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Why Volunteer?

NFDA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, the club, shows and special events are all run by volunteers. 

Whether you are new to dressage or a seasoned pro, whether you ride competitively, just for personal enjoyment or not at all, there are many opportunities for you to get involved as an NFDA volunteer.  Previous horse show experience is not required for most roles and there is no better way to get a free education in dressage show competition. 

As an NFDA show volunteer you will be able to learn, first-hand, what goes on behind the scenes at a horse show, what Judges look for in scoring a ride and – perhaps best of all – get to know your fellow dressage enthusiasts. 

And finally, there is the real satisfaction of knowing that your contribution of time and “sweat equity” has been invaluable in helping your association put on a first-class dressage competition that we can all be proud of.  What’s not to like?!

The Volunteer Process – How Does it Work?


  1. Identification of prospective volunteers:

  • Indicate your volunteer preference on your show registration form, and/or...

  • Respond to the e-mail call for volunteers (sent to all members 7 – 10 days before show), and/or...    

  • Contact your Volunteer Coordinator directly.**

   2. Follow-up:

  • The volunteer list for each show will be posted on the NFDA website along with ride times for each competition.  Be sure to check your volunteer assignment as well as your ride times in advance of the show date.

  • Final confirmation: you will receive an e-mail confirmation shortly before the show date.  If, for any reason you need to make a schedule change, cancel or are unsure about your assignment, please notify the Volunteer Coordinator ASAP!


   3. Show Time!

  • Sign in at the show office the morning of the show (to ensure that you receive credit for your volunteer points).  Be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before the first ride in your assigned ring is scheduled to begin.

  • Ready, set...GO!


Day Show (Office) Manager

The Day Show Manager (also known as Office Manager) is responsible for overseeing and coordinating a wide variety of administrative tasks on the day of the show, ensuring that the show runs smoothly. The DSM maintains/mans the front desk to answer questions and serve as a central communications center for the various show

organizers and volunteers. 


The primary function of the Scribe is to transcribe (put into writing) the Judge’s scores and comments onto the test scoring sheet, thereby allowing the Judge to maintain continuous visual contact with the horse and rider during a test. Judges depend upon the Scribe to quickly, accurately, legibly, and quietly record the scores and comments made about each ride.


As the name implies, Scorers are responsible for calculating scores directly from the test sheets, and then posting the final scores at the end of each class. This is typically done in the show office with the aid of an adding machine or calculator. Tests will be brought to the show office by a Runner (if there is a shortage of Runners, a Scorer may need to collect his/her own tests from the Scribe). The chief Scorer should instruct the Runners whether tests are to be brought after every ride or after a specified number of rides.

Ring Steward

It is the responsibility of the Ring Steward to make sure that each rider enters the competition arena in the correct order of go and at the correct time. In addition to keeping the competition running according to schedule, the Ring Steward also checks equipment for adherence to rules, where appropriate [now required for all classes with more than six entries, or as directed by the Technical Delegate (recognized shows only) – please see USEF Rule Section DR121 – Saddlery and Equipment].


It is the responsibility of the Runner to collect completed test sheets from the Scribe and carry them to the Scorers (usually in the show office) quickly and unobtrusively. The Runner may not look at these tests.

For more in-depth details for each of these positions, please check out the Volunteer Handbook and other guides below.

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