It has been great to see excellent examples of riders giving back to their sport recently. The sport depends so much on volunteers – in fact, it is totally dependent on volunteers! While many of these are not competitors, we have been impressed at recent events where some riders have not only been competing, but have also taken up significant roles on organising committees.
Diane Gilder was particularly impressive at Puhinui last weekend. Diane has been the event secretary for the past two years, and not only competed, but came third in the two-star class on her lovely horse Your Attorney. Event secretary is a significant role, involving a lot of work before, during and after the actual competition.
Diane wasn’t sure how she made it all come together, but did acknowledge her fellow committee members. “Luckily we have a great team on the committee who have really supported me and that has meant I have been able to ride.”
Diane said that when she took up the role, she made it a condition that she could still ride. “I don’t think I could ride three, though,” she added.
“I have enjoyed doing the job, and I feel that it is giving back to the sport and I think if riders don’t start helping, we are going to lose our volunteers. There is a lot of work that goes on in the background, way more than I ever had even imagined. It has been great, a real eye-opener and more riders should get involved.”
Diane has a good point there. It certainly gives the non-riding volunteers a boost when they see some of the current crop of riders helping out. She is proving to other riders there is no such thing as being too busy to help.
Another hard-working rider is Canterbury’s Claudia Wilson. At Eventing Canterbury’s One-day champs in November, Claudia was not only the secretary for the event, but rode FIVE horses over the weekend, and managed to win the 65cm class on Strate Shot.
There are other riders who also deserve a mention. Both Denise Rushbrook and Holly Morrell have a huge input into running events. Angela Lloyd is another – she is the secretary for the Springbush event.
Others help out in organising cross-country judges (a real mission!), helping with marketing and publicity and finding sponsorship – to mention a few of the chores. Bundy Philpott serves in a different way: by being the riders’ representative on the ESNZ Eventing Board, no mean feat.
There are plenty of other examples of riders who help out in the show jumping discipline too. There are many riders on organising committees, but a recently shining example of a someone going above and beyond was at the Young Horse Show, where Jesse Linton rode eight horses and organised the show hunter too.
Ashley Hart has a reputation for being very active as a rider and a worker in Hawke’s Bay and the Central Districts; and Chloe Hansen and Lucy Fell are both often seen riding and working. Wellington has John Jenkins, who is well involved as both a rider and a key organiser, and there there is Jill Martin who does an outstanding job in the Manawatu.
Further south, Devon Van Til is another who gets involved in the shows, and Gus Taylor is not afraid of competing and organising.
Of course there are many others, and just because we haven’t mentioned you here, please don’t take that as us not appreciating the significant contribution you make to the sport.
Well done to all of you who do help in so many ways. Thanks a million!!!