Canadian endurance riding enthusiast Ruth Carlson has been named Equine Canada’s 2012 Volunteer of the Year.
Carlson of Kimberley, BC, has been involved with the sport of Endurance since 1977 as an organizer, competitor and groom at both the national and international level. In addition, to winning a world championship medal, she is also an FEI judge – exemplifying all the positive aspects of equestrian sport. She has logged more than 6000 competition miles, with 66 starts and, incredibly, 66 completions. She also rode in North American and World Championships from 1986 to 1989 and was a member of the silver medal Endurance Team at WEG in 1988.
In 1989, Carlson became an FEI endurance judge, and was in demand at all levels of competition including North American, Pan American, World Championship and World Equestrian Games.
Ruth has also served as an FEI course director and member of the FEI Endurance Technical Committee. In 2007, she became the acting chair of the committee and was named the official chair in 2008 – a position she held until 2012. She proudly represented Canada and the rest of the world – committed to the welfare of the horse and the growth of the sport through education, understanding and the implementation of positive change. During her time with the FEI, the discipline of endurance grew rapidly and has become the bureau’s second largest sport.
Since the inception of Endurance Canada as committee of Equine Canada’s Sport Council, Carlson has played a major role and made numerous contributions to her sport at home from the grass roots to the international level as well.
The Equine Canada Volunteer of the Year is presented to an individual who has dedicated themselves to the ideals of EC, worked for the improvement of the organization and who has had a notable impact on the sport.
“I have never thought of myself as a volunteer – it is just what I did,” Carlson said.
“Having said this however, there is nothing more encouraging or gratifying than an expression of recognition from one’s peers.
“I think most people do not start out thinking of themselves as being a volunteer, but more of an advocate for something about which they are passionate, and my years of working in and for endurance have definitely been a labour of love,” she added.
“Love for the sport and for the horses who share it with us. It is encouraging to know that maybe I have helped to make a positive difference in the path that Endurance has taken, both at home and throughout the world.
“I feel that I share this award with all my colleagues across Canada and around the globe who have worked shoulder to shoulder with me to get where we are today, and I count on their continuing commitment in the future. In particular, I share this honour with my husband and my family who have been unfailing through this journey.”