Thank goodness for friends. Because without one particular, close friend I would never have been asked to volunteer for my latest outsidethesquare experience:
#28 Be a Judge at an International Horse Trials Event
The truth is, although I had a few riding lessons as a child, I know little about horses and even less about eventing, dressage, cross-country jumping (have I got that right?) and other horse-related topics.
Fortunately, when you volunteer to help out at International Horse Trials, (and doesn’t that sound important?) lack of knowledge doesn’t matter a whit. As long as you’re prepared to sit by the finish line for a few hours and pencil-in the times called out to you by a fellow adventurer with a stopwatch, you can still pretend to be a ‘judge’.
If only I needed a CV these days, this latest experience might just clinch me a job.
And so it was that I found myself seated right here, pencil and paper at the ready, eager for horses and riders to brave the final jump of their cross-country round at the Albury Wodonga International Horse Trials over Easter this year.
I cannot write with any authority on the calibre of the horses, even though they looked magnificent to me:
Nor can I comment on the skills of the riders, even though their courage in facing solid jumps almost as tall as I am took my breath away.
There were the nail-biting moments:
And horses with riders who seemed to fly over the barriers:
There were other fun moments, too, like riding an old jalopy around the course…
…handing out tea, coffee and biscuits to the real judges and watching their faces light up with thanks.
And who could refuse the chance to get their hands on a real walkie-talkie and use words like ‘Roger’ and ‘Over’?
When you help out at events like these, you realise the massive amount of work that goes into making them run so seamlessly. What a brilliant organising committee the Albury Wodonga Equestrian Centre has.
I can’t wait for next year.
I wonder if they need people with proven pencilling skills to judge the dressage…?