They won’t be paid and they’ll work 10 long days, but hundreds of volunteers came to London last week to be interviewed for key equestrian roles in the 2012 Olympics.

Some 7,000 prospective horsey volunteers applied, of which 670 have been interviewed for the 450 roles on offer. These range from fence judges to front desk staff, arena party members and stable hands.

Three hundred people were interviewed in London last Tuesday (26 April), with further regional rounds planned for Belfast, Glasgow and Cardiff between now and August.

Caroline Rich wants to be a timekeeper, a role she’s previously performed at Badminton and Gatcombe.

“I’m so excited — I’ve never been to an Olympics before. I get excited enough going to Badminton,” she told H&H.

And Sarah Charnley from Lincolnshire hopes to be a fence judge.

“It’s exciting to know I’ve got this far. I believe we have a duty of care to give back to our sport by volunteering,” she said.

Vet Sarah Boys Smith from Rossdales in Newmarket, more unusually, was volunteering for the first time.

“I’ve not done any volunteering before, but it’s a great opportunity,” she said.

London 2012 eventing manager Alec Lochore said he had been “delighted” with the “fantastic quality” of applicants.

“It is vital we find the right people — their contribution will be invaluable,” he said.

Those chosen will be notified in October.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (5 May, 2011)