Growing up just a few miles from the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in Stamford, England, Sarah Airhart naturally gravitated toward eventing.
A member of the Burghley Pony Club, Airhart recalls riding across the Burghley Park Golf Club where her father worked, and walking through the public grounds with her mother, climbing on cross-country fences and imagining what it would be like to jump them.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is proud to announce a new membership category, the “Digital Membership,” which will be available to qualified participants of the Volunteer Incentive Program in 2023. This new membership will serve as a thank you to the loyal volunteers in our sport for their dedication to supporting events around the country throughout the year.
Lisa Pragg is a busy woman, but between her normal day job and competing her own 19-year-old Thoroughbred Impeccable she still prioritizes time to volunteer - both at horse trials and as a volunteer firefighter. Pragg understands the importance that volunteers play in the eventing community and makes sure to give whatever time she can back as a fair gesture.
The official management system of the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) is www.eventingvolunteers.com and it has recorded a total of 8,105 volunteers and 194,193 volunteer hours since December 1, 2016. With the growing popularity and increase in participation, the USEA would like to remind VIP participants of the rules, eligibility, and incentives.
The USEA Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) launched the Volunteer Medal Program in 2020 to enhance the recognition of these resilient volunteers. The Volunteer Medal Program recognizes the volunteers who consistently volunteer year after year. Hours earned are cumulative over a lifetime of volunteer service. To earn a bronze medal, volunteers must record 500 volunteer hours; to earn a silver medal, volunteers must record 1,000 volunteer hours; and to earn a gold medal, volunteers must record 2,000 volunteer hours at eventingvolunteers.com.
When Daniel Stickney met his future wife Kathy in college, he had zero involvement in the horse world. Kathy had ridden as a teen and after marrying in graduate school, the couple was invited on a trail ride by an acquaintance who owned a boarding and lesson barn. That trail ride sparked Kathy’s fire for riding again and she began working at the barn to help offset costs of lessons and boarding for her first horse, Kismet. Suddenly Daniel found himself in the saddle as well. The two have been riding together for over 30 years now.
Golly Martin is a lifelong equestrian who got her start in the saddle as a child. Having grown up in Northern Virginia, she had easy access to ample equestrian opportunities and even had the chance to ride during the summers in England. However, when her barn closed during her high school years, she took a break from riding until the itch reignited during college.
Gary Snyder has been involved with horses for the past 50 years. “We had horses when I was a kid, so it’s been about 50 years,” recalled Snyder. “He married me almost 47 years ago, and he got me, an old dog, and a horse, and we have been in horses ever since!” added Snyder’s wife, Colleen.
Snyder is located in Tyler, Texas, Area 5, where he and Colleen own and operate a commercial farm. For about ten to twelve years now, Snyder has been actively volunteering at events for the USEA.
Launched in 2020, the USEA Volunteer Medal Program recognizes the volunteers who consistently volunteer year after year. Hours earned are cumulative over a lifetime of volunteer service. To earn a bronze medal, volunteers must record 500 volunteer hours; to earn a silver medal, volunteers must record 1,000 volunteer hours; and to earn a gold medal, volunteers must record 2,000 volunteer hours eventingvolunteers.com.
Michelle Wadley has had the horse bug since she could remember. “My mom swears my first word was 'horse,' way back when I was two years old,” she recalled. The rider now owns a horse of her own, and through volunteering for the USEA, she has grown her knowledge and love for eventing.
Wadley began riding at the young age of five in Fayetteville, Arkansas, at a local hunter/jumper barn. After moving between Arkansas and Texas, Wadley gained experience in the western, eventing, and Arabian disciplines. Although tough at times, she always found a way to keep the equestrian world a part of her life.