“They are the Best. Volunteers. Ever,” said Bonnie Kibbie, volunteer coordinator for Plantation Field International, the event that’s often referred to as the "Best. Event. Ever." Plantation Field International is on September 18-22 in Unionville, Pennsylvania and this year, the event has a total of 218 competitors but will see even more volunteers. “Over the course of four days, we will fill over 250 volunteer positions, which is more than the number of competitors!” said Kibbie. With hundreds of volunteer positions to fill, Plantation Field utilizes www.eventingvolunteers.com, the official app of the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP).
With an exclusive volunteer hospitality tent, daily volunteer raffles, a ‘volunteer-only’ course walk, and more - volunteer happiness is of the utmost importance for Plantation Field. Bonnie Kibbie, Jenny Moyer, and Tammy Whiteman, the three volunteer coordinators explain, “We try so hard to make volunteering a positive experience. For the International event, we have a huge hospitality tent just for volunteers that we keep stocked all weekend with goodies, snacks, and swag, in addition to the meals we provide. We hold daily volunteer-only raffle drawings for gift cards and gear, and two overall large drawings at the end of the weekend: one for a gift certificate from our volunteer sponsor, Nunn Finer, and the second for a $1,000 prize for two to attend Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.”
“This year we’re doing a Sunday lunch taco bar, and we’ll have Rita’s water ice making its way around the cross-country course on Saturday. We will also have a volunteer-only course walk hosted by Laine Ashker on Friday evening this year, and every year we invite top riders to come to the cross-country briefing for a short “meet and greet” with our volunteers before the day starts. We love our volunteers so much and truly believe we have the 'Best. Volunteers. Ever.' so we try hard to keep them happy!”
“We work hard to create a volunteer-friendly show environment. We have a zero-tolerance policy for mistreatment of volunteers, and our competitors and officials know that the volunteers should be treated with kindness and gratitude, because we would not have an event without them,” said Kibbie.
The volunteers of Plantation Field come from all walks of life, and “each volunteer is special!” emphasized Kibbe. “We have pony club kids, retirees, lifelong horsemen/women, and total newbies. This spring Nina Gardner, owner of some of the top horses in the country, was running our dressage warmup. Mary Hazzard, a lifelong horsewoman, entrepreneur, and owner, volunteers almost every event and will be manning our finish timers this fall. Faith Whiteman, Mischa Bahari, and Adrianna Moyer are incredible kids who show up every single event and spend all day out on cross-country. They know the rules and can handle a hold better than half the adults! [Others include] Trish Scott and Doug Flick, Chrissy and John Lapp, Lynn Schwendemann, Dawn Fenstermacher, Peter Jaffe, Ellie Glaccum, TJ Costa . . . we have SO many volunteers. They are our horse show family and we simply could not do this without them!”
Want to volunteer at Plantation Field International? Sign up on www.eventingvolunteers.com. Thanks to the VIP sponsor, Sunsprite Warmbloods, it’s free for every USEA recognized event to use www.eventingvolunteers.com!
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.
Interested in tapping into the audience of three-day eventing? Consider partnering with the United States Eventing Association (USEA) in 2022! The USEA is a non-profit 501 C (3), which serves as the national association for the Olympic equestrian sport of three-day eventing.
Whether you are a rider preparing for a move-up or a trainer looking to ensure your training program is well-rounded, the soon-to-be released USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels is the go-to guide to assist you in navigating key decisions. Lucky enough, attendees of the 2022 USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) Symposium at Barnstaple South Farm in Ocala, Florida on February 8-9 will be the first people outside of the those involved in its creation to access this passion project that the ICP Committee has put two years of research and hard work into developing.
In 2021 Cynthia Smith recorded 536 hours and 59 minutes of volunteer time, setting the standard with the most amount of volunteer hours recorded in a single year since the creation of the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program in 2016. The record-breaking number of volunteer time earned Smith the 2021 USEA Volunteer of the Year title.
Tamie Smith’s year has been nothing short of action-packed as she packed up all 25 of her competition horses and made her way to the East Coast for the first part of the year before hopping on a jet to Tokyo where she served as the U.S. team reserve for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She then stayed overseas and competed abroad for a little while before returning home to the West Coast. While this year has been full of opportunities to show, her aspirations are bigger than just competition. The 2021 Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year has been full steam ahead chasing goals in both her riding career as well as in her impact on the sport’s future.