My name is Jenny Pearce and to be honest, I can’t remember when I first starting volunteering at horse events. It just grew from the fact that I really don’t like sitting doing nothing. I have to find something to fill the time between riding my horses at an event.

One of my main volunteer positions is as Event Secretary for the Taihape Dressage Champs. This is a national competition run by a very small committee. My job is to coordinate all the competitors, volunteers and officials, making sure everything runs smoothly, but I also like to make sure everyone has fun. Our event is just before Christmas so we have a Christmas theme, with Santa hats for all the volunteers and officials, as well as Santa doing our prizegiving.

I am also the Treasurer for the Taihape A&P Association. I started out as the Horse Event Secretary but as the horse numbers dropped, I picked up more and more of the main show duties which has been great and introduced me to more of the logistics of running such a diverse event.  From wood chopping to gumboot throwing to ensuring there are enough port-a-loos and rubbish bins, it certainly keeps you on your toes! I think the great thing about these jobs is working with the other volunteers and having fun.

Some of my volunteer positions are a bit more involved. I am the Cross Country Controller for the Horse of the Year event, and in this job I setup and manage a radio network of around 70 people, ranging from jump judges to officials to medics. At times this can be a very intense but I enjoy the challenge of keeping everything running smoothly, especially when you have Olympic level riders and officials that you working with.

I love the challenge of a job well done, and it is the small things that count.  Making sure that the flowers around are dressage arena are nicely colour coordinated, ensuring all the paperwork is in order and easily understandable, and most importantly, that all the volunteers I have asked to help get a thank box of chocolates or wine or even a Santa hat.

At the end of the day there is nothing better sitting with a great bunch of people and discussing what we have achieved and what we can improve upon next year.

Jenny Pearce
Taihape Dressage Champs

Interactive Volunteer Stories Map

This story was shared as part of our interactive map of volunteer stories from across Aotearoa, which we launched during #NVW2019. This map is filled with stories from volunteers throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand. This map celebrates the contribution of volunteers in their communities throughout Aotearoa. It aims to inspire people to engage in volunteering, Mahi Aroha and social action and to realise the benefits of weaving their communities together through their actions.