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Teresa Craig

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Organizers Anonymous

Armed and ready with a cordless drill. Armed and ready with a cordless drill.

As a longtime former horse trials organizer, I now seem to have a little more time on my hands before the Powder Basin Horse Trials in Gillette, Wyoming, next weekend and have come up with some thoughts, observations and advice on organizing a horse trials.

  • It’s not really hard to get volunteers. It’s just hard to get them to do the job you assign them to.
  • As an organizer, you must be prepared to do 85 percent of ALL the work. You won’t know what “all” the work is until you do it. And your help will claim they did it.
  • Be nice to all volunteers and maybe one of them will take over your job next year.
  • Avoid moving cross country jumps. There will be rocks, nails, screws, bottles, paper, zip ties, fencing nails, plastic bags, faded silk flowers and greenery, snakes, skunks, mice and other miscellaneous garbage underneath.
  • If you do move jumps, NEVER drive over that bald spot in the grass where they were; you will probably get a flat tire if you do and you WILL FOR SURE get a flat tire if you are driving your husband’s truck.
  • If you drop a screw/nail in the grass, you have a 10 percent chance of ever finding it.
  • Never drive close to the edges or the corners of a cross country jump. You will get a flat tire (see above).
Volunteers hard at work.

Volunteers hard at work.

  • Cross country flags should always be taken down after an event. They make too good of a bird perch and will be covered in unsightly guano in less than two months. By next year, you will have no red flags left.
  • Always use your emergency brake when you park on hills.
  • Do not catch a ride on top of a log on the forks of a fork lift your husband is driving unless you are very athletic.
  • Never give your husband a specific time you will be home because you won’t be.
  • Never be caught out on cross country without a spare Phillips head driver for your cordless drill. You will drop the first and sometimes the second — lost forever.
  • If anyone mentions railroad ties or where there is a pile for free, run and hide immediately.
  • If anyone brings railroad ties to your cross country course, immediately fake a severe headache and go home.
Flagging and numbering.

Flagging and numbering.

  • If you are forced to cut a railroad tie, make absolutely sure you use someone else’s chain saw.
  • If you must use a generator to power your saw, try not to cut through the cord in the first 10 minutes.
  • Filling a water jump with a garden hose from a city hydrant takes a really long time — like days.
  • If at all possible, try to get someone who has actually jumped, evented or ridden a horse on the course to mow the tracks.
  • Cell phones in your back pocket and port-a-potties — just NO.
  • Something you REALLY don’t want to hear when you are about done numbering cross country: “Oh look, I found a bunch of number 5s.”
  • If you only operate a four wheeler once a year during your horse trials on cross country day, pay someone to drive you.
  • Your face will hurt from pretending to like people.
  • Just smile and nod your head.