“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.
In 2000 and with the support of Joan Iversen Goswell, the Worth the Trust Scholarships were established to provide financial assistance to amateurs to pursue their education in eventing. The funds from the Worth the Trust Educational Scholarship may be used for training opportunities such as clinics, working student positions, and private or group instruction, or to learn from an official, course designer, technical delegate, judge, veterinarian, or organizer.
The Surefire Farm Horse Trials scheduled for September 25-27, 2020 in Purcellville, Virginia has been canceled.
When introducing a horse to a new concept, it is important to make the entire learning process enjoyable. Make sure to always praise your horse so they continuously understand that they are supposed to be enjoying this time. In eventing, the skinnies have gotten so small that the sooner the horses begin to lock on and enjoy it, the better.
This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).