Summer is a season full of sunshine, sunscreen, and sweat. Amidst the summer heat, eventing volunteers come together to work hard, have fun, and give back to the sport of three-day eventing. In a sport that’s almost always fully outdoors, volunteers, competitors, and event officials all work outside - rain or shine.
To maximize the volunteer experience at any USEA recognized event, volunteers should be prepared for whatever weather comes their way. Stay hydrated with water and stay protected with sunscreen. These common items can be found in any volunteer bag. Cindy Vunder, a veteran volunteer of Golden Spike Horse Trials, explains her list of essential items. “The items in my bag may change depending on the weather forecast. I pack the simple stuff, but it’s all weather based,” said Vunder.
Vunder’s bag had two water bottles and a sparkling water. “I pack lots of water and lots of sunscreen,” said Vunder.
For a day outside, sunscreen is necessary to stay protected from the sun.
3. Jacket and/or Rain Jacket
“I pack a jacket in case it’s cold in the morning,” said Vunder. A light jacket or rain jacket is important to keep handy when working outside.
A baseball cap or sun hat helps protect the face from sun.
“And reading glasses so I can keep track of the order of go,” said Vunder.
6. Backpack or Handbag
“I put everything in a handbag,” said Vunder.
Depending on the event, food and snacks are typically provided free for volunteers. “I don’t bring food because [Golden Spike] always provides food for me,” said Vunder.
A smile is something that Vunder was wearing the entire day. As her positive attitude radiated the dressage warmup, Vunder explained why she enjoys volunteering. “My favorite volunteer role is a dressage [steward]. Dressage shows great horsemanship and tests both horse and rider. I’ve been volunteering for four years. I find it to be so much fun to see the growth of the riders over the years,” said Vunder.
“I like to be here 30 minutes early to help set up. By 8:00 a.m., I have my bucket, my list, and we’re ready to go. I always have a clean glove on my hands and check to see if a rider wants water before their test. As a volunteer, I think it’s important to stay calm. People are looking to us for leadership, so I think you really have to be there for the horses and riders,” said Vunder.
Eight items in her bag, four years of volunteering, and one smile, Cindy Vunder is known to Area IX’s eventers for her positive attitude and hard work at Golden Spike Horse Trials.
Thank you to Cindy Vunder and all eventing volunteers to help keep the sport of eventing alive!
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.
The 21 members of the USEA Board of Governors represent all the different factions of the U.S. eventing community, including professional riders, adult amateurs, owners, organizers, officials, veterinarians, and more. There is a president, one representative for each of the 10 USEA Areas, and the remaining 10 represent the demographics of the sport.
Sired by Zabalu and out of Croftlea Firequeen (by the well-known Irish Sport Horse sire Kingcroft Wicklow), the New Zealand Thoroughbred Flintstar was bred by Raewyn Price at Croftlea Stud in North Canterbury, New Zealand and born in 2000.
The USEA is deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Steve Blauner, a valued USET Foundation trustee and longtime owner for U.S. Eventing Team High Performance Athletes Boyd Martin and Doug Payne.
To all of the enthusiastic equestrians out there, five-star eventer Sara Gumbiner says, “dream even bigger.” Aboard her longtime partner Polaris (Brandenburg’s Windstar x North River Lady), Gumbiner has transitioned from daring young rider to bold international competitor. Fueled by hard work, a great support system, and a knack for ending up exactly where she should, Gumbiner went from competing in her first recognized event to her first Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5* in just eight years.