The continuing involvement of volunteers is vital to equestrian sport and can hardly be overstated. It is estimated that tens of thousands of volunteers each give an average of 15.5 hours of time each year to equestrian sport and recreation in Great Britain, although many give much, much more of their time.

British Carriagedriving value volunteers highly and recognise them as one if the sport's greatest assets.

What is a Volunteer?

Although there is no legal definition of exactly what a 'volunteer' is, the term volunteering is generally taken to describe where a person freely gives their time to an activity without the expectation of getting paid. Volunteering is a positive activity, for both the volunteer and the people or organisation that they help and support. As there is no contract between the organisation and the volunteer, either party may terminate the arrangement at any time.

Hey, Granny! Where do you go with your caravan and what do you do?

Volunteering with British Carriagedriving  
Over half of Driving Trials' existing 'hardcore' of regular stewards came into the sport without any prior knowledge of driving. Many of them had no previous experience of horses and were drawn in by friends and family already involved!

No driving event could exist without a huge team of helpers:

  • Dressage stewards and writers
  • Marathon timekeepers
  • Obstacle stewards
  • Course marshals
  • Score collectors
  • Cones, arena and collecting ring stewards

All are equally important and essential to the smooth running of a competition. Some roles require more specialist knowledge than others but this expertise is not gained overnight.

The many affiliated clubs around the country are always looking for helpers and offer a gentle introduction under the guidance of a more knowledgeable steward. There is nothing like experience and involvement and this level is an ideal grounding, with many clubs organising their own stewards' training  sessions. In addition, British Carriagedriving supports regional training days.

The sport is lucky to have the benefit of some very loyal and long-standing stewards - but they are not getting any younger and it is essential that we encourage new people to join us. Anyone interested is very welcome to come to an event and find the Supporters Tent where they will be made to feel extremely welcome and their questions ably answered.

So why not be brave and offer your services at an event?

There is a place for all levels of experience within the 'Team' at an event and help and advice is always on hand. In order to gain that essential experience you have to take the plunge in the first place!

Volunteering with British Carriagedriving can also count towards the Young Equestrian Leaders Award (YELA).

YELA is a new and exciting award that has been developed by Riding for the Disabled (RDA) for the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) in consultation with many of its Member Bodies, to increase and encourage the number of young people volunteering in the Equestrian industry.

The award is open to all young people between the ages of 13 and 25. They must fully complete an application form and send it back to head office and their log book will be issued to them. No hours may be back dated. Hours may be counted from volunteering with any BEF Member Body.

The award runs over three progressive levels, that must be taken in turn: 20 hours for Bronze, Silver requires an additional 40 hours of volunteering plus having achieved the Bronze Award. The Gold Award requires 60 hours on top of achieving the Silver level.

For more information and application forms or centre registration please contact Katy Downing, Young Equestrian Leaders Award Youth Coordinator yela@pcuk.org

or visit the YELA website www.yela.org.uk


How you can get involved  
There are many ways to get started.

Look for a local club. Visit our Affiliated Club section on this website to find out where your nearest clubs are. Contact details for club secretaries are available here. Most clubs have websites which list the dates and locations of their events. Or you can look in our Club Events Diary.

Look at event Schedules. These give details of where and when driving events take place and how you can contact the event organiser. Event schedules for National and Regional events are on our events pages.

Put a notice on the British Carriagedriving Discussion Forum. This is a lively forum, frequently visited by most British Carriagedriving members and event organisers. Just mention that you would like to help at an event and the offers will come flooding in !

Email us: volunteers@britishcarriagedriving.co.uk

Or you can contact the British Carriagedriving office. They will be able to put you in touch with suitable event organisers and keep your name and contact details on file for future events.


Volunteers list  
Over the past few years it has become apparent that many event organisers struggle to get stewards both at Club and National events. Sometimes phone calls and e-mails are required to many other clubs, so it was suggested that one up-to-date list of all stewards would be beneficial.

Julia Crockford has kindly agreed to take on this task. She has been involved with the White Harness Horse Club events, worked as Farleigh stewards co-ordinator for two years then the National Championships in 2010 and 2011. Her capacity for organisation and office based skills make her the ideal candidate to create one database for all to access.

If you would like to put your name on the British Carriagedriving list of volunteers, please contact Julia via e-mail: jjcrockford@aol.com  or by telephone at home: 01264 364054 or mobile 07850 249107.