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 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].
When Chris Quinn was 13 years old, she told her parents she wanted riding lessons at a barn in a nearby town. Horses were unknown to her family as no one else in her family had anything to do with them, but with her persistence, they agreed to pay for them. There was, however, a catch. “I had to get myself there, thinking that over time I would give up. Little did they realize! I rode my bike three towns over winter, spring, summer, and fall in riding clothes,” she described. Quinn grew up in New York so winters existed in full force but that never deterred her. She did this for years until she went to college and horses have been a part of her life ever since.
Apart from dabbling in other disciplines, Quinn mainly grew up competing on the hunter/jumper circuit. She didn’t find eventing until the military moved her family, although she will admit that it always interested her. Her older son was the eventer in the family and from there, Quinn was hooked too. He competed up to the one-star (now two-star) level and was very involved with the Area III Young Rider program as well when the family ended up in Aiken, South Carolina, in 2005. Aiken is known for its large horse community and even larger eventing presence. It allowed Quinn to become more involved than ever before.
What started out as just jump judging has morphed into other positions from there. As time has gone on, she has done more and more apart from just jump judging. Living in Aiken, South Carolina, there are many venues and with events almost every weekend in the winter so she stays busy! From show jumping scribe to warmup steward, scorer, starter, office help, and more, she has done it all.
She also has different roles at different venues, all of which she loves. If pressed she said jump judging and hospitality are her favorites. “They are more enjoyable to me because you get to see the sport up close, and interact with the other volunteers,” she described. Every role to Quinn is important and she always shows up for every event willing to lend a hand where they need her, even if it isn’t in her typical role.
Not only does Quinn love to volunteer because of the horses, but also because of the people. “I volunteer because I enjoy it. My friends are the farm owners, and the competitors, and the other volunteers. The sport needs our help and I help my friends,” she explained. She puts so much of herself into helping the eventing community and always wants to ensure she can do whatever is needed to help out. If you have attended an event in the Aiken area or event further down at Pine Top and beyond, chances are you’ve seen her out doing her part.
When asked why she loves the sport and what it means to her, Quinn was quick to respond. “I have to think my favorite part of the sport is the helpfulness of all the competitors with each other, the support that they give each other, with no agenda other than goodwill,” she said. The eventing community is a special one and it is apparent from the moment you step on grounds. It makes an impact far beyond the competition arenas and cross-country courses. It is what sets our community apart. To have volunteers like Quinn as a part of that community is truly special.
Living in Aiken, South Carolina has given Quinn the chance to just about do it all and she still continues to volunteer as much as she can even with her son not as involved in the sport anymore. It is easy to see how much it means to her and how much she means to the community. Organizers are quick to praise her for all of her efforts and emphasize that she is one of the most dedicated volunteers that they have seen. She is more than deserving of this month's volunteer of the month nomination and we are so honored to be able to thank her for everything she has done for the community.
Quinn is also quick to add how much she loves her fellow volunteers as well! We agree and believe each and every one of them needs to be highlighted. If there is a special volunteer who has made an impact on you or who you feel has gone above and beyond, highlight them for our next feature! And be sure to give Quinn and all of the amazing volunteers a huge thank you when you see them because, without volunteers, our sport wouldn’t exist.
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.
For seasoned and novice riders alike, it is always good to revisit the basics. Serving as the foundation for any eventer, the positions used on the cross-country course differ from those in the dressage or show jumping ring. The USEA tuned into five-time Olympian, three-time World Equestrian Games rider, two Pan-American Games rider, and USEA ECP certified coach Karen O'Connor as she walked coaches and students at the USEA ECP Symposium through the basic positions for effective cross-country riding.
The USEF's main phone number and fax number have changed. We wanted to notify you so you continue to get the support you need.
With the recent wrap-up of the 2023 Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) Symposium in Ocala, Florida, USEA Podcast Host Nicole Brown chats with ECP Faculty Members Jennifer Howlett Rousseau and Robin Walker about all things related to the ECP. From the USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels to the benefits of pursuing certification, selecting the best coach for you, recapping this year's Symposium, and more - this week's USEA podcast is the perfect educational tool for coaches and riders alike!
Time is precious. Time with your horse even more so. If one of your resolutions for the New Year is to spend more time in the saddle or more time enjoying the barn, you’ll want to implement these best practices to minimize stress and make the most of 2023.