Offering to volunteer will give you the opportunity to meet new people, develop confidence around horses and learn new leadership and team skills. There are a variety of ways to get involved, and not all of them require horse experience!
What do equestrian volunteers do?
Most equestrian volunteers rarely use the term 'volunteer' to describe their activities, they see themselves as general helpers, assistants, officials, event organisers or stewards. Behind the scenes there are treasurers, committee members, researchers, journalists and photographers, who all pay a crucial part.
There are a variety of roles, without which the activity in most riding schools, groups or clubs, organisations and events would not be able to function. These include helping to lead horses in lessons, tacking up, mucking out and book keeping to name a few. To find your nearest riding centre use hoofride.
If those roles don't tickle your fancy then why not try event volunteering. There are many opportunities to train for volunteering and officiating roles at events held across the country, such as fence judging, writing for judges, scoring, time keeping and stewarding.
Peter Phillips, Global Champions Tour of London Event Organiser, said: "All events need their army of volunteers, without their invaluable time and effort, running an event would not be possible. They are the difference between a good event and a great event."
Why should I volunteer?
Volunteering is a great way to meet people and make new friends who have similar interests to you. It's an easy way to gain experience and develop more confidence and you can also learn and enhance new skills. For example, you could take up a particular horse sport.
This is a fun free way to get closer to horses and find out more from the equestrian community.
Regular Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) volunteer Sophie, from Oakham, said: "I didn't know what to expect when I began, as I'm not a particularly 'horsey' person. However, everyone was really kind and I have had a lot of fun - it was a really good experience."
How do I get involved?
There are a whole range of ways to get involved with the horse world, and not all of them require horse experience:
- Visit one of the British Equestrian Federation's member body websites and check out their volunteering pages to see what might be available to you. The larger of the BEF's organisations volunteering pages are detailed below:
- British Eventing Volunteers
- British Dressage Volunteers
- British Horse Society Volunteers
- British Riding Club Volunteers
- British Showjumping
- Riding for the Disabled Association Volunteering
- If you are Under 25, take a look at our Young Equestrian Leaders Award which provided awards for volunteering in equestrianism
- You can also get in touch with your local County Sports Partnership who will be able to let you know what is going on in your county. Click HERE for more information.