It takes over 2,500 volunteers to help run the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, but there are two volunteers who have volunteered every year since 1995: Ron and Ellen Sadler. From assisting at the horse inspections to managing awards, they have helped make the event possible for many years. It’s a guarantee that you’ll see them on Sunday handing out ribbons and managing the group of volunteers for awards.
Out of the Sunday awards volunteer group, there is Morgan Garrett who has been a volunteer at the event since 2010. Garrett, who grew up in Lexington shared, “I have always ridden around here, and I’ve come to watch Kentucky since I was a little kid. I got into volunteering when we had the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010. So, almost 13 years later and here we are,” said a smiling Garrett.
“I’m a cross-country fence judge on Saturday and I do awards and trophies on Sunday. That’s how it’s been every year.” Garrett continued as she explained her favorite part of the ‘Best Weekend All Year.' “I love the atmosphere and I love all the camaraderie of having everyone back in Lexington to celebrate these horses.”
Another volunteer at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event who has been volunteering for many years is Shoshana Rudski. “This is my sixth year here volunteering at Kentucky. I got involved thanks to the other people at my barn locally in Lexington. I feel super fortunate to be able to help,” said Rudski. “I’m usually helping out with the booths and trade fair the other days and then I always try to volunteer on Sunday.”
Although Rudski volunteers almost every day at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event and has done a variety of volunteer positions, there is one volunteer position that’s her favorite. “[My] favorite position is doing the ribbons and trophies because it’s nice to see everyone’s reactions at the end and getting to be a part of that.”
While the Sunday awards group of volunteers is run by the Sadlers, Emily Watson has helped run the Thursday and Friday dressage volunteers for over 12 years. These volunteers are mostly made up of students at the GlenAyre Equestrian Centre and GlenAyre Pony Club.
Watson shared in a Facebook post on Friday, April 29, “[We] started LRK3DE before dawn yesterday. Two full days of dressage are now complete. I’m pretty sure the kids are beat but highly inspired. Everyone was magnificent! The girls make my job easy with their professionalism. I never heard a kid whine about being cold, or hot, or hungry, they just carried their tasks to perfection.”
At last year’s Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2021, Watson explained when Pony Clubs first started volunteering on dressage day. “It first was started with the Hunter’s Run Pony Club in Columbus, Ohio back in 1978, and I took over the job about 11 years ago. We also volunteer for show jumping at Flying Cross H.T. But a lot of kids volunteer on their own now that there’s the [Volunteer Incentive Program] app. We are a sport that’s run by volunteers and it’s nice for them to realize that.”
Organized by Equestrian Events Inc. (EEI) and EEI’s Sr. Director of Competition, Vanessa Coleman, the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event managed the 2,500+ volunteers through the eventingvolunteers.com app which is the official software for the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program.
Thank you to all the volunteers for making this sport possible!
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.
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