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.
“We were up at the Texas Rose one time, and one of the managers up there called Colleen and asked if she knew anyone that could scribe,” described Snyder. “Colleen said that I probably could, and the manager went on to explain that they just had one of their judges fire their scribe because he was writing down what he wanted, not what the judge wanted. And that’s how I got started!”
Over the years, Snyder has done several different volunteer positions, but startbox is definitely his favorite. “I’ve been startbox, I’ve scribed, I like sit-down jobs because my feet are old, and I’ve been steward,” commented Snyder. “My goal in startbox is to give everyone a blue ribbon. What they do with that after they leave my start box is up to them. The nice thing about the start box is that your life is easy if you get a good steward. Also, being in startbox allows you to meet everybody.”
Additionally, Snyder in charge of providing home-cooked meals when his students attend a show. “He's the chief cook for our show team. He does all of the cooking,” described Colleen.
“We just had a show, and I made everything from steak to chicken to blackberry cobbler,” commented Snyder. “I do a pretty good job too!”
Snyder is always happy to give back to the eventing community and his local Area. “Majority of the eventing community is made up of really nice people,” said Snyder. “I’ve made some terrific friends over the years. I also like that everything is so scheduled in eventing. It makes it a lot easier and more enjoyable for everyone.”
Besides interacting with the eventing community, Snyder emphasized how important volunteers are to lower the cost of horse showing and allow more people to participate.
“It keeps the cost down so that [our students] can afford to do it,” explained Snyder. “I read or heard something several years ago that it would be a lot more expensive per entry if not for volunteers. It’s also something for me to do. Again, I get to meet everybody, and I’ve made a lot of friends over the years.”
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.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the addition of the Modified Rider division beginning at the 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC), presented by Nutrena Feeds. The USEA AEC will move back to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky August 29–September 3, 2023.
Are you interested in competing in the sport of eventing but aren’t quite sure how to get started? Do you have a horse that is looking for a new career? Consider participating in a USEA New Event Horse (NEH) competition in 2023! The USEA NEH Program was created to be an introduction to the sport of eventing for both horse and rider, and the 2023 NEH Calendar is now available here.
Will Coleman had a huge 2022 with his string of horses, including a team silver medal at the FEI World Eventing Championship in Italy on Off The Record and top four-star placings with Chin Tonic HS, but it was Dondante whose consistency paid off to earn the Standlee Premium Western Forage USEA Horse of the Year title.
Julie Murray has loved horses since she could breathe, so when her daughters showed an interest in Pony Club and then eventing, she was thrilled to go along for the ride.
Murray started volunteering at the Fallbrook Pony Club near her home in Fallbrook, California, serving as an intermediate district commissioner.