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Volunteers are our VIPS, we appreciate your support!

The ESDCTA Dressage and Eventing Competitions Committees invites you to a front row seat at our 2024 competitions.

Check out the calendar to see where we need your help and let us know! You can filter on the volunteer category to see which events we need you at.

How to prepare

General information: Unless you are doing office work like scoring, you will be outside all day long. Please check the weather forecast for the show location and bring whatever you think you’ll need to be comfortable for the day. You can go back to your car for a “change of gear” as needed. Remember rain gear! For shows at the HPNJ, plug Allentown, NJ, 08501 into

Dress: Ask if there is a dress code and do your best to adhere to it with what you have at home. No one will expect you to spend money buying something new in order to volunteer. In any event, dress neatly, conservatively and appropriately for the weather. Layers are best as the weather can vary throughout the day. Wear sturdy shoes. You will be out walking in dirt all day and working around horses – no sandals, no matter how cute they are!

  • Remember a hat, sunglasses and sun block.
  • Most show managers will provide water and chairs, but check first. Especially if you are working on the cross country course as an Event Jump Judge.
  • Ask if meals will be provided, be available for purchase or if you should bring your own.
  • Leave your dog at home.
  • Wear a watch. Event Jump Judges will need a watch with a second hand.

Volunteer Job Descriptions


Sit with the judge to document comments and scores. Write quickly and neatly; be familiar with standard dressage terms and abbreviations. Relate to the judge in a professional manner. Dress conservatively and appropriately for the weather. Obtain experience at the multiple schooling shows registered with ESDCTA. For licensed competitions, experience is preferred at the USEF levels and required for the FEI levels. If you do not have scribing experience, it is best if you are familiar with the tests and have ridden at the level for which you will scribe.

Competition Ring Steward

Responsible for keeping the competition ring running on schedule. Notify the warm up ring steward when the next rider is on deck. If you are working at an arena with multiple competition rings – tell the entering rider if their ring is using a bell or whistle. Keep track of which rider is performing; use walkie-talkie to notify the announcer regarding which rider is entering the ring. Make a notation on your ride list for each rider – if they competed, withdrew or were a no-show.

Warm-Up Ring Steward

At a large show, this can be a busy job requiring clear concentration. Ask for the number of each horse entering the warm-up arena and check them against your competitor list. No horse may enter the warm-up arena without a number. Instruct the rider to report to the appropriate ring when they are on deck. Closely observe riders as they warm up. In case of an accident, calmly notify the TD, EMT and show management using your walkie-talkie. Quickly close the arena gate if the horse is loose! The warm-up steward is also an advocate for the horse. Report any perceived abuse; excessive use of whip or spurs; aggressive or forceful riding to the TD via your walkie-talkie. Do not intervene. Let the TD observe and take appropriate action.

Trainers must coach from outside the perimeter fencing.

Bit and Saddlery Check

This job may also be done by the Competition Ring Steward, but requires an experienced horse person. You will receive printouts of the legal bits, spurs and current saddlery rules. Using a clean disposable glove for each horse, carefully examine the mouth and bit to insure the bit is legal. For dressage, this is done for 1/3 of the horses in a class after the ride. For Eventing, this is done either before or after the dressage test. Also, measure the whip length, check spurs and look for any signs of blood or spur marks. Championship and CDI classes require bit and saddlery checks for every ride. Contact the TD via walkie-talkie to report any problems.

Test Collector/Runner

This is a great job for a young person or inexperienced volunteer. Collect the completed test from the judge after each ride. Sometimes you will be asked to deliver the test to the show scoring office, otherwise you will hand it off to a volunteer in a golf cart. Runners may also be needed at Horse Trials to pick up jump judge sheets.


Another fun job with no horse experience required. Hand out completed tests, ribbons and trophies. A fun and friendly personality is an asset.

Gate Keeper

No experience required. For dressage shows, the Gate Keeper sits quietly near the end of the competition arena to open and close the arena before and after each ride. This is only needed for Championship or CDI classes. For eventing competitions, Gate Keepers will open and close the gate to the stadium jumping arena for each rider to enter and leave the ring.


Must be able to use a calculator or computer to enter scores. Detail oriented job. Training will be offered. Pleasant indoor work. Some knowledge of the tests is helpful.

Event Jump Judge

Sit on the course and record what happens at your jump. Experience is preferred for judging at the more complicated jumps, but training will be provided. Being familiar with eventing rules or having competed in horse trials is a plus. Uses the walkie-talkie to report to the announcer what has happened at your jump. Also call TD and EMT if a fall or accident occurs at your jump.

Other requirements

There’s an opportunity for almost everyone. Responsible children can help by collecting tests and delivering them to the scoring office. People who are not physically able to be active all day can sit and do scoring, work at the awards table returning completed tests and giving out awards, or drive the golf cart around the show grounds to collect tests from each ring steward.

Instructional Videos

For those of you new to volunteering, here are videos that will get you up to speed in no time, flat!

Ring Steward