Be an American Eventing Hero: Volunteer at The 2019 AEC

USEA CEO Rob Burk, a frequent eventing volunteer himself, stops to thank jump judges at the 2017 AEC in Tryon. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Yay! It’s August! I am so happy! And relieved. July was a disaster. So was June … and May … and well … yeah ….

Moving on … August brings so many cool things: end of the season sales (!), school starts for a lot of kids (this might not be cool for the kids, but it can definitely be cool for the parents), and the coolest of all, the American Eventing Championships, which this year are being held at the very cool Kentucky Horse Park Aug. 27 through Sept. 1.

Hopefully, there are a bunch of you cool eventing kids out there (of all ages) that have qualified for the AEC and are making the trek to Kentucky for a chance to pretend you’re running Land Rover (because that’s what I would do!). I unfortunately am not qualified. Boo. However, I am still going to head east to one of my very favorite places on the planet and do something almost as cool.

I am going to volunteer!

I am also going to cheer some cool qualified friends on as well, but that’s not what this blog is about. This blog is about volunteering! Which is really cool! And necessary! And essential! And fun! And did I say absolutely essential? Because it totally, and completely is. Events run on volunteers. Pure and simple. The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event needs over 3,000 volunteers to handle the tens of thousands of spectators and competitors that come to shop, compete and be a part of the greatest weekend all year. While the AEC may not require that many volunteers, they still need some. More than some. In fact, A LOT, to make this very exciting event, which is kind of like the Olympics for the lower levels, happen.

“But I’ve never volunteered!”

It’s never too late to start! If you’re going to support a friend or a family member or you’re competing yourself, why not start now?

“But I don’t ride!”

It doesn’t matter! They need everything from greeters and parking attendants to dressage test runners and course decorators, none of which require any prior knowledge of eventing or horses. And trust me; I can scribe a dressage test or watch horses go over a jump all day, but you do NOT want me trying to place pretty flowers on a cross country fence.

“But my time is very limited.”

No big deal! Not everyone drives three states to volunteer for a couple of days like I do. (I’m just nutso like that.) A lot of the folks volunteering only have an hour or two to give. The cool thing is just like there are lots of types of positions, there are volunteer shifts of all time lengths. Just pick one that best suits you. I promise the volunteer coordinators are very happy to have each and every person no matter what position they choose to fill or how long they choose to serve. It takes a lot of manpower to pull this event off. And truly, doesn’t everyone have an hour or two to spare?

Another cool reason to volunteer: swag! Most events (especially the big ones, like Land Rover and the AEC) provide their volunteers with free stuff for giving up a little of their time, everything from lunch and t-shirts to towels and lip balm. And who doesn’t love free stuff?! Plus, eventers (and their peeps) are truly the coolest folks in the world. When you volunteer you get to meet and hang out with super cool folks and make new friends, all while watching pretty ponies and cool riders compete. Heck you might even learn something! It’s a win/win all the way around.

So go to and sign up for a shift (or two.) I guarantee you’ll be glad you did!

I hope to see you there!

Go Eventing.