Horse Shows have a number of standard volunteer positions available in almost any capacity that you would like to help. Here’s a short list of volunteer job descriptions that are part of a dressage show or the dressage phase of a horse trial or event… Other volunteer assignments may be available on an as-needed basis. Ask your event organizer what they have available, if you have a preference.
RING STEWARD / BIT CHECKER (show up 45 min before first ride)
The Ring Steward keeps track of horses arriving to the warm-up ring, keeps the riders moving to the show rings, and maintains safety. Many riders will ask the Ring Steward the official time, if the show is on time, and which horses go before them. The Ring Steward helps keep the show running on schedule! A copy of the ride times are used to make sure the correct horse/rider combination are at the gate at their scheduled time. If the ring is running early, the rider can go early but they can choose to go at their assigned time. You will verify the rider’s number and if you are not familiar with the horse and rider, you should ask their name to make sure the correct team is riding at the correct time.
The Ring Steward will need to tell the announce when horses start their tests. The announcer cannot always see the rings or the number from her position.
The Ring Steward also closes any gates to the ring if necessary. Either when the horse enters the warm up or after the horse completes the test the bit, whip, and spurs are checked by the Bit Checker. A sticker is placed on the number to indicate that the bit has been checked. Knowledge of legal equipment is necessary. The USA Equestrian Rule Book details legal equipment. The organizer should provide the current equipment rules. Ask!
RUNNER (show up 30 minutes before first ride)
Runners pick up tests from the Scribe and bring them to the show office. Tests are usually picked up are every 2nd ride, but the runner should check with the show secretary as to how often they want the test picked up. Correct etiquette stipulates that tests are picked up between rides. Judges/scribes will often ask runners to bring a bottle of water, etc.
Scribing is an excellent opportunity to refine your dressage skills and learn what a judge is looking for. As tests are ridden, the scribe is responsible for writing down the judge’s remarks and logging the points received. During breaks, many judges enjoy sharing their knowledge and experience, and can give you valuable training tips.
Some tips to help you make the most of the opportunity:
- Arrive early enough to check the test forms to ensure that none are missing. Be sure to check that the tests are in the right order.
- Take a few minutes to look over any tests that you are unfamiliar with.
- Most judges take a moment before the first test to explain their method of giving comments. If they don’t – ask!
- Make sure to match the number of the horse entering the arena with the rider’s test sheet an write the number on the upper right hand corner of the test sheet.
- Inform the judge when there is a change of test.
- At the end of each test, remind the judge to any initial score changes. After he or she finishes the collective marks, check to make sure the judge has signed it. Turn the tests over to the runner.
- As for abbreviations – limit them to those that are easily recognizable.
Articles about scribing:
USDF Guide for Scribes: