New Host, First Event
By Meredith Dutchess
When I was first asked if I wanted to plan an Equine Trail Sports event at Asbury University, my initial thought was “No!” Between being the student leader for our trail club, a full-time college student, working 30+ hours a week, and training two horses, I already had a crazy busy schedule. I thought there was no way I would have enough time to add this big thing into my schedule. However, as I got closer to the start of the semester, I realized that I was going to be one credit short of graduating. The only way that I could work it into my schedule to get that credit was to agree to plan the ETS event. After talking with Harold Rainwater, my adviser and the Equine Center’s director, along with Barbara Hopper and Chris Pepplitsch, I agreed to plan an ETS event at Asbury.
When I first met with Barb and Chris and talked to Beth Moran on the phone, I was completely overwhelmed and immediately regretted my decision to agree to plan this. We decided to have both a trail obstacle course and an in-hand arena obstacle course. I wondered what I had committed to and gotten myself into. However, Barb, Beth, and Chris helped me get started and get things rolling. The first time Barb, Chris, and I met we talked for almost two hours. They told me everything that I would need to know, what needed done, and when it needed done. They promised me that they would be right there beside me every step of the way to help me get this done. Not once did they break that promise!
I must have sent them 50 emails and 100 messages on Facebook and every single time they replied and helped me out. They helped me any time that I needed it, whether it be something big or something small. Beth was also a huge help to me along the way, whether it be during the process of planning the event or helping out on the day of the event.
Planning initially started the end of August and my event was the first weekend in November. I had a little over 2 months to plan this event. Almost every day after classes and work I would come back to my dorm room and get on my computer and start working on things. Whether it be finalizing the course and obstacles or emailing judges, I was working on this event constantly. Even when I was home for fall break, I was still planning. Whenever I wasn’t doing anything I would find myself thinking about all the things that needed to be done to prepare for this event.
Being an Equine Studies major, I am always at the Equine Center. Therefore, when it came to planning out my trail course and picking the obstacles for my challenges it was pretty simple. I knew what obstacles we already had and I knew which ones would be pretty easy to get put together. Picking out the obstacles and planning the course was one of my favorite parts of the whole thing. I really enjoyed trying to find different obstacles to test different skills that horse and rider should have. I also didn’t have much trouble finding some wonderful students who were willing to help volunteer. Without the amazing volunteers who stepped up and pitched in to help, I wouldn’t have been able to make my event happen. Finding judges was probably one of the hardest things that I had to do. I must have emailed over 50 judges asking them to come to my event.
Overall, this was an incredible experience. I really stretched myself in ways that I haven’t been before, and it was an incredible learning experience. I had some wonderful people in Beth, Barb, Chris, and many more, walking alongside me every step of the way. I could not have done it without their help and guidance and their replies to the many emails that I sent. The day of the event went so well and so smoothly because of all the hard planning that I had put in and because of the wonderful help that I had that day. If I could do this all over again, I would in a heartbeat. I learned things I never could have anywhere else, like organization, communication skills, planning, delegating, working with a team, etc. I would hands down recommend this to anyone thinking about hosting an ETS event, especially a college student interested. Not only did I learn a lot, but I also got the opportunity to raise some money for my school’s Equine Program. I am forever grateful for the amazing people who provided me with this opportunity. It is something I will always treasure.