A day in the life of… an Equestrian Event Secretary
To start off with, what is an Event Secretary?
An Equestrian Event Secretary manages all office-based matters relating to the lead up of the event and is responsible for the execution of the event on the day.
Typical duties of this job includes:
- Booking judges, officials and stewards
- Contacting and organising volunteers
- Attending meetings for various governing bodies of the sport and coordinating their requirements with regards to the events
- Working with the marketing department for event promotion
- Taking entries, producing times and results for the competitors
- Providing excellent customer service to competitors, both in the run up to the event, on the day of the competition, and afterwards too.
- Ensuring the event runs smoothly on the day, and any issues are dealt with efficiently and effectively
With over 165 events per year, Eland Lodge Equestrian delivers a successful Equestrian events calendar, ranging from grassroots unaffiliated fixtures through to British Dressage, British
Showjumping and British Eventing affiliated events, also the Pony Club Regional Dressage, Showjumping and Eventing Regional Championships and Eland Lodge National Hunter Trial Series Championships.
A typical day in the life of an Event Secretary at Eland Lodge
With events at Eland Lodge most weekends, Thursday’s are a crucial day for event organisation. This is how our events manager would spend an average Thursday at Eland Lodge:
“I’d start off the day checking my emails, processing any withdrawals, specific time requests and new entries into events. There’s usually around 150 requests each day so although this sounds simple, it can be a long and complex process.”
“Once all the changes have been processed, I can then move on to downloading competitor details and creating the competition times documentation. Setting competitor times can be quite time consuming and you really have to pay attention to the details – taking into account multiple riders, multiple classes, travelling companions, specific time requests. The times then have to be published on the website, and a times and information email is sent out.”
Liaising with Officials
“Once the times are out, I then liaise with the judges and officials to let them know their work times, send them the running orders, and ensuring any dietary requirements are noted and catered for.”
Rosettes and prizes
“I then prepare the rosettes and prizes for the event – getting the prize vouchers/money ready in envelopes and with the correct rosettes.”
Competitor requests, queries and late entries
“Once the times have been released there will always be queries; everything from simple questions about the event itself, through to competitors having forgotten to ask for an early or late time, entered the wrong class, or even riders who have forgotten to enter the event completely. Once these last-minute changes have been made I then have to update the times and officials with the new versions.”
Checking and preparing IT
“IT plays a more and more important role in the competition day, from live scoring by officials, through to competitor scoreboards and displaying marketing videos. I set up the scoring systems, get mobile routers up and running, and prepare laptops and TVs for the show.”
Doing prep for the next event
“I’ll also be working on bits and pieces for future events throughout the day – getting the dates sorted with the sporting governing bodies for the next season, booking judges, talking to volunteers, hiring toilets, booking caterers – there’s never a dull moment!”
What skills and experience do you need?
The life of an equestrian events manager is a busy one, but it’s so rewarding to see everyone having a fantastic time with their horses at your event. Strong organisational skills are a must for this role. Combining a passion for equine sport with strong planning and management skills plus good communication, a positive approach to problem solving and being able to work as part of a team.
At Eland Lodge we can run up to six events per week and therefore to keep all the ‘plates spinning’ can be challenging, therefore good organisational skills are essential, as it is down to the Events Secretary to deal with the entries, organise the competitor times, ensure the correct officials are present, the equipment is ready e.g. timing heads for a Showjumping competition or fence judge boxes for a cross country event, competit