How a “Non-horse” Guy Became Our Latest Volunteer!

In the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, David Garland (like many other local residents) was taking full advantage of the beautiful hiking trails across the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area. Unlike many local residents, he had zero experience with any equestrian events and had only been on a horse once during a childhood trail ride. But he was interested in helping out a local organization. So when he saw a flier asking for eventing volunteers, David signed up. As he puts it, “The organizers needed volunteers and I was looking for ways to get involved in an outdoor and safe environment. It was a win-win for both parties.”

When it came time for David’s first event, he went to the US Eventing Association’s (USEA) website to watch their training videos. He did some basic studying to make sure he was prepared and reported back that “the jump I was assigned for my first event was easy, no frangible technology was involved, and the forms and materials were almost identical to the examples that were in the USEA training videos.” David was definitely stressed about getting his job right, but he feels that the real key is just putting in 100% effort each outing.

Since that first event, David has continued to return and volunteer for Fair Hill International at various equestrian events over the last few years. What keeps him coming back? “I love being able to disconnect from the computer for a day or two, help out a local organization, be outside in a beautiful location, and be around some really fantastic people,” reports David. Although those are all wonderful reasons, the single biggest reason David keeps volunteering is the immense support and appreciation the eventing world gives to volunteers. David says that he is constantly thanked by everyone from competitors to spectators to officials and that knowing you are valued is an incredible feeling.

David has been consistently impressed by the commitment from athletes, the other volunteers, and spectators. If you are thinking about volunteering, his advice is the following: “Don’t hesitate to ask questions, do your best, have fun, and know you and your time are appreciated.” He started with no knowledge of horses or any equestrian events, but David keeps returning thanks to the impact this experience has had on him.

Please consider joining David and other volunteers this 2023 season! More information can be found at, by emailing, or by signing up directly on If you want to get involved in any capacity, please follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok at @fairhillint and like us on Facebook.