Tips for volunteering with horses

Even if you don’t own a horse, there are still plenty of ways you can get involved.

Equestrian events can’t run without an army of volunteers and it’s the perfect way to experience all the excitement of a competition and you get to watch horses all day – what could be better?

Although you may not get paid, you’ll receive training – plus refreshments throughout the day.

Many yards and stables run competitions, if you’re keen to get involved and offer your services as a volunteer here are a few of the jobs you could be asked to do:

Competitions can't run without the help of volunteers, which includes dressage writers

Competitions can't run without the help of volunteers, which includes dressage writers

Dressage writing

You’ll sit alongside a dressage judge, writing their comments and scores as each competitor rides their test.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about what the judge is looking for.

The ability to listen and stay focussed will help, as well as being able to write quickly and neatly.

Show stewarding

This role can be quite varied and may include directing show riders to their class or marshalling the warm-up area making sure it all runs smoothly.

Staying calm under pressure and the ability to organise others will make this job easy.

Fence judging

As the title says, you’ll be sat by a cross-country fence and you’ll record refusals or falls on a scoresheet for each competitor.

A great way to get up close to all the action, it's based outside, so be prepared and take plenty of clothing and a chair to sit on, or you can sit in your car. 

Stay safe on the road with your horse

We all know that hacking on the roads isn’t without risk and with some simple planning and some road-safety know-how you’ll be far safer when you venture out. Read on for some hacking safety tips!

Be seen

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While it’s not mandatory, wearing hi-vis should be considered an absolute must when riding on the roads. Being bright and visible will help motorists to see you earlier and that is reason enough.

There’s now plenty of choice when it comes to hi-vis products and we’re no longer restricted to the unflattering hi-vis tabards of old…not that it matters! A little hi-vis goes a long way so be sure to slap some on and the more the merrier. Available in the shops are coats, tabbards, hat bands, breeches, leg and tail bands, breast plates and exercise sheets. So, if you don’t have any hi-vi, use our advice as an excuse to go shopping. It doesn’t cost the earth and it could save your life – it’s a simple as that. If you’re currently hacking without hi-vis please make a change today – hi-vis matters.

Don’t risk injury

Wear a body protector and/or air jacket and ALWAYS wear a properly fastening riding hat – there’s no excuse. You’ve only got one head!

Inform a friend

Always tell someone where you’re going and give an estimated time of return. If something happens, you can be confident they’ll come looking for you. Just remember to let that person know if you’re running late so they don’t worry.

You could even get some added peace of mind by installing an app like the Horse Rider SOS’ app on your phone. This app monitors your movements as you ride and, in the event of a fall the app will enter “Alert mode’ and kick off a rescue process. Download it at

Be prepared

If your horse is new, green or simply inexperienced on the roads be sure you’re ready to hit the roads before you do. Have a lesson and ensure all the basics are in place. Can you maintain control of your horse and do you know what to do in the event of a spook? If not, ask your trainer for some advice to ensure the basics are in place before you hack out – it will give you and your horse confidence.

Always be alert

It’s lovely to hack out with friends but being alert as you ride on the roads is vital so take care not to be distracted as you ride. Save chit-chat for off-road tracks and be sure to thank motorists who slow down to pass you.

Report incidents on the road

If nobody knows about incidents involving horses and riders on the road, nothing can be done to combat the. This is why the BHS urges riders to report an accident or incident on the roads. With the information, it’s easier for them to lobby those in power to make a change. So, if you’ve had an accident on the road with your horse be sure to report it to Horse Accidents – it’s never too late.

Take the BHS Riding & Road Safety Test

More than 4,000 take the BHS Riding and Road Safety test each year and while it’s not essential, it is sensible! To find out more, visit the BHS website.