Nov 05, 2020

Jerry and Lynne Buell: USEA's Volunteers of the Month

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
Photo courtesy of Jerry and Lynne Buell.

Jerry and Lynne Buell met at Asbury University in Kentucky where Lynne was a member of the first class in the Equine program in 1978. Lynne had started taking riding lessons while in high school in Florida – first Western, then English – and Jerry is a preacher's son from northeastern Ohio. “One of our parsonages was on 10 acres with a barn, and some people boarded their horses there. My siblings and I would ride bareback in the pasture,” Jerry recalled.

Both are horse lovers, but neither had ever competed or knew much of anything about eventing when Lynne started volunteering at the Rocking Horse Stables Horse Trials in 2011. Their only experience with eventing was as attendees at the cross-country day of the 1978 World Three-Day Event Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park as part of Lynne’s college classes, before they even really knew what eventing was.

They were living in Florida and a teaching colleague of Jerry’s at Mt. Dora High School asked Lynne if she would be interested in volunteering as a cross-country jump judge for the day at Rocking Horse. “I started by myself,” said Lynne. “The next winter I said to Jerry, ‘Why don’t you just come out with me?’ and he said that he thought it sounded boring! I was doing jump judging for cross-country, and he said, ‘Okay, I’ll come out.’ He sat in the truck and he watched and the more he watched he said, ‘Well, what can I do?’ and I said, ‘Well, I’m not going to put you on the radio, but you can mark off if they clear the jump or not.’ That was in 2012, and we’ve been doing it together since then.”

Jerry confirmed, “Lynne asked me if I wanted to do it, and I thought it would be rather boring . . . was I wrong!”

Since that winter in 2012, Jerry and Lynne have traveled all over Florida to volunteer as jump judges, working as a team. “We loved it so much that I started researching and found out about the Florida Horse Park – we’ve been volunteering there since 2013,” said Lynne. “A friend of ours who is also a volunteer started one down in Groveland – Three Lakes – so we do that one too.”

“We’ve also volunteered at Red Hills International, we’ve done Grand Oaks, we’ve done the Ocala Jockey Club, and we’ve done Majestic Oaks,” said Jerry. Lynne added that they’ve narrowed it down to Rocking Horse, Three Lakes, and the Florida Horse Park as the places they like to regularly volunteer the most. “We have found the group at Rocking Horse, out of all the ones we’ve been to, to be the best run,” Jerry said.

Photo courtesy of Jerry and Lynne Buell.

Jerry and Lynne have stuck to cross-country jump judging – their favorite volunteer activity. “We enjoy watching the teamwork of rider and horse, as both adjust to the obstacle,” Jerry said. “There is a beauty that exists in seeing a 1,000-pound animal, with a rider on its back, clear a jump. It is the most strenuous of the three eventing disciplines. And it requires the judge to do much more than sit in a chair and radio into Control that the jump was cleared. The safety of horse and rider is utmost in our day, and sometimes quick and accurate communication is necessary.”

Jerry spent five years working as a police officer and uses that training to maintain safety when he’s volunteering at an event. He said it’s come in handy during emergency situations. “I’m just one of those people, I want to be able to help,” he said, reflecting on the times when he and Lynne have been on site during an accident. “It’s a rough sport.”

“We both love horses, although we have never owned a horse,” Jerry mused. “They are one of God's most incredible animals, having the ability to think and react quickly. And horse people are, for the most part, an incredible group of people. When I taught high school, I found my kids that worked with animals, especially horses, to be more mature and disciplined. Having an animal to care for, and then competing with that animal, demands a devotion to duty that so many other students do not get. I enjoy the relationship, even as just a volunteer, that I have with the riders, especially the younger ones.”

Jerry and Lynne said they’re both excited to get back to volunteering, as they haven’t had the chance since before the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year. “We’re so excited for the season to start back up again,” Jerry said. Lynne explained that they bought a new camper just for traveling to events so they can go and make a weekend out of it.

“After a day of eventing out in the field, judging and all of the other stuff a good judge does without being asked, we are dog tired!” said Jerry. “When you do your job well, at the end of the day, there is a joyful exhaustion. That is why we will grill, either on our Smokey Joe or directly over a fire, and then enjoy a Maker’s Mark or Woodford Reserve under the stars, even when it is cold!”

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.

Dec 04, 2022 Sponsor

Section 1031 Tax-Deferred Exchanges of Farms, Ranches & Investment Real Estate with Capital Square

Are you on the hunt for your next farm, ranch or investment property? USEA sponsor, Capital Square, has all of the information that you need to know about the tax advantages for investing in this type of property. Capital Square is an investor-centric firm and leader among tax-advantaged real estate investment sponsors with more than $2 billion in equity raised. Owners of farms, ranches and investment real estate enjoy several tax advantages, include the rules governing Section 1031 that defer taxable gains on the sale of real estate.

Dec 03, 2022 Classic Series

Looking Back at the 2022 USEA Classic Series

The USEA is so incredibly proud to allow the thrill of the 'chase to live on for those who want to experience the unforgettable rush of the classic long format three-day event through our USEA Classic Series events. Long-format events from the Beginner Novice to Preliminary levels are still a reality with the USEA Classic Series and include roads and tracks, steeplechase, and cross-country on "endurance day," as well as horse inspections. In addition, educational activities are offered at the USEA Classic Series Events to help prepare competitors, especially those who are contesting their first-ever long format event.

Dec 02, 2022 Convention

Awards Presentations and Special Functions at the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

The 2022 United States Eventing Association (USEA) Annual Meeting & Convention in Savannah, Georgia is a time to celebrate the incredible achievements and memories made by our members throughout the year. During the convention, the USEA will shine a spotlight on the national awards winners, grant recipients and eventing legends during three separate events: the USEA Year End Awards Luncheon, the USEA Annual Meeting of Members Luncheon and the 8th edition of the USEA’s Eventing Hall of Fame Gala. With so many celebrations taking place in one packed weekend, it may be hard to decide which you want to attend. Keep reading for all you need to know to on these three uniquely special events!

Dec 02, 2022 Sponsor

Ride iQ Renews Partnership with the USEA

The United States Eventing Association, Inc. (USEA) is pleased to announce the return of an official USEA Educational Collaborator, Ride iQ. Ride iQ is a mobile app that allows riders to take audio lessons with top coaches while they ride, an opportunity that hasn’t existed before. In 2023, the USEA will partner with the company to offer exclusive content in collaboration with the USEA’s Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) and the EA21 program, as well as creating other unique educational opportunities.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

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Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Real Estate Partner of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

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