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Volunteer Testimonials

Jacqueline Tate - Scottish Borders Committee Secretary 

I have been a Committee Member of BHS Borders since Oct/Nov 2014 and in 2015 I became Secretary and have been in the role ever since.

Helene our National Manager for the BHS in Scotland said the committee were looking for new members to join the committee and it was an opportunity for me to get more involved with industry experts to help with my role within animal health & welfare and for me to give something back to my community at the same time.

I grew up with and around horses and it was something that was missing in my life at that time.  Being part of the committee eased me back into the equine community and I now have my own horse again.

We are a very active committee here in the Borders and I rarely miss an event.  I usually help organise or facilitate events and welcome and assist our attendees. This can be anything from helping park vehicles, completing paperwork and discussing health and safety, helping with horses or simply chatting to people.

Ann Kennedy - East Of England Regional Chairman

I’m Ann Kennedy and I have been a BHS volunteer for 15 years now. I have many roles, being the Chairman of the Eastern Region Committee, Bedfordshire Treasurer, and also Access and Bridleways Officer for Bedfordshire.

I started volunteering for the BHS when I retired as I wanted to try to help others enjoy riding out as much as I do.  The role is varied, for example in the last month I have responded to a consultation about improvements to the local National Cycle Route, pressing for equestrian access.

There is always more to do and the biggest challenge is prioritising and being able to stop.  But my view is that I do what I can, and that’s better than nothing!

I get great satisfaction from running pleasure rides and seeing the enjoyment on other people’s faces having had a fabulous ride out in the countryside.  I started with a ride from my own village, exploring the wonderful network I have on my doorstep. This has run for 8 years now and we had over 200 riders at the last one.  I also run a sponsored ride for the BHS and our local Air Ambulance on a private estate, which has raised a total of £32,000 over five rides. 

We’ve recently established another ride on the other side of the county which will run in May 2018 so riders can enjoy the bluebells in the woods.   I suppose this isn’t strictly an Access Officer’s role but to me it is spreading that enthusiasm for riding out that justifies the meetings and paperwork that is at the core of the role.

We have a great committee in Bedfordshire with lots of fun, enthusiastic committee members who all play a role in representing horse riders in our area.

Photo credit: www.waynejonesphotography.com

Ruth Baxter - Yorkshire Regional Chairman 

I’m Ruth Baxter, and I am a freelance instructor working in the equine industry. I became involved in the BHS education system when I was 16 and I have worked my way up to BHS Stage 5 Performance Coach level. 

I set up as a freelance instructor in 2011, moving back to South Yorkshire after training around the country. When I moved back I realised there wasn't much happening in my area from a BHS perspective. I chatted with our Regional Manager and the Chairman at the time and felt that the best way to help get the area more active and help to change things was by getting involved myself.

I have now been volunteering for almost 7 years. In that time I have progressed from being a Committee Member, through to being a local chair for South Yorkshire, and now on to being Regional Chairman for Yorkshire as well as an Education Officer for South Yorkshire.

If anyone is considering volunteering, or thinking they would like to see more happening in their area, I would urge you to get involved! Don't worry about the time commitment, just offer what you can - sometimes half an hour at your computer could be invaluable to us. You'll find out so much more about the BHS and hopefully have a great time.

When I started volunteering I thought I knew quite a lot about how the BHS worked. Over the last 7 years I have discovered so much more about what they do and how they work for the equestrian community! In my role as Regional Chairman, I am now invited to attend meetings at HQ to keep us updated on the latest developments and for a chance to have a say on regional and national issues.

Gill Longhurst - South West Regional Chairman 

I’m Gill and I am a Regional Chairman volunteering with the British Horse Society.

When I started my role some years ago as Chairman of the Dorset committee I had recently stood down from a role as District Commissioner of a branch of the Pony Club and I think I was missing the large circle of friends that you meet when you are in a post like this.

When I was approached about the Chairman's role I felt it would be something to work on. The committee at the time consisted of 3 bridleways ladies who were passionate about their work. I found that I was first of all approaching friends that I knew had the skills I needed to form a working committee. It then became like Topsy, friends of friends wanted to join us and get involved with the work we were doing. The meetings were like a social event always in a pub where we could have a meal before or after but a lot of work was done in quite an informal way.

When the Somerset County Chairman role became available I decided to see if I could make the same thing happen once again. Calling on a different circle of people I found that the Somerset committee was better again, we all learn by experience. We kept the same friendly meetings and once again everybody brought something new to the table and we very much supported each other.

I am now about to go back to Dorset again. I am sure it is all about finding likeminded people and persuading them that even if they can only do a little bit for their love of horses we can make a big difference together.  When you get a strong committee they all help each other and people blossom and come up with more ideas because they know that we can support each other. I know I have made some very firm friends volunteering with the BHS and have loved every bit of it, and lots of the volunteers that I work with feel the same.

I have also just taken over from Jenny Ham as Regional Chairman, I don’t think this post will have the same challenges but watch this space. 

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