Complete Your Volunteer Requirement for Year End Awards And Sign up for our next event Below!
The ADA relies on volunteers to run an enjoyable, organized event. (Show volunteer positions described below.) Free entry to paid ADA events, fulfillment of service requirements for ADA year end awards, scholarship and travel grant eligibility, and the rewards of friendship and free education are just some of the ways you benefit when you volunteer. And the best way to thank your volunteers is to return the favor when it’s their time to be part of an education or competitive event. We’d love to have your help for a morning or afternoon shift (4-5 hours) but even if you can only donate an hour or two, we appreciate your help. Competitors, we can also work around your ride schedule.
Just Love to be Around Horses?
No Need to be an ADA Member
And We do On-the-job Training
Please email directly, and Kathy Smith our Volunteer Coordinator can sign you up!
HOW TO VOLUNTEER
Contact the Show or Event Manager of the show/event where you wish to volunteer. Volunteer sign ups available online or directly with the individual Event coordinator (see ADA website for details). Whether you like to scribe, ring steward, run tests, work in the office, or do special projects, the ADA provides many opportunities to volunteer!
HOW IT WORKS
The ADA event coordinator will track your volunteer hours and submit them to Heather Bilodeau (), who compiles the ADA Volunteer Database. Please track your own hours as well in case there is a discrepancy. Periodic updates will be published on the ADA website and in the Centerline newsletter so you can check your hours throughout the year. A minimum of four (4) hours of volunteerism or service to the organization is required for eligibility for Year End Awards. Scholarships and Grants also require service.
Watch the ADA’s Facebook page and Centerline newsletter for the latest volunteer hours completed lists or check with Heather directly at
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Volunteer service can be accomplished by you or your designated surrogate (who does not have to be an ADA member) in a variety of ways:
ADA Shows: Schooling & Recognized – (Hours Served) – See specific job descriptions below.
*** We can train you on site for these positions! ***
- Ring Steward
- Help Staff our Volunteer Table
- Staff our Show Awards Table
- Show Set up
ADA Board (LOTS of hours!)
- Help Serve on an ADA Committee (Hours served)
- Audio Set up/take down (1 hour)
- Provide lunches at an ADA event (2 hours)
- Provide host venue for an ADA event (TOO MANY hours to count!)
- Submit Barn News (1/2 Hour)
- Submit Training Nugget (1/4 Hour)
- Submit Centerline Article (1-2 hours depending on length)
Sponsorship/Donations – $50 minimum annually:
- Show Sponsorship (Show and General funding)*
- Volunteer Donation (Volunteer funding)**
Other contributions or service to the organization may qualify. Please don’t hesitate to check with any ADA Board member for details, questions or comments.
The ADA has a big year ahead, with more hands-on volunteers needed than ever, and your volunteerism makes that rewarding for all of us. We’d love to help you find your perfect volunteer position at any of our upcoming events!
* Supports show income/expense; surpluses support ADA educational programs
** Supports volunteer perks like t-shirts, food/beverages, gift raffles, etc.
SHOW VOLUNTEER JOB DESCRIPTIONS
GENERAL: For ease of scheduling, we ask that volunteers serve either a morning or afternoon shift. Each shift will last approximately four to five hours. Morning volunteers should be morning people, willing to arrive early at 7:00 or 7:30 for shows that begin promptly at 8:00am. For afternoon shifts, the volunteer should arrive 30 minutes prior to their shift and be prepared to stay until the end of the show day, which is usually 4:00 or 5:00 pm. We are delighted when a volunteer will work a full day or even two! Although events are often held on Saturday and Sunday, there is a lot of preparation that goes on the day before. We can use help all day on the Fridays before a show to set rings, put up signs, banners and ring decorations. We also give a ticket to each volunteer to use at the food concession and provide snacks and refreshments.
SCRIBE: A skilled position requiring previous experience to scribe at a recognized show. The Scribe sits with the judge and records the scores and judge comments for each movement on the score sheet. This is a coveted job because of the educational benefit the scribe receives getting to know how tests are judged and what the judge is looking for. Some scribes prefer to sit with judges scoring lower level tests and others prefer the FEI upper levels. We match the experience and comfort level of the scribe to the appropriate classes. Many scribes are happy to work for a full day (having developed an immunity to writer’s cramp), but we will also schedule half-day assignments for scribes. We provide lunches and refreshments to scribes, whose schedules must coincide with that of the judge they are sitting with.
Anyone interested in learning to scribe should have a basic understanding of the lower level tests, some of the common terms used in judging and their abbreviations. Check out this USDF Guide for Scribes (Scroll to last page to see USDF suggested Abbreviations). Scribing at schooling shows is a way to gain experience before moving on to scribe at recognized shows.
COMPETITION RING STEWARD/BIT CHECKER: The Competition Ring Steward/Bit Checker is one of the most responsible jobs at a show. USEF requires that every competition ring be monitored by a Bit Checker (Competition Ring Steward). The Bit Checker check bits, spurs and whip length and will receive a binder with photos and information on what equipment is legal. They also have a list of the competitors and a show schedule for the ring they are assigned to and can communicate with other ring stewards via radio to let them know if a Judge is running behind or ahead of schedule.
WARM-UP/LUNGEING RING STEWARD: USEF requires that every competition warm-up and lungeing ring be monitored by a Ring Steward. This is to ensure safety for competitors and that horses are not mistreated. The Ring Steward has a list of the competitors and a show schedule for the ring they are assigned to. They help keep the show running on time by advising competitors of the order they are to go in and how many rides are ahead of them. They also communicate with the competion Ring Steward (Bit Checker) via radio if a rider is running late or missing in action. Finally, Ring Stewards are the front line for show safety and may alert show management when a rider falls or an unsafe situation arises. They receive a briefing on the show emergency plan should an accident occur.
RUNNER: At WestWorld shows, the runners may drive a golf cart in order to pick up tests from the competition rings and deliver them to the Scoring Office. This is a very important link to a well-run show. The tests are strictly confidential and should be delivered promptly, preferably after each ride, so that the Scorers can calculate and post scores in a timely manner. Runners should use proper etiquette when collecting the score sheets so as not to disturb the judge, and may be asked to carry messages, schedule updates and take lunch or refreshment orders from the judge and scribe. The runners are able to observe the show and some of the rides, and this is probably one of the more enjoyable assignments for those who like the active nature of this job.
AWARDS/MERCHANDISE TABLE: The Awards Table volunteers file and distribute score sheets and hand out ribbons and first place prizes. They may also be involved in selling ADA Merchandise that is usually set up at a nearby table. It’s a fun job congratulating the winners and giving them their well-deserved ribbons and prizes.
JUDGE HOSPITALITY: Our goal is to keep our judges happy. We try to hire the best judges available. When they are well taken care of (or not), the word gets around in our small world of dressage. Judges are given 10-15 minute breaks every two hours and a lunch break of at least 45 minutes. When several rings are operating, it is critical that we get judges wherever they need to be in a timely manner whether they are going on break, having lunch or changing rings. Someone has to make sure that lunches are ordered and ready. And we need to drive judges around the show grounds in golf carts at the beginning and end of shows or for breaks. The rings are on breaks at different times so there is a bit of orchestration and attention to detail involved with this job. We need at least two people to help with this activity at each show.
RING SET-UP/TEAR-DOWN: On the Friday before a show, four to five dressage courts must be set up. It takes about 1-1/2 hours to set each ring, so this is a time-consuming activity. More hands make quicker work and we can always use help setting up rings. We also decorate rings, hang banners and post signs on the day before a show. Friday show workers also get a free lunch! After the show we must take down and pack up everything that has been set up. This goes faster, but extra help is always needed or the poor show and grounds managers are in for a late night on Sunday!