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].
Even though Jane and Terry Lynch have only been volunteering in the eventing community for a short time, they have already made quite the impact. Just this year alone, Terry amassed over 217 volunteer hours and his wife Jane was right behind him with almost 200! Together, they make up an unstoppable and very knowledgeable team and one very deserving of this month’s Volunteer of the Month nomination.
While they haven’t always been involved directly with the sport of eventing, Jane and Terry have always been around horses. When they got married, one of their favorite things to do together was go trail riding and their favorite vacation was taking a trip out to a ranch in Montana to ride. In fact, over the years Terry calculated that they have spent a total of 23 weeks riding across the Montana plains. After they settled down, Terry and Jane expanded their family and welcomed a daughter into the world. She loves horses just as much as they do and coincidentally did some eventing in high school. That was about the extent of their involvement in the eventing world, that is, until they moved down to North Carolina after retirement.
As luck would have it, shortly after they moved to Tryon, construction began on a world class facility now known as the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). At the time, Terry had joined the Board of Directors at the Tryon Riding and Hunt Club and when the TIEC organizers requested the Board’s help volunteering at their first event, Terry happily obliged along with his wife. This first event just so happened to be the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) in 2016 and soon their love of the sport was born. There is nothing like a National Championship event to welcome you into the sport!
There, they took the bull by the horns and jumped in with both feet. Terry took on the incredibly challenging role of stabling manager and Jane took over the head of hospitality position. Both jobs were full time and they spent the entire week living and breathing eventing. Terry was on the front lines welcoming all the competitors to the event, something he states is "very rewarding”. While Terry was off making sure stabling ran smoothly, Jane was organizing every single meal, volunteer lunch, and beverage service the entire week. She made sure everyone was fed and happy and boy, did she do her job well.
Not only did they take on two of the biggest roles at the event, but they also made time to try as many different positions as they could. Terry did some scribing and Jane did some jump judging in their free time to learn as much as they could about eventing. At the end of the weekend, prestigious show organizer Shelly Page was so impressed by the duo that she insisted they come to more of the events she organized to volunteer. They were honored and soon found themselves traveling to more prestigious venues and events to volunteer. This year they took their show on the road and filled their respective roles at the Wellington Showcase, the Fork Horse Trials, the Ocala Jockey Club International, and once again at the USEA American Eventing Championships.
At the AEC this year, Jane and Terry proved how dedicated they were to the sport once again. On the first day of the week-long event, Jane had an accident and severely sprained her wrist. While most who have thrown in the towel, Jane proceeded to not only cook and host an officials' dinner that night, but she also continued to volunteer the entire week despite the heavy brace on her wrist. Terry was there with her every step of the way and assisted in any way he could on top of his stabling duties. They truly do make up one of the strongest volunteer power couples in the eventing community and the events they work could not function without them.
They have recently begun to expand their horizons and have even dabbled in event organizing. This past October, the Tryon Riding and Hunt Club celebrated the 42nd anniversary of their Fall Horse Trials, and guess who organized the event? That’s right, Terry. Even though it was his first time at the helm, the event went off without a hitch. Those at the event credit Terry with his assistance in the success of many of the programs at the event, including the all-important Intercollegiate Challenge. Terry is extremely dedicated and passionate about everything he does and it is easy to see in the finished product. This year’s event was one of the best and Terry can’t wait to continue to watch and help the event grow.
While they do have a love for volunteering, both Terry and Jane are quick to point out that it is the love for the sport that keeps them coming back for more. When you ask Terry why he loves the sport, he states, “It is just so amazing what these athletes, both horse and rider, do and I love watching them go over these gigantic jumps so easily.” Jane echoed all of Terry’s remarks and added, “Horses are so beautiful and the riders are so nice. They are always ready for the unexpected and are so humble.” Both Terry and Jane are so grateful to all those who they have met along the way and to all the things they have learned.
Those who know the pair are quick to describe them as heroes in the community. Even though Terry and Jane are the first ones to admit that they may not know everything about the sport, their love for horses and those in the community shines through. They volunteer week after week and have a gracious attitude towards everything they do. They are already hoping to volunteer at even more events next year, including the World Equestrian Games, and both Terry and Jane are very excited about their future. Be sure to keep an eye out for them in 2018 and if you do see them in the stabling office or on the hospitality golf cart, give them a huge thank you because these events wouldn’t be the same without them.
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.
World-class equestrian competition is back with full spectator attendance and opportunities for giving back
After a one-year hiatus for spectators due to Covid-19, The Event at Rebecca Farm will be running at full strength for competitors and spectators, July 21-25. The Event draws more than 600 riders and 8,000 spectators each year to the picturesque Flathead Valley in northwest Montana.
Max Corcoran, President of the USEA & 5* event groom, joins host Nicole Brown. Talking all things from preparations & time management tips to specific top-level grooming insights. Max shares her wealth of experience with us, highlighting that knowing your horse is the most important factor when considering all elements of equine management.
“My whole journey has been a series of interconnected circles,” says Gina Miles.
The central compass point of those circles has been the Olympics. The Games are what set the Californian on her path, and where she reached her pinnacle - the individual silver medal in Hong Kong in 2008.
Gina, now 47, was 10 when the Olympics came to Los Angeles in 1984.
Plenty of event riders have chosen to cross oceans and base themselves thousands of miles away from “home” in pursuit of their career dreams - look at the likes of New Zealanders Sir Mark Todd and Andrew Nicholson, and now Tim and Jonelle Price, while Andrew Hoy, Clayton Fredericks and of course Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton have set sail from Australian shores. Not many American riders do it, though, probably because the sport is big enough and competitive enough in the U.S. not to make it necessary.