Jul 08, 2020

Casper Cole: USEA's Volunteer of the Month

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
Photo courtesy of Casper Cole.

Seventeen-year-old Casper Cole grew up with horses. From the time she was just a little girl, she would sit on her mother’s horse and be led around on the lead line. From there she graduated to taking lessons at a local barn where she learned to ride and began to compete in small 4-H shows. All the while, Cole was watching videos of cross-country on YouTube and dreaming about competing in eventing.

When she was 12 years old, Cole’s parents bought her first horse, a mare named Lainey. Together, Cole and Lainey went on all sorts of adventures together, riding together during the more favorable summer months in Vermont and competing in local 4-H competitions. Cole and Lainey had plans to compete in their first horse trials this summer, but Lainey unfortunately passed away due to complications from colic in February. Luckily, there was a horse at Cole’s farm who needed someone to ride her, and so now Cole and the 13.3-hand pony named Arianna are looking forward to competing in their first event.

It wasn’t until last summer that Cole even became involved in the eventing community. Although she had always been curious about eventing and wanted to learn more, she’d never had the chance to compete before, and she thought volunteering would be a great way to learn about the sport. So, she went looking for volunteer opportunities in her area and found them at the Green Mountain Horse Association in South Woodstock, Vermont. “I was looking for things to do last summer and I was looking online for horse shows to volunteer at and I found GMHA,” she explained. “I signed up, and at the first one I was a jump judge for cross-country at a water crossing. I thought, ‘Hey, this is cool!’ It was a gloomy day, but I had a lot of fun and I wanted to sign up for more!”

Photo courtesy of Casper Cole.

Cole got hooked on her first taste of volunteering and kept going back to GMHA for more all summer – even volunteering at dressage shows and combined driving events as well, just for the chance to help out and spend time around the horses. “She’s always willing to help with our disciplines involving all our horse trials, dressage, and driving/combined driving shows,” shared Jill Bogert, Events Manager at the Green Mountain Horse Association.

Aside from jump judging, which Cole said is her favorite volunteer position for eventing because she gets to watch the horses galloping around on course, Cole as also been a dressage warm-up steward and show jumping steward. She said she really wants to try dressage scribing, but wants to give it a try first at a smaller event so she can get the hang of it before trying it at a larger competition. “I wanted to start with a smaller show with lower levels so I could learn how to do it, and I was hoping to do that this summer but everything got out of whack [because of COVID-19] so I don’t know when it’ll happen,” she said. “I really like cross-country jump judging though, that’s the most fun!”

“I feel like it’s nice to know what goes on behind the scenes,” Cole said. “It really helps me appreciate all the people who help shows run smoothly. It’s really fun to see how everything works because when you’re showing you don’t get to see everything that’s going on. When you’re volunteering, especially when you volunteer in different positions throughout the show, [you get to] see all the different things that are going on.”

Cole said that getting a taste of eventing through volunteering has only made her more excited to try it herself. “Especially cross-country!”

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.

Dec 07, 2022 Convention

Meet Your USEA Board of Governors

During the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, there will be two meetings of the USEA Board of Governors (BOG), one on Thursday, December 8th from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and one on Sunday, December 11th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The USEA is run by a BOG of around twenty individuals. These individuals discuss and vote on important matters related to the organization and its members. BOG members come from all over our ten USEA areas and come from various backgrounds from grooms, to professional riders, to amateurs, to course designers, and much more. Each BOG member serves a three-year term.

Dec 07, 2022 Convention

Fast Facts: 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

USEA members from near and far are getting ready to converge on the historic city of Savannah, Georgia this week for the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention! With four full days jam-packed with educational seminars, committee meetings and social gatherings, the convention is sure to excite all members of the eventing community that will be in attendance. The USEA Annual Meeting & Convention will be hosted at the Hyatt Regency Savannah Hotel this year, and we have all of the information you need to know to make the most of your experience!

Dec 06, 2022

The Business Toolkit for Eventers

As USEA members prepare for the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, the USEA is pleased to share “The Business Toolkit For Eventers” from our educational partner STRIDER. This webinar is part of their popular Professional Development Series for Equestrians, which features experts from across the horse industry speaking on business topics relevant to equestrian sport.

Dec 06, 2022 Young Event Horse

Get to Know the 2022 Holekamp/Turner Grant Recipient: HSH Blake

If you look at HSH Blake’s competition record, it won’t take you long to understand why Caroline Martin is dreaming big with the7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. Owned in partnership by Caroline Martin, Sherrie Martin and Molly Hoff, HSH Blake (Tolan R x Doughiska Lass) has already seen much success in his short career, collecting the championship title at the 2020 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse East Coast 5-Year-Old Championship, several top 2 finishes at the CCI2* level and multiple top 10 finishes at the CCI3* level since stepping up this year.

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