More than 130 volunteers filled a wide range of roles to enable the British Riding Clubs Festival of the Horse Championships last weekend (30-31 May) to be a great success.
British Riding Clubs, the UK’s largest movement for amateur riders, is keen to recognise the vital role that its volunteers play, especially as the nation celebrated Volunteers Week (1-7 June).
Laura Sanger, Head of British Riding Clubs, said: “No equestrian event could run without the invaluable support of an army of very generous volunteers. We are extremely grateful to all of those that give up their time to enable our members to take part in the sport which they love.
“We have 200 regular volunteers that officiate at BRC Championships and hundreds more that help at a local level, and all of them make our wonderful grassroots movement so possible.”
BRC volunteers get involved in a wide range of activities from fence judging, pole picking and stewarding through to dressage writing, scoring and looking after that all important refreshment run. Their dedication and enthusiasm help to make BRC events run so effectively.
Ian and Sandie Caldwell have been fence judging with BRC for more than 15 years. They love being out in the fresh air, watching the competitors tackling the cross-country obstacles and are very happy to be given a challenging fence to judge.
“I thoroughly enjoy fence judging, the day goes so quickly and I’m so happy to be able to give something back to the sport, having ridden in the past,” said Sandie.
Competitors at the championships also have to provide a team volunteer on the day. Colin Able filled this role so ably at an earlier championship, that Jennie Pallett, BRC volunteer coordinator, was thrilled to see that he had enrolled again this time. Always with a smile on his fence, Colin is happy to assist with any of the roles required.
“I love being kept busy while my daughter competes at the championships,” said Colin. “Everyone is so friendly and being able to reassure the riders before they set out on the course makes it all worthwhile.”
Andrew Chadwick, BRC Chairman, added: “As Chairman of British Riding Clubs I want to thank all our volunteers who spend hours and hours of their valuable time across the country, day in day out, to keep our wonderful organisation going. Not just at Championships but more importantly with the day-to-day management of our 500 clubs and centres. Without them it just wouldn't happen.”
Over the weekend there were eight separate Championship classes taking place, with an Eventer Challenge at 90cm, 90cm Pairs and 100cm for both juniors and seniors, and Combined Training – which includes dressage and showjumping – also for juniors and seniors. All the winning teams and overall individual placings at the Championships this year were filled by women – a major achievement in grassroots equestrian sport at the start of Women’s Sport Week.
To find out more about volunteering with BRC, check out the Volunteers Club.