Vote for the Balanced Horse Feeds Volunteer of the Year

  • The unsung heroes who give up their precious time, whatever the weather throws at them, so that riders can enjoy their sport

    Catie Howard, 52

    Resumé of volunteering role: “I first started volunteering for the Stroud branch of the Pony Club when I began as treasurer in 2011, and I am now the district commissioner. The role is varied and involves organising the annual calendar of events, including fundraising shows, rallies, training and, most importantly, our summer camp.”

    2018 highlight: “Achieving our goal of replacing our stolen trailer and showjumps just in time for the April show after a huge fundraising effort by everyone, including many local businesses. Another was the success of our summer camp, which apparently was the best-ever according to those who attended.”

    Top tip for volunteers: “Get involved. I knew nothing about the Pony Club until my daughter joined in 2011. You will meet many people, form good friendships and learn new skills.”

    Keith Watkins, 58

    Resumé of volunteering role: “I have been a volunteer cross-country starter for British Eventing since 1989 when my mother, who was an entries secretary, asked me to stand in for someone who couldn’t make it.”

    “I now cover the south-west region, which includes horse trials such as Bicton, Wilton, Pontispool and many more.”

    2018 highlight: “There were two highlights at Bicton earlier this year — first, top rider Tim Price asked me where I was heading next because he wanted me to start more of his young horses. And then the Lloyd-Webbers gave me a bottle of wine to say thank you for starting their daughter, which was particularly special.”

    Top tip for volunteers: “Get out there and enjoy being involved in the sport, and always make an effort to chat and make people feel welcome.”

    Julia Godbold, 58

    Resumé of volunteering role: “I was one of four people who founded the Wobbleberries Challenge in 2016 to raise additional funds for the late Hannah Francis’ charity, Willberry Wonder Pony. It was a way for ‘wobbly’, less-confident riders to set themselves the ultimate challenge of going affiliated eventing, while raising vital money for Hannah’s charity. I am more of a doer than a talker, so I often take on all the admin and paperwork behind the scenes.”

    2018 highlight: “Celebrating the fact we are still going strong two years after we started. We still have people joining up for the challenge and it is great to see riders achieving their goals, while raising money.”

    Top tip for volunteers: “Do something you are passionate about. Hannah has inspired us all to continue raising money, while challenging ourselves.”

    Jo Lees, 47

    Resumé of volunteering role: “I am the British Dressage youth south-west representative. I coach our riders, organise camps and clinics, look after all the team riders at youth competitions and prepare them beforehand. I also sort out some crazy non-mounted team-building sessions.”

    2018 highlight: “This year has been the best. The south-west not only won the youth inter-regionals, but also the Youth Home International — what more can you ask for? Except trying to win this H&H award for them.”

    Top tip for volunteers: “Stay positive; keep smiling. Remember nobody wakes up in the morning planning to forget their test!”

    Voting is now closed

    The Award winners will be revealed at the H&H Awards dinner on 8 November at Cheltenham Racecourse, to which all those shortlisted will be invited with a guest.

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