So as soon as they figured out that I was the backup finish timer I got introduced to the man I would be working with for the day. I think everyone can agree with me that who you volunteer with is probably the difference between a good volunteering day and a bad one. Well I am happy to say that I was volunteering with the nicest person ever! He and “his other half” had a farm about 15 min away from where I board Gen and he has been riding in my area for 30 years. We had plenty to talk about and he was an Eventer himself so I could ask him any questions that I had. I said good-bye to NTAT (she was score running) and got a ride over to the finish line in my fellow finish line judges truck.
He explained the job to me (my job was literally to hit the button on a timer) and we set up camp chairs at the finish line to wait. It was great because the finish line was close to the start area, which is obviously close to the warm up so I got to watch everyone ride! It was great. Even better was the fact that I was far, far away from the scary jumps so I didn’t have to worry about watching impending doom. It was perfect. The totally perfect job for my very first event. I got to sit around watching big names like Buck Davidson (and my new favorite Eventer a guy named Matt Flynn) ride around and all I needed to was hit a button and write down the time they finished, their number and the horse and rider colors (what is with people wearing navy when they have a bay horse?). It was easy and I would even go so far as to say that it was fun!
What I liked about the man I was working with was that he was not pretentious. I mean, of course he asked what level I was riding at, but when I told him that I honestly had no idea anymore he didn’t press the issue. He didn’t name drop, didn’t try to impress, and best of all, he never once criticized any of the riders! When I had a question, he answered it. I learned a ton about cross county and since we were so close to the warm up ring when we had a break between divisions I had time to pee. Yay!
It was such a relaxing day that I might even say it boarded on boring. By the end of my 10 hour shift I was tired, but not in a bad way, more in a “I did nothing all day” kind of way. The weather stayed cool so I didn’t get dehydrated and it didn’t start to rain until the last few riders so I would call it a good day. There were some falls, and I hated that. The weird thing was that when there was a rider down on the course it was no big deal. People just kept going about their business. It is just a whole different world then dressage!
Honestly, I don’t think you will see me at a 2 star event any time soon as a rider. I would totally volunteer again though! And I will say…it did make me want to jump. And be a braver rider. All in all it was a great day and I am so glad I did it! If anyone else gets the chance to volunteer at an event I say go for it!