Dawn Anderson grew up in the Western world of horses, participating in rodeos, barrel racing, and going trail riding during her childhood and teenage years. She took a break from riding after high school, and it wasn’t until nearly 15 years later when she and her husband moved to Florida with their children that Anderson would get back into horses.
“My oldest daughter was about 8 years old when we got our first horse,” Anderson explained. “A friend of mine was getting into English riding and she grew up totally Western too, and she said, ‘I found this thing called Pony Club – let’s go check it out,’ and we checked it out and thought it looked fun! That was that, and now I’m the treasurer of the Sunshine Region Pony Club, and I’m also the DC of South Lake Pony Club.”
Through her involvement in Pony Club, Anderson and her daughters learned about the sport of three-day eventing. Anderson’s oldest is now attending nursing school and doesn’t have much time for riding at the moment, but her youngest daughter, who is now 15, is planning to pursue a career in riding. “She was 13 when she moved out of the house and she’s in Reddick, Florida now with Megan Fischer-Graham and Dean Graham as their working student. That’s what she wants to do – she wants to train horses, and that’s what they do. She’s already gone Training level and she’s looking for a new horse now.”
Anderson’s daughter’s involvement in the sport is what first prompted her to get involved as a volunteer. “A friend of mine was doing the jump judging at Florida Horse Park, which I found to be exciting,” she said. “I started volunteering about 10 years ago and then went into different volunteer positions from that. All the venues in our Area are really lovely about giving schooling passes for volunteering and mama needs a little extra help to do all this! So, I volunteer to get the schooling passes for my daughter to use. I volunteer all the time and even have a small paid position at the Florida Horse Park to run the cross-country.”
With easy access to the Florida Horse Park, Rocking Horse, Three Lakes Horse Trials, and Majestic Oaks, there are no shortage of volunteer opportunities for Anderson. “The leadership at Florida Horse Park, Rocking Horse, Majestic Oaks, and Three Lakes are wonderful,” she said. “They are so generous to their volunteers which makes the hot, humid days volunteering all worth it. We couldn’t be in a better spot for this.”
Of all the volunteer positions that Anderson has filled – and she’s filled just about all the jobs on the list – her favorite role to play is providing lunches to the cross-country jump judges. “I love interacting with the people that are doing the jump judging and getting to know people a little bit better. Usually you’re running all over and you don’t really get to know anybody, so it’s nice to do the lunches because you get the chance to get to know them. I have my regulars who volunteer all the time and I see them at every show. You get to know people and you make friendships. It feels like a family.”
“The eventing community is enjoyable and treats each other with respect,” Anderson concluded. “I appreciate that they are helpful towards one another and make the shows a pleasure to volunteer at. t’s nice when they tell the volunteers ‘thank you’ for helping!”
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.
Tomorrow, the first of five regional clinics for the USEA Emerging Athletes U21 (EA21) Program kicks off in the central region of the country in Benton, Louisiana, at Holly Hill Farm. Throughout the summer, the remaining clinics on the East and West Coast will follow. At each clinic, 12 hand-selected riders will participate in a two-day clinic led by USEA Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) coaches. The purpose of the EA21 program is to create a pipeline for potential team riders by identifying and developing young talent, improving horsemanship and riding skills, and training and improving skills and consistency. The intention is to provide young athletes with access to an added level of horsemanship and riding skills to further their training and skill development with greater consistency.
After the first day of competition, Canadian Olympian Colleen Loach and her horse FE Golden Eye lead an international field in the CCI4*-L division of the MARS Bromont CCI.
Stone Gate Farm Horse Trials, located in Hanoverton, Ohio, announced they would cancel their fall horse trials, which were scheduled for Sept. 23-24.
Morgan Rowsell had just wrapped up organizing a successful Essex H.T. in Far Hills, New Jersey, on June 4, but as he turned his attention to his next show two weeks later, he was faced with challenges presented by the effects that wildfires from Canada are now having on equestrian sports in the Northeast. “The very next day, the smoke came in,” he said. “It looks like a warm, humid, hazy day, but it’s not humid, it’s not warm, it’s actually quite cool. There’s no air. There’s very little breeze. There’s a northeast wind coming out of Canada that is bringing all the Novia Scotia and Quebec smoke to us, and it smells like smoke.”