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A Tale of Two Riders

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    A Tale of Two Riders

    I love volunteering. I learn new things every time - and not necessarily just about riding.

    Two experiences this weekend:

    Rider #1: Shows up with a bandaged face. Says "I am so sorry to bother you, but I need to go get my chin stitched up. Would you maybe be able to work me in a little bit earlier?"

    Rider #2: Shows up 15 minutes late. Sllooooowwwwwllly warms up. Addresses the starter with the comment "I know I'm late. I'm riding more than one horse. If you rode, you would understand."

    Which rider are you?

    Which one do you want to be?

    I know which one I try to be. We have to be nice to all of our volunteers or the sport will shrivel up and die.

    This weekend I went down to xcountry and they were running very late (~20mins). I walked for a long time, did a little stretching work, adn then all of a sudden they were calling my number and I hadn't jumped a thing. I tried to be very polite to the steward (while panicing slightly in my mind), and two nice people (thank you whoever you were) volunteered to go ahead of me so I could jump a fence or two. I made sure to thank the steward again as I headed over to the box, because it was obviously my fault for not realizing how quickly they had caught up.

    The moral of both of your stories and mine is: it doesn't matter what happened or whose fault you might think it is, it isn't EVER the volunteer's fault. Thanks for all you do!
    "One thing vampire children have to be taught early is, don't run with a wooden stake."


      If you RODE, you'd understand???

      This is why I think EVERYONE who competes should be REQUIRED to volunteer.
      You know, on the planet where I get to make all the rules.
      The big man -- my lost prince

      The little brother, now my main man


        Wow. "If you RODE?!" How the h@ll do they know if you do or don't?
        Just wow.


          I think #1 because she may have just gotten a good slice from something and not because of a fall.
          Even duct tape can't fix stupid


            I would be embarrassed to be either of those two riders! I agree that everyone who competes should do some sort of volunteer work. I used to run a four ring recognized dressage show for years. I have seen and done all the work into putting a show on and now have a greater appreciation for the vast amount of time and thinking and planning that it takes. I now just smile and roll with the flow! No complaints or crazy request from me. Since I also grew up as a military brat my Dad clued me in as a kid to the military foundation of eventing. I am sure back in those days they did as they were told. No exceptions!!!


              I took pennys and gave out water, during the UL rides at the Kentucky Classique. Most of the riders were very nice and thanked me for helping out. I found the Canadians to be most polite. Waylon Roberts was especially kind. Even though he had several rides, he always thanked me, had his penny off and was grateful for the water.

              The penny taker at the AEC's was extremely helpful to me. Before I went x-country, I had a problem with my saddle pad. I had to dismount and fix it. She held Tess for me, while I remounted.

              Volunteering is a great way to give back to our sport. The MSEDA requires at least 8 hours of volunteer work to be considered for year end awards. Do you believe that this is the only way to insure that riders will help out?
              When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


                I don't volunteer at a recognized event because there are none within a 150 mile radius of my farm, and the few times a year I can go to a recognized event I ride. Instead, I hold a schooling horse trial on my farm once a year. It's a fundraiser for the local pony club, (my daughter is a member), and it's a boatload of work for me even though parents and friends help out a lot. I think it's crucial to be on both ends. If I'd been the started, I'd have been strongly tempted to eliminate rider #2 for missing her time--and being such a jerk about it.


                  Rider #2 is in need of a serious adjustment and needs to watch Boyd Martin at shows. That man rides at least 6 horses per show ( I think at one show he had something like 11 entered!) and is always super nice to the volunteers. He usually lets the staduim volunteer know how many he has (since he usually goes right to xc after stadium) and WORKS WITH the volunteer to get them all in - & in a timely manner.


                    Originally posted by Auburn View Post
                    I took pennys and gave out water, during the UL rides at the Kentucky Classique.
                    At first I was confused and thought that UL riders had started giving tips (in pennies) to volunteers...


                      I had a similar experience as stadium warm-up steward one weekend. There was a pro division at the end of a VERY long day, and everyone wanted to ride their last horses and go home. I had one rider come into the warm-up arena without checking in ("hellooooo?? you've ridden 100 horses today, I know YOU know you have to put your number in.") and then demand to go up right when she was ready. Needless to say, neither of us were very pleased with the other.
                      Take Your Equestrian Business to the Next Level:
                      Follow me at or


                        I volunteered this weekend too. Dressage tack check. I wore my YR hat though, so I guess everyone knew I was a rider. Pretty much everyone was nice, and thanked me afterwards. My rings ran early, and even though I told everyone that they could wait for their time, they almost all took the early spot. One pro said he had to wait for his time, which of course I said was fine. There was one rider whose mom came over 3 or 4 times to make sure it was alright that her daughter might have to go a bit later since she had 2 horses going, and was very nice about it. I spoke to the rider after her, who said she would be happy switching times. There was only one rider who kept showing up like 3 minutes before her time, and then was kind of snotty about not having enough time. I have seen her basically attack volunteers before, because she thinks she is a bigger deal than she is. I guess I got off easy.

                        Im always nice to volunteers, and I try to do it myself whenever I can. Since I normally compete sundays and need saturdays to prep and clean tack/horse, its a nice change when I ride the young one saturdays in the LLs and then can volunteer all day sunday.


                          I really would like to see a culture change wrt volunteering. Please see this old thread:

                          We can complain about rudeness to volunteers, or we can do something to try to change the culture. In my spare time (haha) I would love to be part of a new organizational focus on volunteering.
                          Taco Blog
                          *T3DE 2010 Pact*


                            I think that perhaps the rude people are so rare that they stick out like the sore losers they are.

                            Most people seem gracious, polite and happy, though you do see some frazzled people at times. I always feel bad for the frazzled people.


                              Originally posted by cweimer View Post
                              Rider #2: Shows up 15 minutes late. Sllooooowwwwwllly warms up. Addresses the starter with the comment "I know I'm late. I'm riding more than one horse. If you rode, you would understand."
                              Response......"I do ride, and hence know that riding multiple horses is no excuse for being rude."

                              yeah...probably would have been too stunned to think of that response that fast. But he would have quickly moved to the bottom of my list and I would do very little to help such riders. Some people take themselves WAY too seriously.

                              Instead of a black list for dangerous riding....there should be a black list for rudeness....with pictures of the top members of that list posted on the USEA web site. Nothing like public shaming to straighten people up!
                              ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                                No Excuse for RUDE!

                                Especially to volunteers. I love to volunteer, because a) it's fun to help - b) I know that without volunteers, I wouldn't be able to ride & c) when I get a snotty, rude person, I can ignore them, that is really fun. Especially when they want favors, early go, etc.

                                I heard this a long time ago & it's worth remembering, it's not smart to shoot the volunteer army!


                                  Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                                  Instead of a black list for dangerous riding....there should be a black list for rudeness....with pictures of the top members of that list posted on the USEA web site. Nothing like public shaming to straighten people up!
                                  Not a bad idea-- but I might tone this down a little to having a list of names of competitors with "unsportsmanlike conduct" on their records. Now-- would the list be used responsibly, I wonder? I.e. would a red jacket exempt one from appearing on the list?

                                  How about that for a new rule to be passed during the "Year of the Volunteer"? Any volunteers to draft and submit?
                                  Taco Blog
                                  *T3DE 2010 Pact*


                                    Originally posted by cweimer View Post
                                    Rider #2: Shows up 15 minutes late. Sllooooowwwwwllly warms up. Addresses the starter with the comment "I know I'm late. I'm riding more than one horse. If you rode, you would understand."
                                    My first time at a particular venue, I got a bit lost and wound up in traffic that I did not expect - result was running late. By the time I checked in and got my horse ready, I was just about on time. I was ready to go right into the dressage ring and do my test sans warm up - after all, it was all my fault. The ring steward insisted I warm up. So I took a few minutes to warm up then went into the ring. The judge asked why I was late (about 3 min late, and the rider that was supposed to be after me had gone in before me). The judge was a bit terse and I explained what had happened and that the ring steward had told me to warm up. The judge just kind of nodded and I went on. I was so embarrassed about being late, though!

                                    I can't image someone being so rude when running late. If you want to ride more than one horse, you just need to be more organized.

                                    On another note, I was waiting to jump stadium and the girl before me gets eliminated for going off-course. She starts cursing at the judge, her MOM starts cursing (literally, profanity - my boyfriend was standing next to the judge's stand) about how it wasn't her fault, she did not have time to walk the course. Sorry about your luck, but cursing is not going to solve the problem. Needless to say, her elimination was not reversed.


                                      I've been the starter, finish flag/timer, and jump judge at numerous events. Even if I'm competing I'll often volunteer to jump judge another division. It's a great way to give back to the sport and to see an event from an insider's perspective.

                                      I once had a competitor throw a shoe on her last warm-up fence before XC. She politely spoke to the warm-up steward, who radioed the TD and got a change of times approved so she could quickly get to the farrier. The TD approved it, and everyone was notified. She had the grace to thank me when I was starting her, even though I had nothing to do with the decision. She also found the TD and the warm-up steward after her (clean) round and thanked them again. Those are the people you want to help.

                                      The people I try to especially mind are the warm-up folks and bit check. Those folks are the most helpful, and they have a tough assignment--I'd rather jump judge any day.


                                        I was ring steward - x-cntry day this weekend. Everyone was polite and several came back after their rides to thank me. it was really nice.

                                        I ride - so I volunteer, and I always have a good time and learn something. Sometimes I get rude riders, but most of the time they are just focused on their ride - I'm the same so I get it.

                                        This weekend, I had one mother ask me three times if I thought this was safe!?
                                        "No lady, I like to send little kids out to mangle themselves - Nothing like blood in a water jump to make me get up early on a Saturday!!!"