‘No one says thank you’: eventer’s call to remember those the sport depends on

  • An eventer who ensures she thanks volunteers at competitions was “shocked” to discover that on many occasions, she is in a very small minority who do the same.

    Lucy Montgomery is urging her fellow riders to take the short time to thank fence judges, for example, as without these people giving up their time, the sport could not run.

    She told H&H that twice this summer, at West Wilts (2) in August and (3) in September, she was drawn among the last competitors to ride across country.

    “So on both days, I walked the course later,” she said. “Several hundred people would already have walked the course by then. We thanked each fence judge as we went round and had a chat, and a couple said we were only the second people that day to say thank you. Sometimes you might be walking a different class and a judge is in a different place so you might miss one or two but we try really hard to speak to them all.”

    Lucy said she has also volunteered herself.

    “You have to sacrifice your time and although sometimes it’s a lovely day, there are many that aren’t and you might not necessarily want to be there at all. I work in events and hospitality and really appreciate it if someone thanks me. It takes so little time, and it’s free; I don’t see why people shouldn’t be thanked for giving up their time.”

    Lucy added that not only do volunteers not get paid, the days will often cost them money, as well as time.

    “My mum was speaking to a fence judge the other day; it was over two days of a weekend and it had cost her about £60 in fuel, so that’s her cost,” she said. “We spoke to another fence judge at Dauntsey who was beyond grateful we’d taken the time to thank her – we were the first that day – and she was as passionate about it as I was. It’s sad to hear and it makes me really angry when people say that; it happens more often than not.

    “Just take the time – I’m pretty sure Lucinda Green always says thank you; it doesn’t matter if you’re a big name or an amateur like me or an owner, it takes nothing but could make a big difference – and without them, we’ve got no sport.”

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