It always helps to see a warm and friendly face when heading to warm up for that all-important test or jump round. In this series, the United States Evening Association (USEA) is partnering with Athletux to feature those around us who help make these events happen, the volunteers. Without them horse shows and programs could not succeed, and these volunteers go above and beyond to make sure every rider feels comfortable and confident. Do you know a volunteer who should be nominated as Volunteer of the Month? We are looking for our next feature. Email your tips to [email protected].
If you have ever competed at the Woodside Horse Park, chances are you have met Julie White. She is one of the most beloved volunteers and competitors in Area VI and has a passion for horses that has stayed with her ever since she was a child. White got her start riding early on and after a few lessons, she was hooked. However, she was not always involved in the sport of eventing and was a jack of all trades when she was young. White began riding in pony club in Northern California but moved all over the state and tested out many different disciplines. She decided to take a gap year when she went to college but eventually one year turned into 15 before White decided to climb back on a horse. When she did though, she went straight to an eventing barn because, as she said, “eventing was the most fun” and the rest, they say, is history.
White continued to ride and become more involved in the eventing community and when her daughter was old enough, she enrolled her in Pony Club. This is where White got her start volunteering. The Pony Club needed help running their fundraiser show and she was quick to step in. After she learned the ropes, she began to volunteer more and more. At each of the events that she would attend as a competitor, White would make a point to make time in her schedule to volunteer in some form and eventually, she had held just about every position a volunteer could.
Photo courtesy of Julie White.
The barn that White rode at the Horse Park at Woodside facility just so happened to host some of the largest events in Area VI and soon enough White was managing the fundraiser shows there as well. In addition to their events, the Horse Park also runs schooling shows, and it was at these that White began to dip her toes into the managerial and secretarial side of things. She was so good at her job and eventually one thing lead to another and before she knew it, she had accepted the role as volunteer coordinator, a title that she has now held for four years.
While she loves her job as volunteer coordinator, White would have to say her favorite thing to do is jump judge. She explained that, “I just love sitting there and being able to watch all the horses and riders navigate the jump and seeing how they approach it. You can learn so much just from watching.” She also was quick to add that scribing is her second favorite. It was while she was doing some of these jobs that White made an even bigger impact. She made such an impression on her volunteers at Woodside that many of them attribute her to their love for volunteering. There is such a need for volunteers at these shows and the eventing community is lucky to have someone like White inspiring new volunteers every day.
Photo courtesy of Julie White.
Currently, White has a young horse that she has been campaigning at the Training level. She is extremely excited to continue to campaign him as well as continue to volunteer at all the events she attends. One of her favorite parts of the sport is the adrenaline rush that comes with the cross-country phase and, of course, the people she meets along the way. She also explains that, “Volunteering is such a fun way to meet people and get up close and personal with everyone. You learn so much and get a view of the competition that no one else does.” It is obvious when you speak with her that she truly has an incredible passion for both the sport and volunteering.
Those who know Julie are quick to describe her as selfless and an incredibly talented volunteer. Through her responsibilities with both the local Pony Club and at events, she has met so many people and she has truly made a positive impact on them all. Even though her daughter is long past her Pony Club days, White continues to lead a number of Pony Club initiatives, including continuing to manage their annual fundraising show. At that show, she wears many hats - organizer, secretary, volunteer coordinator, score runner, and even course designer, and the annual event would not happen without her time and energy. She also never misses an event at the Horse Park at Woodside, so chances are if you have competed there you have met White. She has a vivacious attitude towards everything she does and spreads positivity everywhere. The eventing community is truly lucky to have someone like White giving back so much and there aren’t many events she misses. Be sure to keep an eye out for her and if you do see her, give her a huge thank you because these events wouldn’t be the same without her.
Do you know someone who should be recognized as Volunteer of the Month? We are looking for our next feature. Email your tips to [email protected].