We talk often about the importance of volunteers in terms of helping our event organizers and our local events sustain their vital roles within the eventing community. Whenever you have the opportunity to volunteer for an event, please do so! Not only will you be helping the event run, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn more about eventing and all its facets – and many events even offer volunteer perks like apparel, schooling passes and more. You can always find new volunteering opportunities near you by visiting EventingVolunteers.com or your local horse trials’ website/social media.
But there is another aspect of volunteering that perhaps more people ought to know about: Area and USEA committees. Whether you’re brand-new to the sport and want to dive in feet first or you’ve been around the block more than a few times and want to have a lasting impact, volunteering time with your local Area and/or with a USEA committee is a place to start.
Some USEA members or new eventers may not know that each Area (as the regions determined by the USEA are called) has its own team of leaders, most if not all of whom are volunteers, working tirelessly to support events, raise money and make improvements to keep their Area members happy and wanting to participate. Much like with voting, your impact can go a very long way at the local level. And if you’re seeking a way to get more involved, starting with your Area chair (a list of the Area chairs and websites can be find here).
These days, many Areas are losing events (or, at the least, losing entry numbers), and so help is always needed to help ensure the future of events in each part of the country. There is also an ongoing need for new members – new eventers who maybe caught the bug at Kentucky or from a friend, who have dabbled in horses but never seriously. Forging partnerships with local access programs, Pony Club and other youth-oriented programs is also a key ingredient to securing eventing’s future with new riders. But this takes a concerted effort, and no doubt your Area would welcome help in its various areas of need at any given time.
As for the USEA itself, it operates with the support of many smaller committees and task forces, each dedicated to a different element of improving and growing the sport. A list of these committees and task forces can be found here. To keep things simpler, the USEA coordinates with each committee/task force through a Staff Liaison, and this individual should be your point of contact if you’re interested in joining. You can find a list of USEA Staff here (each committee’s Staff Liaison is listed on the previous link).
As a reminder, not every committee will accept new members at any given point. “The goal is to find engaged people with expertise and interest in the areas of focus of each Committee,” USEA CEO Rob Burk said, adding that while some committees are more active than others and new appointments may not be made overnight, new members are added to committees each year. Your best bet, then, is to express your interest to your committee(s) of choice by contacting the Chair or Staff Liaison.
Eventing is a sport made up of individuals with a collective, common goal. It’s the unique and varied opinions, experiences, voices and perspectives that add rich diversity to our community, and it’s important that all eventers are represented in the sport’s governance. We hope this article helps pinpoint more areas in which you can be more involved and let your voice be heard!