Eventing lost a wonderful man Sunday, June 23 as Donald Trotter passed away peacefully after battling a short illness. Trotter was a key contributor through his volunteerism to the sport of eventing. Together, Trotter and his wife, Pam Duffy, owned Sunsprite Warmbloods, breeding and placing many top horses.
Helping riders, Trotter could always be found by the warmup. No, not just watching his horses go, but acting as ring steward. “As a horse show husband, I frequently found myself bored beyond belief at shows. I had nothing to do and often found myself hanging out at our rider's barns,” he said in an Athletux Volunteer of the Month article in 2016. Then finally in 2009 Trotter was offered a job he couldn’t refuse: ring steward. He enjoyed volunteering so much that he reached out to event organizer and friend, Robert Kellerhouse, asking if he could try out a few other volunteer positions. Kellerhouse let Trotter experiment with different jobs from cross-country control to jump judge but he always found his way back to ring steward, his favorite.
Trotter said his satisfaction with his favorite job was simple, “If my presence in warmup makes a rider more relaxed or an organizer more confident the show will run on time, then I'm doing my job to contribute to the sport of eventing. That's rewarding to me.” His presence was calming and nice to find in a sometimes crowded and hectic warmup. Many riders are notoriously tense before competition and you can bet Trotter was always there with a subtle joke to make them laugh or a few kind words to relieve any nerves.
Trotter made an impact in whatever he did. Originally working for the United Nations, in addition to Sunsprite and his volunteer work, he excelled in crafting breathtaking show jumping fences with his business Jumpwerks and was a passionate horticulturist of exotic plants. Together with his lovely wife Duffy, Trotter also helped spearhead new volunteer recognition software, created several awards to recognize volunteers, and received numerous awards himself for his dedication to the sport.
Duffy has suggested the best way to honor Trotter’s memory is to go volunteer. Volunteering is the heart of the sport and volunteering brought Trotter great joy.
At this time arrangements are being made for a Celebration of Life. Details will be made available as soon as they are known. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Volunteer Incentive Program at www.useafoundation.org/donate.
One of my passions is continuing to be a good student, because I think no matter how old I get, there are multiple reasons learning new things inspires me. First and foremost, it helps me be a better rider and trainer, so my horses benefit. Second, it helps me be a better teacher by exposing me to different ways to have a relationship with a horse or a student.
This month we’re going to begin a three-part series on how to create positive riding experiences by making sure the words you say to yourself and the thoughts you think to yourself are positive. Referred to as self-talk, internal dialogue, or brain babble; the words you say to yourself can have a huge impact on your performance. In fact, your thoughts and voice are actually considered behaviors, and just like how positive physical behaviors (i.e. a balanced transition) can create success, your verbal behaviors can also accomplish the very same thing. So let's spend the next few months talking about how to talk to yourself!
Being spontaneous has paid off for Kevin Keane and Sportsfield Candy. “I bought him on a Wednesday and showed him on a Thursday,” Keane recalls about his first event with his Irish Sport Horse gelding, then 9 years old, at Plantation Field Horse Trials (Unionville, Pennsylvania) in September 2016. “I owned him for part of a day, and the next morning I showed up at a CCI and jogged him up for a two-star, and we went clean and clean and clean.”
THANK YOU to everyone who has already entered the USEF/USEA Recognized CDCTA Spring Horse Trials scheduled for Sunday, April 9 in Berryville, VA. We will continue to take late entries through Friday, March 24 using USEA’s Xentry system. If you still want to come compete, please enter! The late fee has been waived through Friday, March 24.