Volunteering as a Steward

Hear about Rita and Hazel's volunteering story!

Why do you volunteer?

"I love dressage and its a great way to give back to the sport," they both agreed.

What's your favourite part about volunteering?

"My favourite part of volunteering is seeing new competitors ride at their first Area Festivals, being able to support them on the day and talk through any queries they may have and hopefully take some of the stress out of the unknown," Hazel told us.

"Being with the horses and ensuring that their welfare is looked after. I enjoy being with the competitors and horses on their journey to the championships and also assisting the venues that the show runs smoothly and everyone has a good competition," Rita added.

What would your advice be to someone who wishes to volunteer in your role?

"It's definitely very rewarding, you meet so many lovely horse and rider combinations and its a very sociable activity. It can be physically and mentally rewarding too," Hazel said. 

Rita also told us that "You need to be prepared to commit to long hours standing at warm up and competition arenas but the rewards of seeing stunning horses and lovely riders is worth it."

What's been the most memorable moment?

Rita remembers her favourite moment from 2012, "there are a few but I stewarded at London 2012 Para Olympics as in FEI steward, which was an experience of a life time! Seeing Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin working their way to become Olympic Gold Medallists and also seeing our Para Riders' journey to become medallists."

"I've too many, however the one that makes me tear up is seeing how proud riders leave the arena after finishing their test - proud of themselves and their amazing horses. These are very special moments during the event and makes it all worth while," Hazel said.

What are the key skills you have to be able to do your role?

"You need good communications skills, patience, be organised and have empathy for the riders and their support teams." Hazel told us, "but most importantly be able to have fun."

Rita also agreed, "Communication and how to react to a situation which you know is not right with confidence and remain impartial when on duty, for a fair competition. It's also an important part of the role for the welfare of the horse."