THE BRITISH EVENTING VOLUNTEER…..Starting the Season in the classroom

Ever considered becoming a BE Volunteer? Well please join the fabulous Hannah on her season volunteering to find out whats involved and how much fun it really is ….

It doesn’t seem five minutes since the Autumnal weather kicked in and we packed all the eventing gear away after the end of the season. Yet time waits for no man, nor horse, nor volunteer so here we all are again.

A gorgeously unseasonably warm February morning, and the gang are getting back together again. Spring is in the air and we are all talking about dusting off the gear, new pre-season purchases and the challenge of volunteer-diary management.

We have all gathered at Oxton Village Hall in Nottinghamshire for, the now, annual Fence Judge training briefing. A great initiative from British Eventing with the help of Lottery funding, these courses are fantastic and much appreciated. This year I have joined the session organised and hosted by Bede Events, our hosts Stuart and Anna Buntine provided their usual excellent hospitality and everyone was made to feel very welcome.

BE Training Oxton 18 Feb 2017

The Buntine’s and all at Bede Events make you feel especially welcome, and always take the time to offer thanks attending, and indeed for volunteering with them over the season – anyone who hasn’t experienced ‘Team Bede’ really should, you’ll not be disappointed.

After the customary cuppa and a chance to catch up with all the familiar faces, along with the chance to meet some new faces who are joining the volunteer ranks for the first time, we get down to business. An excellent morning session included some informative talks from volunteers from all areas of the sport – a chance to hear about different roles, roles that maybe you have contemplated doing but not got around to, then LUNCH.

Anyone who knows a BE volunteer will appreciate that essentially their day revolves around food, and lunch did not disappoint, Anna and everyone at Bede worked their socks off and cooked up gallons of soup, then what we all came for….. Lemon drizzle cake 

Suitably refreshed and revived, the afternoon session was a chance to refresh the memory with all usual rules and details and to take in all the rule updates and FEI changes – much debate was had regarding the FEI’s new 50 penalties concept, as we concluded it’s ‘a starter for ten’ and time will tell how this pans out and may develop over the seasons to come.

It was a great day, and lovely to catch up with everyone ahead of the new season. Now off to put the finishing touches to the event calendar for this season and purchase some new waterproofs and onwards to Oasby (1) which is a mere three weeks away. Happy eventing everyone.

Anyone reading this and wondering how to get involved, well its simple really contact your local event (details are in the BE planner, BE magazine, most events have websites or social media pages now) and ask what roles are available. Training/briefing is provided and if unsure, just ask to be partnered up with an experienced buddy as I did, haven’t looked back since! Volunteering at any level of this great sport is very rewarding, and gets you a front row seat to watch world-class athletes, both equine and human of today or in the future… oh and did I mention the cake?! Give it a go!