Eland Lodge Hunter Trials Championships – 3rd October
At the beginning of October, I volunteered at Eland Lodge in Derbyshire for the first time, for the Hunter Trial Championships. I have never been to the venue before, and was extremely impressed by my experience! The event was a two day event, however, I only volunteered on the Saturday. Riders from all over the UK attended the championships, from 160 qualifying events which were held throughout the season. As soon as I arrived for a prompt, early start, I was greeted by the event organiser and a fellow volunteer who I’d be judging with throughout the day. We were handed all the sheets and equipment before sitting down for breakfast and the briefing. There was a huge buffet full of sausage cobs, pastries, muffins, tea and coffee (what a spread!!).
Once the briefing was finished we were escorted to the top of the hill to the ‘Brick stack’ fence which we
would be judging throughout the day. We set up our chairs and settled down before the riders began to fly by. We had a lovely pack up lunch made for us, which kept us going throughout the day, and a flask of hot drinks to warm us up (it was a chilly autumnal day!) The day had it’s perks as we saw some lovely combinations fly over the fences, and even heard about a few falls over the walkie talkie – we got right behind the action! The view from the top of the hill was spectacular, we could clearly see all parts of the course and incoming riders. It was definitely worth sitting out in the fresh air for such a lovely view!
We all had a quick break before the second class started, and then it was back to work for a long afternoon! The second class was more eventful than the first, we had many stops and starts. However, this didn’t wear down any of the wonderful volunteers’ enthusiasm, who all seemed to be powering through the afternoon! The sun began to set and the last few riders completed the course. We were all relieved to hear that the course was finally clear, and it was time to get into the warmth! After a bumpy drive back over to the tents, (for me) it was time to set off home! The food in the tent smelled incredible, and I’m determined to stay next time long enough to join the other volunteers for the pub quiz and fish and chips!
Eland lodge is a fabulous place to start off as a volunteer; you’re made extremely welcome, very well catered for, and everyone was so lovely and helpful!
If you’re a budding volunteer who would like to give it a try, I would definitely recommend giving E.L a visit. Volunteering is such a great day out, you can find events all across the country. It’s for all ages and you don’t even need to know much about riding! So never put yourself down and think you’re not good enough – you are!
Thanks for reading!