The horse show dad is a common sight in the equine community. Their portrait is a familiar one: cellphone hip holster, ball cap, boat shoes that should never see the light of day around a horse but somehow remain unscathed, and a bag of carrots protruding from a pant pocket. For some of us, the horse girl phase never wore out and neither did our dads, but for Amanda Ang that sentiment goes the extra (few hundred) miles every April when she and her father John road trip from Florida to Kentucky for the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.
It takes over 2,500 volunteers to help run the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, but there are two volunteers who have volunteered every year since 1995: Ron and Ellen Sadler. From assisting at the horse inspections to managing awards, they have helped make the event possible for many years. It’s a guarantee that you’ll see them on Sunday handing out ribbons and managing the group of volunteers for awards.
For Janice Holmes, volunteering is only one of the many hats she has donned over her life-long career in the equestrian industry. From a young age, she knew her purpose was in the equine industry. A rider from the age of 8, Holmes started her profession as a hunter trainer in the early part of her riding career but didn’t find the sport of eventing until a chance adventure with a friend when she was in her thirties.
Kimberlee Meeks had just returned from a busy weekend volunteering at the Carolina Horse Park when she sat down to share her volunteering journey with the USEA. “I’ve been around eventing since the ’70s,” she shared. “We had an event at our farm, the Mars Hill Horse Trials, which the last year we had it was 1980. My uncle used to build the cross-country courses so I have been around the sport for a long, long time.”
The official management system of the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) is www.eventingvolunteers.com and it has recorded a total of 8,105 volunteers and 194,193 volunteer hours since December 1, 2016. With the growing popularity and increase in participation, the USEA would like to remind VIP participants of the rules, eligibility, and incentives.
A lifelong love of horses has blossomed into so much more for Kristen Janicki through not only a lifetime of volunteering, but also her career. Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Janicki loved all animals, especially horses, from a very young age. While she never owned a horse of her own growing up, she got her start in the saddle at a local hunter/jumper barn and competed in local competitions. In 1993, she took a Quarter Horse named Ozzie that she was leasing to the Fox River Valley Pony Club Three-Day Event where she won her division and found herself hooked.
The USEA Volunteer Committee Chair, Bonnie Kibbie highlights the work of the Volunteer Committee and the success of the Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) in 2021. Updates include EventingVolunteers.com progress updates and usage statistics, volunteer educational video projects, volunteer rewards programs, and organizer practices/care of volunteers.
In 2021 Cynthia Smith recorded 536 hours and 59 minutes of volunteer time, setting the standard with the most amount of volunteer hours recorded in a single year since the creation of the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program in 2016. The record-breaking number of volunteer time earned Smith the 2021 USEA Volunteer of the Year title.
Jackie Braybrooke is one of those people that you want to sit down and have a cup of coffee with while she shares her life stories. The born and raised New Zealander has lived all over the world, but in her travels, one thing has remained constant: her passion for eventing (especially for New Zealand riders!). While she wasn’t an equestrian herself as a child, Braybrooke first found herself enamored with the sport of eventing after New Zealand rider Sir Mark Todd won the individual gold medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics with Charisma.
The USEA Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) launched the Volunteer Medal Program in 2020 to enhance the recognition of these resilient volunteers. The Volunteer Medal Program recognizes the volunteers who consistently volunteer year after year. Hours earned are cumulative over a lifetime of volunteer service. To earn a bronze medal, volunteers must record 500 volunteer hours; to earn a silver medal, volunteers must record 1,000 volunteer hours; and to earn a gold medal, volunteers must record 2,000 volunteer hours at eventingvolunteers.com.
Jana Flagler was a horse-loving child born into a non-horsey family. While her parents dreamed Flagler would one day be a concert pianist, which she wholeheartedly admits she is not, Flagler wanted to ride and jump horses from the first time she saw someone jumping on television. As a teenager, Flagler got that opportunity as a working student in Oklahoma.