BE VOLUNTEER – Return to the ring


Well it’s been a while since I last shared my volunteering adventures, so I shall bring you up to speed.

Way back in May; before this beautiful run of sunshine, ice creams and aftersun lotion; before we all forgot what rain looked and felt like! Monteberry and I popped along to Shelford, always a pleasure as it’s a BEDE event and the Buntine’s hospitality is always legendary. So legendary in fact that I had a call from Anna the night before, she found herself with more volunteers than she knew what to do with, so would I mind heading to show jumping instead of my usual XC fence judge haunt. Mind I did not, and I was up bright and breezy to meet Sue and the team.

It’s been a while since I was in the SJ judges box, queue reminiscing about BSJA days, my early commentary days and scary pony club moms who were sure the wind just blew down the rail not their little darling’s 12.2 demon pony. 

What a great day I had! Excellent competitors who were all on time, a volunteer whizz on the collecting ring who was stacking them up in swift fashion and a great team in the control box. Now I know how the local farm shop stand gets so many mentions during the event, that goody bag was delicious; fresh strawberries, sausage rolls and a pork pie. Gonalston Farm Shop, if you are ever passing by, stop and go in you won’t be disappointed. 

The day flew by once I’d quickly got the hang of the score sheet and timing system, some lovely clear rounds and plenty of fun was had. So much so I am very tempted to pop by show jumping more often and volunteer. That’s the beauty of this sport, there is so much variety, so many interesting days volunteering to be had, you’d never get bored.

In a happy ‘accident’, I ended up with someone new at Catton this year. I spent my Sunday with a delightfully interesting lady called Pia. A doctor by trade and a thoroughly interesting partner for the day, we talked endlessly; putting the world of equestrianism and the wider world to rights. That is the joy of volunteering, you don’t always know who you’ll be partnered with and that can lead to some interesting meetings and sharing the day with some fascinating characters. Thanks Pia, I really enjoyed our day together.

Catton Park is a highlight of my early summer calendar and is always such fun. A very gracious host, excellent ‘bun run’ with endless tea and biscuits, what’s not to love?! 

Following Catton, there’s been a good friends wonderful wedding, many photography adventures in blistering hot weather and I’ve put in many hours of hard work on my tan. What a summer we’re having. Plenty of sunscreen fellow volunteers!

It may be the height of summer but with the glorious British weather, you never quite know what is hiding around the corner, so this week my new Jileon wellies have arrived. Wow, so comfy and excellent for fence judge adventures in water jumps where you need to be in them all day, they have a range of calf widths, perfect for my little paws. 

An email landed in the mailbox, which produced quite a dilemma. Being a serial volunteering addict, WEG has long since been on my radar. A trip to America surely wasn’t to be missed. Again, the beauty of volunteering in the wonderful sport is that it can take you anywhere and everywhere. But alas after much deliberation about logistics, cat sitters and a new found additional appreciation of the amazing organisation of the Europeans in Poland last year, alas I have kindly declined the opportunity. WEG will be enjoyed on my tablet whilst snapping away at Blenheim this year (in my other hobby as EWW photographer). Sad not to be going, but onwards to my next adventure.

Next on the calendar is The Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe; always a pleasure and then onto Hartpury and need to find out my kilt as Blair beckons…

As always, if you’re thinking of how to get involved in this great sport, just contact your local event, they be happy to hear from you, promise. 

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