10 things you only know if you're a BE volunteer

Elin Stenberg (pictured left) has been volunteering since 2004 when she attended her first fence judging course. Elin used to work as a professional groom and wanted a way to stay connected to the sport when she stopped. Here are her 10 things you'll only know if you're a BE volunteer...

(P.S. if you want to get involved in volunteering but aren't sure where to start, take a look at the Access All Area days

1. Riders willing to go ahead of their time will make the dressage stewards love them forever. Especially if they've remembered to get their hat tagged before arriving at dressage.

2. But, no matter how early the dressage section you're stewarding is running, the very last rider of the day will always want to stick to their time. 

3. Bridle numbers become virtually invisible when you're sat in a car trying to figure out who's trotting towards you. This invisibility factor is only surpassed by them being on the saddle cloth ... and covered by a tailcoat. 

4. Show jump stewarding should be compulsory practice for all competitors. Once you've wrangled 30 riders all wanting to go on their time, except that time has passed, and then a multiple rider has to get in because they have another three horses to run, and somebody's had a meltdown because they were next to go and their horse was ready but now it's not and they need another five jumps and there's only half an hour left of the class, then you may have an opinion about how I run it. 

5. Nobody reads the rule book.The number of times I’ve been asked what tack is allowed, if you can use draw reins in the warm-up, whether you can re-jump part A to get to B after a refusal … it’s all gathered in one handy book! Read it! 

6. Fence judging isn't the picnic it might seem ... it can put you into grave dangers such as falling backwards into a hedge while holding your cup of tea (the fence judge's life line).

7. Stopwatches and clipboards give the weirdest tan lines. 

8. Waiting for the last horse of the day to finally make it to the start box is a primary cause of grey hair in volunteers. 

9. There's a whole separate stomach for cake. And cake eaten standing up doesn't count. Cake is life.

10. You cannot overestimate the value of a thank you. The hundreds of volunteers making your day of competition have in many cases been there since the crack of dawn, all for their love of the sport. You couldn't compete without them. Isn't that worth a thanks?

Find out more about volunteering at BE events HERE.

Elin is pictured above with Alix Copping (middle) and Helen Bowler (right).