May 03, 2017

Carol Rowan: USEA's Volunteer of the Month Presented by Athletux

By Mikaela Kantorowski - Athletux Equine
Carol Rowan and Betsy Knight jump judging at Loch Moy Farm. Carolyn Mackintosh Photo.

It always helps to see a warm and friendly face when heading to warm up for that all-important test or jump round. In this new series, the United States Evening Association (USEA) is partnering with Athletux to feature those around us who help make these events happen, the volunteers. Without them horse shows and programs could not succeed, and these volunteers go above and beyond to make sure every rider feels comfortable and confident. Do you know a volunteer who should be nominated as Volunteer of the Month? We are looking for our next feature. Email your tips to [email protected].

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who has more volunteer hours than Carol Rowan, and it is difficult to put into words what she means to the community. Rowan has filled about every role a volunteer possibly could and never misses an event or show, especially when they are at Bascule Farm in Maryland. It was here, 24 years ago, that Rowan began volunteering, but she had always loved horses and enjoyed riding. As a child, she rode at summer camp and convinced her skeptical parents to allow her to take lessons in the area. After she graduated college, she became good friends with a couple who ran a stable for trail rides, and when they had to move away, Rowan was quick to jump at the opportunity to own a horse of her own. From there, she never looked back and was introduced to the sport of eventing thanks to rider Gail Fox. When Fox became pregnant with triplets, Rowan looked for a new facility to keep her horse and came across Bascule Farm, which is where she still is today years later.

Everyone at Bascule Farm has a deep respect and admiration for Rowan. Julie Hagan, one of the full-time coaches and instructors at Bascule, said Rowan has been “instrumental in her and Bascule’s success” and called Rowan the “epitome of what a volunteer should be.” If there is a show going on at Bascule, you can bet Rowan is there. From schooling shows in the winter to dozens of other events throughout the year, she never misses a competition and will do whatever she can to help out, often taking on the role of show secretary and organizing the entire thing!

Of course, her work doesn’t stop there. She also helps out at many other local shows along with her good friend Betsy Knight. Together they travel to Seneca Valley, Loch Moy and other Area II events to volunteer, and Rowan is a familiar face at many of these events, often found managing the show jumping ring, running the electronic timer, or cross country jump judging. While those jobs may be Rowan's favorites, she is quick to lend a hand wherever needed and has done it all from bit check, score runner, scheduling and even jump crew. Every event loves when these two offer to help. Every one of these facilities is so grateful for all that both these ladies do to help the competition run smoothly and efficiently.

Even when she was eventing herself, Rowan would set aside time to volunteer and would make a point to do as much as she could to give back. She added, “I believe volunteering is so important and it gives people responsibility. I was thrilled when the USEA implemented a new program for volunteers and am so excited to see the beneficial impact it will have on the sport.”

When asked why she loves the sport, Rowan is quick to point out, “It’s because of the horses.” Her favorite part of the day is just sitting and watching and the horses and riders do what they love and have fun. She added, “You can just see the look in their eye from both horse and rider that really shows how excited they get, young or old, and the people are just incredible.”

For Rowan, the people are a close second, and she loves the camaraderie in the eventing community. She explained, “Eventers are so quick to help one another and will be the first to come off course and immediately give words of advice or lend their own equipment if a fellow rider has forgotten something. I have found this doesn’t exist in every discipline but that it really sets eventers apart from the rest.” It is easy to hear the excitement in her voice when asked about the sport. Rowan's passion for eventing is unparalleled, and her continued dedication to giving back is something every person should strive to have.

If you were to ask anyone in the eventing community about Rowan, you would no doubt only hear wonderful things. It is truly special to see how much of an impact she has made on everyone involved in the sport. She makes a point to go out of her way to help others, putting everything aside to make sure she can be there to help out. Keep an eye out for Rowan in show jumping or cross-country – and when you see her, give her a huge thank you, because the eventing community would not be the same without her.

Check in next month to learn more about Betsy Knight, Rowan's good friend and another incredible volunteer. These two are almost a package deal, and if you see Rowan or Knight at an event, the other is probably not far behind.

About the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our sport, the unsung heroes, and the people who make it possible to keep the sport alive. In efforts to recognize the dedication, commitment, and hard work that volunteers put into eventing, USEA formed the Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) in 2015. In 2017, an online management portal was designed for volunteers, organizers, and volunteer coordinators at EventingVolunteers.com (available as an app for iOS and Android).

Volunteer incentives include national and area recognition, year-end awards with ribbons, cash prizes, and trophies, a top ten USEA Volunteer leaderboard, and a Volunteer of the Year award which is given to the volunteer who tops the leaderboard by accumulating the most volunteer hours over the USEA competition year. Click here to learn more about the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program.

The USEA would like to thank Sunsprite Warmbloods for sponsoring the Volunteer Incentive Program.

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