving crew of high-invested volunteers who understand how both they and the eventing world benefit from their service. The event also offers some simple rewards and recognition for volunteers based on accumulated hours of volunteer work. Even though the small rewards are modest, they are printed with the logo, and that has made them a source of pride for those who have earned them. People like having them, other people mention them. There are people who actually say that they have done more volunteer hours than they probably would otherwise to get one of those logo items, even if it's just a cold drink tumbler. Simple things that reflect particular values motivate people.

                    Another event in the same area is constantly in need of volunteers, often new volunteers. I was told that they have have had an endless cycle of volunteers who sign up in all good will, keep going for several events, feel treated badly and also frustrated with a poorly managed event, and finally quit in frustration. There has been no curiosity on the part of the LO/organizer about how volunteers feel about their service there. Most volunteers have figured there is no point in trying to initiate feedback. I've been in that cycle and got tired of the temper/ frustration of the paid officials being vented on volunteers. I quit them, too. The changes needed at that event are deep and systemic. But the event holds on and keep going, somehow.

                    How the event is run, event after event, has a great deal to do with how officials, volunteers and riders value it.

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                      #50
                      They have to love the sport. There is no way around that. In Area 1 there was a farm that ran a destination event for over 30 years - usually oversubscribed - Prelim thru BN. Course was fantastic - mix of portables and permanents. Serious $$ had been put into the footing over decades including French drains. When the property sold as a H/J facility, the buyers said they wanted to continue running the event. They had all the XC fences etc from the previous owner. A friend of theirs was an experienced Area 1 organizer and the volunteer pool was already there. I believe they only ran one time - maybe 2 - and then the XC portables were for sale. It would not have been any easier anywhere (IMO) for someone to start a new event (on the previous property). Even with everything in place and the investment already made, it is an incredible amount of work for very little financial reward,

                      Im hearing that another long running venue in the area has been sold as well. The buyers say they want to continue running the events. I have my fingers and toes crossed but definitely not holding my breath!
                      Joan Davis
                      http://www.flatlandsfoto.com/
                      http://flatlands-equestrian.com/

                      Comment


                        #51
                        Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post

                        Another event in the same area is constantly in need of volunteers, often new volunteers. I was told that they have have had an endless cycle of volunteers who sign up in all good will, keep going for several events, feel treated badly and also frustrated with a poorly managed event, and finally quit in frustration. There has been no curiosity on the part of the LO/organizer about how volunteers feel about their service there. Most volunteers have figured there is no point in trying to initiate feedback. I've been in that cycle and got tired of the temper/ frustration of the paid officials being vented on volunteers. I quit them, too. The changes needed at that event are deep and systemic. But the event holds on and keep going, somehow.
                        This sure hits the nail on the head of how volunteering can be.
                        Another way to make your volunteers not want to come back is to treat them totally unfairly. If the people volunteering in one area always feel like second class citizens to the people volunteering in other areas it does not lead to happy volunteers.

                        Comment


                          #52
                          j
                          Originally posted by Xctrygirl View Post

                          Thanks. I've been trying to clear the Pm's and have deleted easily 50-100 but it's still not letting me send any either. FitzE I was trying to reach out to you also. But I cant get through.

                          Alpha Mare we are realistically a LONG way away from that part (Remember there are still crops on the fields and no grass underneath!!) but I appreciate the heads up. The thin strip on my map would likely get gravel or some consistent base so that all kind of emergency vehicles could get in. It's an access to the property and has been since before the house I live in was built.

                          Em
                          Just tried to message you and it still says you've exceeded the PM limit. I had very few messages but still deleted them all so I think my box should be okay now?

                          Comment


                            #53
                            Originally posted by FitzE View Post
                            j

                            Just tried to message you and it still says you've exceeded the PM limit. I had very few messages but still deleted them all so I think my box should be okay now?
                            I can't send!!! At all.

                            my email is Emily.Daignault@Gmail.com

                            Em
                            "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

                            Comment


                              #54
                              Does USEA have any role in supporting venues?
                              "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

                              Comment


                                #55
                                Originally posted by Willesdon View Post
                                Does USEA have any role in supporting venues?
                                Probably not - other than approving dates and posting with the calendar. they may help at some level with facilities that host championship series - but that might be paying for judges, providing awards - things along those lines.

                                One thing too is we competitors can often be our own worst enemy. When I was first introduced to the world of eventing, all 3 disciplines were more often than not held on grass rings. Now that more sophisticated footing is out there, competitors are demanding better footing for dressage and show jumping. Some facilities are geared for that and it's not an issue, others are in large fields where they rope off dressage and SJ arenas. Many don't mind as they realize they're going XC on the same ground as dressage and SJ (though bad weather can wreak havoc on those grass rings especially SJ). Some competitors will not compete on what they feel is less than optimal footing - and sometimes a long dry spell can hurt entries as no one wants to gallop their horse over hard ground.

                                This is the same with H/J world. As we demand more from facilities to step up with providing upgrades those venues that cannot lose entries and thus eventually stop hosting competitions - especially places that are privately owned so much of it comes from the sheer passion for the sport and those are the facilities that we really need to continue to support if we want to prevent loss of more venues.

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