They Also Serve

The patch from my volunteer jacket.

Work: day off.

Ramblings: Wednesday is my volunteer day. I spend a few hours in an aviary keeping the birds from attacking the people and vice versa. Since winter isn’t busy, I had time to ponder why people volunteer.

In the horse world, I’ve volunteered the gamut from USPC District Commissioner to WEG Fence Judge [Rome 1998]. I’ve set courses by headlight and been buffaloed by the geometries of dressage arenas in two states. My answer is – to stay busy. For example, I volunteered for WEG 2010 but they only needed me for crowd control on cross-country day. I had the rest of the week to wander about, shop, and watch. It was hell. There wasn’t enough to keep my inner Border Collie amused.

Put a clipboard in my hand and tell me to run a warm-up ring for the day. I might end up dusty, exhausted, and voiceless, but at least I won’t be bored.

What volunteering have you done & why?

Categories: Horses

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6 replies »

  1. hi K!! Enjoying a bit of a giggle at ‘inner border collie!’ …Had my first taste of jump judging at the Middle TN Horse Trials last year – very fun and they were glad to have a ‘horse person’ help! Previously have volunteered only as a steeplechase official in the horse world (other volunteer work not nearly as exciting…) Anyhoo, enjoyed a terrific autumn Saturday hanging out with best friend Megan and just watching horses jump and jump and we had to do some work keeping folks off the course – it was a great way to spend a Saturday and I’m signed up again for this year. I just enjoyed being outside all day (would have liked it even if raining- although would have worried about everyone actually DOING the jumping) and enjoyed being part of something bigger, plus enjoyed seeing the range of competitors…. 🙂 Favorite moment was the giant warmblood that began sucking back approaching a fence when giant girl aboard yells: “Don’t even think about it Boodro. Don’t …even….. think …about…. it!” and gave Boodro a pretty smart smack on the rump. And Boodro indeed stopped thinking about it right away and kept going! Have a great week! Eliz

  2. I liked the Border Collie comment as well 🙂 Last year was my first year of USEA volunteering, and I did XC jump judging, running XC warmup for BN and N, and–my FAVORITE–dressage scribing!! I learn so much from listening to an actual judge… they are much more fair than I thought. I can start to guess the scores +/- 1 point when I am able to look up and watch the movement.

  3. I worked at a therapeutic riding facility for about a year, but I did office work. I have my own horses and there were a lot of volunteers who really wanted to do something with the students and horses. So I took a mindless paper shuffling job. I mean, I can get my own horse fix at home. Currently, I’m a dog walker for a regional dog rescue group. The facility where I volunteer only takes the smallest rescues from the organization, which is a big departure from what I have a home. That’s good because that means there’s absolutely no temptation to bring home one of the subjects. But I do feel like I’m helping. The kennel is only 3.5 miles from my home, which makes it pretty painless. I would really rather be doing foster, but my gang isn’t very tolerant of new dogs, so I’m doing this instead. I have to admit, most of the dogs are either really, really cute or so ugly that they’re cute. And most are very cuddly and sweet … kind of the polar opposite of my own land sharks.

  4. I once volunteered to teach English to a native Spanish speaker in exchange for tango lessons. My boyfriend was jealous. He couldn’t dance. As it turned out, neither could I.

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