Feb 11, 2024

VIP Volunteer: From Foxhunting to Eventing, Cahill is the Top Area IX Volunteer of 2023

By Lindsay Berreth - USEA Staff
Jameson Cahill finds time to compete and volunteer in Area IX. Photos courtesy of Jameson Cahill

For Jameson Cahill, volunteering is a way of life, and she's enjoyed donating her time to events across Area IX. In 2023, she clocked 63.30 hours to top the Area IX USEA Volunteer Incentive Program leaderboard. Learn more about Cahill below!

Do you know of a volunteer who deserves recognition? Email Lindsay at [email protected].

How did you get involved with volunteering?

As a daughter of huntsmen, I can’t remember a time when volunteering and riding did not go hand-in-hand. My parents were masters of the Winimusset Hounds in Massachusetts.

At a very early age, 5 years old, I was given the privilege of hunting all over New England on a stinky 12- hand pony that sailed over stone walls but often left me splattered on a coop. I loved hunting at Old North Bridge, Norfolkand, and especially Myopia. My early memories of volunteering took place at home preparing for the New England hunter trials, various hunter paces including my mom's creative Bermuda Hunter Pace that was timed with riddles to solve and treasures to find throughout the course.

I have a small, private barn, Knotty Pines Farm, in Evergreen, Colorado. We enjoy fox hunting with Bijou Springs, eventing, working equitation, trail riding, and schooling shows. I have an amazing group of students who feel more like family than clients. Many of them work off their lessons, gaining so much hands-on experience and have a true love of animals and all the work that goes along with owning animals.

To encourage my students to volunteer I offer free riding lessons for a day of volunteering. I think time spent volunteering is invaluable for the love and knowledge of the sport. After all we, we all know it takes a village.

What kind of jobs do you typically do when you volunteer?

At Spring Gulch, I have been involved in everything from helping Alessandre Allen-Shinn moving jumps for the course redesign in my Kabota, to weed whacking jumps, flagging and decorating the cross-country course, setting up dressage arenas and stadium courses, filling water jumps and water tanks, dragging the arenas and take downs (my least favorite!).

At other events I enjoy helping with warm up arenas, sending riders to the in-gate, jump crew for stadium, or cross-country jump judging in between my ride times.

I've dragged my children, 3 and 7 years old, to many work days at Spring Gulch! My husband was a super star in 2023. He jumped in the rented water truck making countless rounds filling up the water jump and water tanks. On the day of the event he and his friends manned the Knotty Pines Tiki Tent and cheered riders across the finish line with cow bells and good music. They handed out drinks and leis to the competitors. I have asked him to do everything from setting up the slide shows at the banquet, to running the generators, to weed whacking and taking down flags and decorations.

Why do you like volunteering and what does it mean to you?

I love eventing and want the sport to continue and be affordable. But honestly, I enjoy being a part of the competition and getting to know the participants. Eventing has a special camaraderie that is not seen in other disciplines. Strangers will run to help one another and cheer each other on to finish line.

Do you have a favorite event?

Yes, Spring Gulch Equestrian Park is my favorite venue, and I am a member of the board. Spring Gulch is a 106-acre public facility located in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. It's hosted recognized horse trials here for more than 30 years, and today we continue to offer both recognized and schooling events in our area. The venue is completely volunteer run.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start volunteering?

The first step is creating a profile on EventingVolunteers.com and then contacting your area volunteer coordinator. In Area 9, the best person to contact is Carol Jones, (720) 346-4478, [email protected]. Carol Jones is an extraordinarily amazing volunteer coordinator. Area IX is so lucky to have her!

The VIP Volunteer Column is brought to you by:

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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 eventing alive. In efforts to recognize the dedication, commitment, and hard work that volunteers put into eventing, the 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, which is also available as an app for iOS and Android.

Volunteer incentives include national and area recognition, year-end awards, a top ten USEA Volunteer leaderboard, and a Volunteer of the Year award which is given to the volunteer who accumulates the most volunteer hours on EventingVolunteers.com at recognized events throughout the USEA competition year. Click here to learn more about the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program.

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