Jennifer Bravick: Takin’ Care of Business
Is taking care of tedious details your idea of a good time? No? How about sorting through numerous documents and verifying them for accuracy? Still not excited? Then surely you would jump at the opportunity to schedule a host of riders, some with more than one mount, into a smoothly flowing dressage program. Follow that up with assigning stalls to an array of horses, some with specific requests, and you’ve got a recipe for a relaxing afternoon, right?
What? You’d rather be riding, or second choice, poking your eyes out with a fork?
If doing any of the above-mentioned tasks in paragraph one makes you want to put your head under the covers, then you should definitely pay homage to Jennifer Bravick, STRIDE’s faithful show secretary. Not only can Jennifer be described as faithful, but she’s accurate, timely, reliable and efficient in executing her duties. And get this- -SHE ENJOYS IT!
Jennifer, who has been a STRIDE member for eight years, was fascinated with the prospect of show management. She became acquainted with Sandra Trussell, who was the show secretary for Orlando Dressage, and began working with Sandra to learn the ins and outs of the job. Traveling to Sandra’s home in Apopka many times to learn the process of managing electronically the Fox Village program, she mastered the details that being a show secretary entails. Charlotte Trentelmann, who was vice president of STRIDE at the time, encouraged Jennifer all the way.
Eventually, Jennifer eased into the job with the support of STRIDE member, Dibbie Dunnam, who was familiar with Fox Village, having been a secretary for shows in the Jacksonville area. She remained on the scene to assist Jennifer in case of a question or glitch.
Now Jennifer is on her own.
Asked why she does this job, she reports that one of the best things about being show secretary is getting to interact with STRIDE members. She is able to meet and connect with members and put names to faces.
Additionally, the puzzle solving aspect of scheduling appeals to her. She says that it’s refreshing to start with a blank sheet and then plot a way for both rings to operate simultaneously and break simultaneously while allowing for things like tack changes for riders who have more than one horse.
Surely it can’t be all fun and games, right?
Jennifer reports that the most challenging aspect of the process is deciphering entries when the class number and class description are different. In those cases, she finds that usually the class description is correct. Although entrants receive a verification email to accept or make changes before finalizing their show entry, many don’t actually read the e-mail, and simply check “accept.” When show day rolls around, it is up to Jennifer to miraculously manipulate time and space to get entrants into the arena. She stresses the importance of filling out entries completely and accurately.
Once the show schedule is arranged and stalls assigned, you might think that Jennifer breathes a sigh of relief and puts her feet up. Not so fast. She still has to print dressage tests for every rider, print the labels to be affixed to each test identifying horse and rider, affix the labels, print a few extra tests for each level, and make and print stall tags for each horse.
She’ll send the program and stall chart to the vice president for a scheduling review. She likes to have a second set of eyes on everything. After the review is complete, Jennifer will wait until Wednesday or Thursday before the show to publish the program and stall charts in-order to accommodate any late entrants or changes. As a courtesy to competitors, she wants to get everything scheduled correctly the first time.
Now, she can relax a little, and she’d better because she’ll have to rise at 4:00AM in order to get her chores done at home in Tampa and make the trip to the Florida Horse Park in Ocala by 7:00AM.
After the show, Jennifer usually remains at the grounds for a couple of hours organizing and cleaning up. All in all, she will have spent 20 to 30 hours preparing for the show.
Jennifer reports that while the electronic show entry service, Equestrian Entries, provides a convenient way to import entries into Fox Village, competitors submitting entries by mail should be apprised that entries which previously arrived in Tampa from Ocala in two days now take six days.
Ideally, in a perfect world, competitors would not wait until the bitter end to enter, and the world would not be battling an epidemic because Jennifer is eager to again interact with show participants, and to enjoy the special camaraderie that only horse people can understand.