MY YEAR AS A BRITISH EVENTING VOLUNTEER

Hello all!

I hope you’re all keeping safe, warm and dry in this horrible December weather. As 2015 is nearly over (where did that year go?!), I thought that I would share with you, some highlights of my year volunteering.

This year has been my first ever year volunteering for British Eventing. I can clearly say, it’s been one of the best things I have ever done!

My first event was at Shelford horse trials back in the summer. It was a warm, sunny day, and I was dressage writing with a lovely judge for the day. At first, I felt a lot of pressure having to keep up with all the comments and scores that were being made, however, as the day passed along, I began to feel a lot more relaxed. It was a really enjoyable role to do for my first event, and I’d love to try it again next season!

In October, I did fence judging for the day at Eland Lodge (as you may have read in my previous post – if not, go and take a peek!). This role was also very enjoyable. The surroundings were beautiful, food was delicious – always a bonus, and everyone was so polite and welcoming! If you’re looking for something a little less daunting to do for your first time as a volunteer, I would definitely recommend this role. You can be paired up with a fellow volunteer, and you can judge/score the fence together to take the pressure away. You can even have time for a chit chat as you get ready and wait for the next rider! Fence judging gets you right in the middle of all the action, so you’re always kept on your toes!

However, my favourite event of the year was definitely Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials.

Over the three days volunteering there, I met so many amazing people, including quite a few famous 12043045_1125005554195207_3405809668744091806_nriders!! Getting to be behind the scenes at one of my all time favourite events was just amazing. I really appreciate having the opportunity to do it, and I hope to return next year. My role at Blenheim was to be part of the stables welcoming team; this meant being on hand for the riders, to help them organize themselves when they arrived, and pack up when they left. We also helped to fill the stables with bedding etc, so the riders had what they needed when they got there. Volunteering at BPIHT was a bit of a dream come true – I had never even been to the event before, but always watched the coverage. I’ve wanted to go for years! The best parts were being driven around in the buggy (it was more fun than it sounds..), being able to walk parts of the course, seeing all the horses and riders walking past – having William Fox Pitt just a few feet away from us was surreal; and of course, meeting riders such as Pippa Funnell, Kitty King and Francis Whittington!

Although I haven’t done many events this year, I am already looking forward to getting stuck into the 2016 season; I hope to volunteer at far more events than I did this year, so keep your eyes peeled for lots of exciting posts to come! I would encourage every one of you to give volunteering a try, even if you decide it’s not for you afterwards, you only need to try it for a day and see what you think. Although, I can guarantee you’ll probably be hooked! Thank you all for reading, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Rachel

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