A Day In The Life Of An Outrider by Irene Michaels
The entire event is made possible by the enthusiastic volunteers that help organize the festivities every year. Volunteers fall under the categories of mounted stewards and outriders, both of which oversee the contestants, riding alongside them on each course within the Rolex Stadium and the event grounds.
This year, I will be participating in the event as an Outrider. To highlight the importance of all of the volunteers that regularly participate in this event, I wanted to shed some light on a day in the life of an Outrider. In this article, I will be going over what goes on behind-the-scenes to make the Kentucky Three-Day possible to be enjoyed by everyone who attends.
For all first-time outriders that are participating this year, a letter that was written by the previous director of Mounted Stewards, Helen Sproat, is required reading. Sadly, Helen will not be with us at the event this year for the first time, as she passed a few months ago. However, she will be with us in spirit and left us some helpful guidelines to ensure the event runs smoothly in her absence.
The initial briefing will take place at 5 pm on Friday, prior to the commencement of the event. All outriders will receive a map with their assigned positions and are given the opportunity to ask for directions at this time.
On the first day of the event, all Outriders are expected to be at their specified posts at least 30 minutes before it starts. This window of time is ideal for getting familiar with the course, and the post should not be left unattended at any time. Outriders work across the event in shifts at their respective posts, and will not be able to leave their station unattended until another volunteer comes to replace them.
While the competitions are being overseen, it is the responsibility of the outriders to blow the whistle to signal that a horse is coming toward the fence they are posted at. The most important part of this task is to only blow when the horse is about 20 seconds away from the crossing point.
The job also requires the outriders to be lookouts in other places and control the crowd while the competition is going on. In case of a fall, the closest Outrider will be there to move the crowds away from the scene and wait for medical personnel to arrive.
As Outriders, we also serve as ambassadors and promoters of the sport. With specially-made armbands in honor of Helen that we will all be wearing this year, we help the attendees of the event with directions and any other help they may need.
To conclude, I would like to give a special thank you to Jean Turnmire who brought Maverick, the horse I rode today, to the event. I am very appreciative of the opportunity that I have been given to participate in this wonderful event and bring awareness to this amazing organization.