By Sarah E Coleman
Midsouth Eventing and Dressage Association has a unique requirement for membership in addition to paying dues: members must volunteer at events to be eligible for year-end honors.
While this may seem onerous to some, the number of hours to volunteer is not a burden: Members must donate 8 hours of their time total, over the course of the competition year (December 1 through the end of the Hagyard Midsouth Three-Day Event in October as it is the last horse show in the area). Four of these volunteer hours can be at any MSEDA-sanctioned show, but the other four hours must be at either MSEDA Dressage in the Park or Hagyard Midsouth Team Challenge. Members can obtain hours by fence judging, stewarding, bit checking, scoring and jump crewing, to name just a few possibilities. Riders, too, are eligible for these awards in the division in which they compete. For example; a rider who competes in Preliminary Eventing is eligible for awards at that level. If the same rider competes at Preliminary Combined Tests and First Level Dressage, they will be eligible in those categories as well. If they garner the most points of all of the competitors in a given discipline (Eventing, Dressage or Combined Tests), they are eligible for overall High Point Rider, Overall High Point Horse or Mare of the Year, Master Rider (for adults over the age of 50), Junior/Young Rider (for anyone under the age of 21), or special awards such as the Grasshopper Award, for the High Point Thoroughbred, or the Pony Club Award for active Pony Club members who are also MSEDA members, to name a few.
Volunteer coordinators at each show must sign off on volunteer hours. Forms can be found and printed from the MSEDA website. Completed forms must be sent to Mary Margaret Sterling (firstname.lastname@example.org). All forms MUST be SIGNED by the Volunteer Coordinator at the show for the hours to be counted. If a member is interested in a special award such as the Pony Club Award, the Grasshopper Award, the Adult Amateur Award, or the Hall of Distinction they must notify Mary Margaret Sterling in writing that they would like to be considered. Points for those awards will not start accruing until Mary Margaret is notified.
In addition to being eligible for year-end ridden awards, there are also year-end awards that recognize the people who accrue the most volunteer hours during the competition year called the Volunteer Awards. Twelve people who accumulate the most hours are recognized at the MSEDA banquet. Incredibly, the top winner of the 2015 MSEDA Volunteer Awards, logged over 158 hours helping at events!
Click here to read the Volunteer Awards from 2015.
Download the form to begin tracking your hours here.