Volunteer

GMHA-cross-country-course-volunteersWithout the help of our intrepid volunteers, GMHA’s events would never happen. Volunteer participation is crucial to our success. From the Horse Trials to Competitive Trail Rides, Dressage shows to Combined Driving Events, our volunteers keep the competitions running behind the scenes. Not to mention the folks who give their time in the off-season, before, or after events to do the many important tasks (ribbon inventory, trail maintenance work, stuffing envelopes, etc.) that keep GMHA going.

In 2015, we had almost 300 volunteers who collectively put in 3,000 hours!

We’re extremely lucky to have such a strong, reliable, and enthusiastic group of volunteers. We hope to see many of you back in action in 2016!

GMHA needs volunteers for our events to continue thriving. With our busy calendar of top quality equestrian events, there’s sure to be a date, event, and job that works for you.

Top 5 Reasons to Volunteer

1. Food! Our volunteers are very well fed. All volunteers are invited to a catered breakfast and/or lunch, plus snacks while on the job. Also, every year we throw a Volunteer Party in October for a terrific end of the season celebration.

GMHA-trail-event-volunteers2. Fresh Air & Lots of Action: Watch some of the top equestrians in the northeast and their talented horses compete at GMHA’s beautiful facility in South Woodstock, Vermont. Spend the day outside soaking it all in.

3. Join the Community: Volunteering is a great way to meet new people or stay connected to the equestrian world if you’re new, or not currently competing.

4. Support Equestrian Sports: Without our volunteers, most of GMHA’s events simply would not exist! We need your help to preserve these terrific equestrian activities right here in South Woodstock.

5. Learn Something New: Whether you’re an experienced equestrian or newbie, you can learn a lot about horse shows working with our staff and officials, and by watching horses and riders all day.

Volunteer FAQ’s

Do I need to be a horse person or know about horse shows?

Absolutely not!  Although it is a plus, there are many jobs which require no knowledge of horses or competitions.  All of our volunteers are briefed by our staff and officials, who are available to answer questions at any time.

How do I know which jobs are right for me?

Our volunteer job descriptions are right here on our website. Take a few minutes to read through the details on the event you’re interested in. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call, we would love to talk to you about volunteering; 802-457-1509.

How do I know what GMHA's needs are and who to contact?

Review the events, dates listed on Signup Genius. If you have questions about available jobs, please check out the details. Compare them to your interests, abilities, and availability.

To sign up, please try using Signup Genius or contact the volunteer coordinator or event manager for your event. Remember, when in doubt you can always contact the GMHA office at (802) 457-1509 to discuss your plans; we can always put you in touch with the right person to answer your questions!

We will need to know when you are available, and what jobs you are interested in doing- but we love people who are willing to do anything! Let us know if you have limitations we should know about (ie, have trouble getting around, can’t be on my feet for long, messy handwriting, etc.) when assigning you a job.

My kid loves horses. Can they volunteer, or come with me to help out?

We love kids! But not all jobs work for all kids. If you plan to bring your child you must contact your volunteer coordinator FIRST. We will do our best to arrange a time and job that will work for you and your child. We can often arrange shorter time frames, positions closer to bathrooms etc. Our goal is for everyone to have a good time – help us out by letting us know what you need in advance.

How should I prepare for my volunteer assignment?

The best way to prepare for your volunteer assignment is to simply read over your job description in advance.  If you have questions, please contact the volunteer coordinator or manager for your event.  We are always happy to answer questions in advance; it makes the day of the event easier and less hectic for everyone!

If you have not visited GMHA before, it is a good idea to look over our grounds map.

GMHA staff will be in touch a week or two before the event to confirm your job assignment and schedule. If for some reason you don’t hear from us by phone or email, please get in touch.

What should I bring/wear when volunteering at an event?

In most cases you will have a little booth to keep you out of the weather – but there’s no guarantee and often your duties will take you out and about. Plan for a day outdoors in New England. Bring all the clothing you need and then some. Hats, rain gear, extra jackets, sweaters and socks. Sunscreen, sunglasses and chapstick. Portable toilets are distributed throughout the grounds and there are “real” bathrooms at the Youth Center.

We have chairs but they are not the most comfortable. Consider packing a comfy lawn chair. Most events carry on regardless of the weather and you will be expected to persevere!

What if I need to cancel or I'm running late?

We know life happens but the morning of an event is not a good time for us to discover that essential personnel will be missing. We really, really need you – please call ahead if you can’t make it or are running late. Be sure to call (802) 457-1509, don’t email, text or send a carrier pigeon. The event organizer will be running about like a chicken without a head. They are unlikely to be within range of their email on the morning of an event.

What should I expect when I arrive at GMHA for my volunteer job?

Parking & Meeting Location: Parking is available in a variety of locations. If in doubt, ask. And sadly, lock your car. While most horsefolk are honest as the day is long it’s always best to eliminate temptation.

You will be directed to meet at the Office or Youth Center by your Volunteer Coordinator.

Schedule: Some positions are all day and some are half day. Make sure you know what you’ve committed yourself to – you’ll be expected to stay for the duration.

Staying Connected: Cell phones DO NOT WORK at GMHA. There is WIFI available at the Youth Center but there is no cell coverage. Leave the office number (802) 457-1509 with your family so that they can contact you in case of emergency.

Food: GMHA provides snacks and drinks throughout the day, lunch and sometimes breakfast. Lunches may be a boxed lunch to be enjoyed in the field or may be served buffet style at the youth center. We can accommodate special diets but only if we know ahead of time. Your volunteer coordinator will have all the details and you should contact them with special requests.

Some events host a competitors dinner. Menus, time and cost vary. You are always welcome and it’s usually a fun time but tickets may be limited so be sure to ask your volunteer coordinator for details in advance.

Briefing & Training: When arrive, you will be given all the tools and equipment you will need for the day and someone will be there to explain your job, make sure you know what to do and where to go. While you are at the briefing make sure that your watch is set to “official show time”.

You will be given a radio and instructed on it’s use. The radios are the only way you will have to contact your job partners, the office, technical delegates and emergency personnel. Make sure the radio you get works, is on the correct channel and that you understand how to use it. Tempting as it is, don’t stuff it in your pocket and forget about it – It’s not only the way you reach us, it’s also pretty much the only way we have to reach YOU.

Horses & People: You’ll be working with horses and competitors and you’ll run into all kinds – some competitors are always gracious but sometimes even the best of us can get flustered. Some competitors are old hands and some newbies have no idea where to go or what to do.

If a competitor asks a question and you do not know the answer let them know that you don’t know, but that you can find out. Radio the office or Technical delegate and follow up with the competitor when you get the answer. Your professionalism, patience and good humor will go a long way towards ensuring that everyone has a good time.

What happens at the end of my volunteer assignment?

Your Volunteer Coordinator will let you know where to go at the end of your shift. If in doubt, leave your extra equipment, radios etc at the Youth Center. Make sure all paperwork has been delivered to the office or to a GMHA staff member

Be sure to let us know if you had any problems at your post- it is important for us to be aware in case a competitor has a question or problem after you have gone home.

We want your feedback! Please don’t hesitate to call or email the volunteer coordinator or manager for your event with any questions or concerns about your experience. We want our volunteers to have a great experience, and we are always striving to improve.

I'm not available on weekends. How can I get involved?

There are plenty of jobs that take place during the week at GMHA!  We always need help in the office and out on grounds preparing for our events.  We also have a number of special projects, such as trail work, historical archiving, writing for our magazine and newsletter, carpentry and painting projects that are ongoing throughout the year.

Contact us to learn more and discuss your talents!

I’m in! Sign Me Up

Please visit our Sign Up Genius account to view available jobs, dates, and sign up now!

Sign Up Online

If you have questions or would rather talk to a person, please call us at (802) 457-1509 and we will make sure you’re directed to the right person.

Volunteer Position Details

Not sure what an obstacle observer does? Do you have what it takes to be a dressage scribe? The answers to these questions and more are here:

Learn More…