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].
Kristin Hogan was not always involved in the horse world and she did not grow up around horses either. In fact, she played tennis and practiced law until her two daughters came along. It was these two girls, Maddie and Mallory, who inspired Kristin to become more involved in the horse community. As her daughters grew up and became more involved themselves, so did Kristin. Maddie, now in her final year of college, began riding in elementary school and Mallory quickly followed, so you can only imagine the hours Kristin has put in at events with two daughters competing at the highest levels of the sport.
When she would take the girls to events, Kristin used volunteering as a means to stay out of the barns when she was too nervous to watch. This was only a sign of things to come. You name it, Kristin has done it over the years. Kristin's youngest daughter Mallory describes her mom as a “professional scribe and jump judge,” and added, “She loved coming out to and organizing shows ever since we were little!” Kristin would clock more hours volunteering than most, and this was in addition to being there to watch her daughters compete as well. Not everyone could juggle it all, but it was easy for Kristin, who enjoyed every minute of it.
Maddie Hogan (left) and Mallory Hogan (right) at the 2018 North American Youth Championships. Sherry Stewart Photo.
Mallory also explained, “I am forever grateful for my mom because she gave up a lot so we could have a lot, and I am so thankful for her not only being extremely supportive of our riding but also being so supportive of the entire horse community. She puts her heart into this just as much as we do.”
While she clocked many hours volunteering and assisting her girls in the Young Rider program, it wasn’t until the Area VI program was in need of a coordinator for the 2017 North American Junior and Young Rider Championships at Rebecca Farm that she stepped into her current volunteer role as the Area VI Young Rider Coordinator. Kristin fundraised, sold tickets, organized breakfasts, and did whatever she could, so when she was approached about the role Kristin couldn’t say no. She was the perfect fit.
What began as something temporary, quickly turned into something more permanent as the program flourished under Kristin. “Kristin runs Area VI Young Riders like a Fortune 500 company and we couldn’t be more grateful for her dedication to the program,” said Bec Braitling, Area VI Young Rider Team Coach.
Kristin (left) and husband Michael (right) displaying their Hogan pride. Photo courtesy of Kristin Hogan.
It's no secret that running a Young Rider program is not an easy feat. As a volunteer position, it can be stressful and with many young adults and their families relying on you, it can be very intimidating as well. However, Kristin has run the program with grace and style that is unmatched and put her stamp on the program almost immediately. Kristin excelled in the role and had so many new ideas and thoughts on ways to improve what was already a solid program. After all, having spent so many years as a horse show mom for two Young Riders, it was only natural for Kristin to step into that role for an entire Area.
When we caught up with two current Area VI Young Riders, it was evident how great of an impact Kristin has already made on the program. “Kristin made my first experience at Young Riders one to remember," explained Lisa Takeda, a member of the 2018 Area VI NAYC CIC2* team. "She was so encouraging and organized from the very start of the application process until the end of our week in Montana. I couldn’t have imagined the week of a lifetime without Kristin in the picture; the woman behind it all."
Another 2017 and 2018 Area VI NAYC Young Rider Team, Kaley Sapper, added, “Kristin is seriously the best! She has poured her heart and soul into the Area VI Young Rider program. Last year, there were some complications with our coordinator and Kristin stepped right up to make sure everything ran smoothly.” Sapper went on to say, “She makes every single person feel special and appreciated and always makes sure everyone is taken care of. Kristin always puts everyone above herself, spending early mornings and late nights planning meals, rides, and other important tasks.”
Kristin Hogan (right) with Area VI Young Rider Team Coach Rebecca Braitling (left) and members of the Area VI Young Rider Team. Photo courtesy of Kristin Hogan.
Sapper echoed both Braitling and Takeda when she explained, “Our program is so grateful for her and I seriously believe both of my experiences at YRs were fantastic in huge part to her.” In fact, every young rider we talked to had nothing but amazing things to say about Kristin. Now that she has quickly made her mark on the Area VI program, Kristin is taking her talents to the National level as she will be taking over as the National Young Rider Program Coordinator from longtime coordinator, Diane Snow, who is stepping down.
"Kristin is a force of nature," added Jessica Duffy, a California born-and-bred eventer who now lives on the East Coast. "She has the most generous and giving spirit and is one of the most hard-working individuals I have ever met. The eventing community is lucky to have her."
It really is easy to see how much of an impact Kristin has made in Area VI and beyond. She is a pillar of the community and one Area VI couldn’t live without. Not only has she been volunteering for more years than she can count, in her short time so far as the Area VI Young Rider Coordinator, she has made an impact that spans greater than her Area. Now, Kristin is preparing to juggle both the National and Area VI role, however if history is any indication, both programs are in amazing hands because Kristin is just getting started. So, if you see Kristin on either coast cheering her daughter on or spear-heading new Young Rider initiatives, be sure to give her a huge thank you because the nation’s young riders could not be in better hands and eventing would not be the same without her.
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.
If your farm has the space to set up a cross-country schooling course, it can be to your advantage to have cross-country jumps available for schooling purposes. Safety should be the number one priority when designing and building cross-country jumps, and an expert should be consulted whenever possible.
By this time I am sure that you have received the news that the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds (AEC) has been canceled. I sincerely apologize for the difficulty this has caused everyone involved. I want to commend the USEA Board of Governors for making an extremely hard decision.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
The Whidbey Island Horse Trials take place in Oak Harbor, Washington (Area VII) in early July of each year and offer Beginner Novice through Advanced/Intermediate horse trials. The Whidbey Island Horse Trials lost their venue in 2019 but are working on finalizing a new venue for 2021.