BE VOLUNTEER – Sunshine, amazing cake & sticky brown stuff…

Last week Monteberry, Andy & myself headed to Rockingham Castle – a fabulous event, well attended and a lovely welcome from Sarah and her team.

Stepping on sit was a bit like stepping out of a time machine back to the start of the season…. there was all this brown sticky stuff everywhere. With such a prolonged dry spell it took a few seconds to realise that it was mud, and plenty of it. But the team at Rockingham did a fantastic job to ensure competition went ahead, and what a weekend. A win for Mr Nicholson, a master class in speed from Mr Townend and the gorgeous Vendredi Biats – happy me!

Rockingham Briefing

Now volunteers are known for their love of cake, but there is one thing that is even better than cake and that is Margaret’s carrot cake. It is a thing of epic beauty, so delicious, so moist and fruity that quite frankly I’d do just anything for.

Margaret’s cake is legendary and for good reason. She is a dedicated volunteer, who regularly slaves over a hot stove for so many events including Aston le Walls, Gatcombe and much to my delight Rockingham. Margaret makes sure we ll have full stomachs to go to war with, and quite frankly if I knew she was doing the catering at an event in Northern Scotland I’d be signing up now. I wont score Margaret’s carrot cake, as its off the scale, a ten simply wouldn’t do it justice. Nor shall I confess how many slices were consumed.

The ground held up brilliantly, even if we were made redundant when our intended Sunday afternoonRockingham 11 novice fence was omitted. This gave us a chance to do a job never done before in being a ‘relief’ fence judge team and see the rest of the course.

A wonderful thank you from Sarah & the Rockingham team and a trip to the car wash on the way home and suddenly its Monday morning again!

The volunteer adventure rolled on to Shelford Manor, where a wonderful warm welcome by Anna & Stuart Buntine greeted us all. The Buntines always provide excellent hospitality and always go above and beyond to make their volunteers feel welcome. They had even ordered sunshine for us all!

Off we toddled towards fence 14, a double of roll tops sponsored by the lovely folks at Bloomfields. A curving line, with a drop in ground level between the elements made for an eventful day, with short strides, long strides, fiddling strides and lots of good old fashioned ‘kick on and hope for the best’. We had everything from 4 strides to 7 strides throughout the day, which provided much entertainment.

Not enough sun block made for a red-faced end to the day, but we were still thankful the thunderstorms had decided not to visit our little corner of Nottinghamshire. Plenty of tea and some delicious cherry cake, was just missing an ice cream!

The day ended rather abruptly with a fall at fence 10 which held the course. Whilst incidents are unfortunate, and we are glad to hear that Florence is thankfully recovering, I am always in awe of how fast the emergency crews respond to the call. So much planning and manpower is required to make these events happen and keep us all safe. They do an amazing job.Rockingham_ditch is huge

This week is National Volunteers Week – I’d like to thank everyone in the Eventing world for making my volunteering adventures so enjoyable and rewarding. Honestly if you haven’t given it a go yet, hurry up and get to the cake before I do!

This week, Andy, Monteberry and myself are heading north to Brand Hall for the Pony Championships , so great to watch the next generation come into the sport, see you there!

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