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    [RC] Perspective from a Volunteer at Fort Valley - Hopkins, Lorretta J.

    Greetings to all riders/readers.  This is a note to newcomers especially, to
    share experiences, what I learned, and
    hopefully provide some useful information to others - including where to
    find the switch on your stethoscope (nk).  
    The foliage was spectacular at Fort Valley.  The trip through the valley
    was worth the 120 mile drive from home, just to see the Fall colors on the
    and to see the mountain hovering above through the sunlit leaves.  The
    was pretty good - some rain on Friday night, heavy fog on Saturday morning,
    clear and cool - just right for the setting and the tough course through the
    This is the fourth year of volunteer work for me, and it's always a pleasure
    to meet the other volunteers, to work with them, and to help the riders get
    through their
    rides.  I'm always impressed with the dedication and good spirits of the
    vets, timers, P&R folks, 
    and all those who help with the many other odds and ends that make the rides
    Some volunteers traveled twenty hours to help with this ride - it takes a
    special kind of person to do that.
    The volunteers were well cared for at this ride, and very well fed, which is
    always a plus.
    This year I helped as vet scribe and with P&R.  Helping as vet scribe has
    proven to be an
    invaluable experience.  It provides an education in condensed form that
    would otherwise
    take years to acquire.  Helping with P&R was also interesting this year -
    (we didn't actually do
    the "R" part, just the "P" part) - and it helps to know a few things, like
    the rules for the LD's
    versus endurance, and whether your stethoscope has an on/off switch. 
    What I learned this year that I had not known for the past seven years I've
    been taking horse pulses - is
    that my stethoscope has an on/off switch.  This may sound strange to some of
    and may be known to others, but for those of you who don't know, I wanted to
    share this little bit of info. 
    On Friday and Saturday, my stethoscope (which I've used for seven years) was
    working as normal.  
    On Sunday, it wasn't.  I first thought that the new horses had very thick
    coats, and the beats were muffled sounding - so
    feeling for the pulse worked better.  Then I thought my scope was damaged
    goods and ready to be thrown out.
    Why it didn't work was worrisome, though, and my finding the heart beat was
    delayed for some.
    I apologize to anyone who felt frustrated that I was taking too long to find
    your horse's heart beat.
    Finally, thanks to Valerie Kanavy, my dilemma was solved - as her horses
    were going through P&R,
    she casually said "maybe your stethoscope is switched off".  Well, this had
    never occurred to me,
    and puzzled me, as I had never noticed a switch anywhere on the thing.  
    So, when the P&R area was cleared of horses, I took a good look at my
    Finally I found the switch.  The tube leading out of the base of the scope
    (the round end) 
    rotates just at the base.  In one position, it is OFF. Keep rotating, and it
    switches ON!  Eureka!  
    And many thanks to Valerie Kanavy for enlightening me, and for not being
    upset with me.  
    I am sure some thought (and will think) I was (am) a moron for not knowing
    this already.  
    If you your s-scope isn't working, you might want to check to see if it is
    switched off before you get a new one.
    To all who helped at P&R this year, I really enjoyed your kindness, your
    company, and your stories (horse and 
    otherwise).  I strongly encourage those who are considering this sport to
    volunteer to work at a ride in your area.  
    You will meet new friends, get to see old friends, and gain new knowledge in
    ways you did not anticipate or imagine.
    Looking forward to seeing you on the trail at the next ride!
    Lorretta Hopkins,
    Bryans Road, MD
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