- East Midlands Group Christmas Social, Borrowash, Derby
- Merchandise Clothing special orders, Order On-line
- Merchandise Clothing items, Order On-line
- Merchandise HiVis Clothing, Order On-line
- Gift voucher for on-line ride entries, Order On-line
- Plungar Pleasure Ride, Plungar, North Leicestershire
- East Midlands Local Awards Presentation, Long Eaton, Notts (Jn 25 M1)
- Sport Endurance National AGM, SE Office, Derbyshire
- Three Bridleways Ride, Chesterton, Newcastle, Staffs
- Sport Endurance National Awards - Masquerade Ball, Bestwestern , Kegworth, Derbyshire
YOUR FIRST COMPETITIVE RIDE WITH SPORT ENDURANCE
This is just to explain how everything should work. You may already know some or all of this information, but it may come in useful as a reminder, as Sport Endurance rules and proceedures will be different in some aspects from how other groups do things.
Go to the secretary, collect your bib, check map, any changes /hazards etc.
Try to get there early if possible .
Make time to walk your horse around gently to loosen up after travelling,let it have a good look round ,to get used to everything,before going to the vet..
Pre Ride Vetting
Please ensure that the vet sheet is completed on both top and bottom sections of the form before going to vet. The grey sections titled "vet inspection" are for the vet writer to fill in.Make sure you declare any odd action your horse might have ,any current lumps /bumps /injuries.
You need to go to the vet steward at the time you are given and hand over your vet sheet.You will not see it again until the end of the ride. You need to be wearing your numbered bib, and your horse should be presented in head collar or bridle, no other tack.
Please tell the vet if your horse is likely to be difficult, e.g. might kick, which affects the safety of others.
The vet will check the horse's heart rate. This needs to be fewer than 64 beats per minute to start. They should then ask you to trot up your horse away from the vet about 30 metres and return in trot. Please try to get your horse to trot out straight and at a steady pace otherwise you may find yourself having to run again! Try to stay at the side of your horse,so the vet can see his normal action.
They may also check your horse for 'lumps and bumps'. They may check in the mouth and around the areas that tack fits.
They will check the horses legs and feet. They may check the horses hydration, by pinching the skin.
Remember each vet will have there own way of doing things, so there will be some variation within the vetting routine. It is well worth familiarising your horse with strange men looking at him!
If all OK, (it usually is), you can go and tack up.
If there should be a problem other than lameness/high heart rate, the vet will call for the TS (Technical steward) to discuss. The technical steward is the experienced official who is knowlegable about the rules and is responsible for the application of these on the day, as well as working out the placings.
At some larger rides there may be a farriers inspection. It is the riders responsibility to make sure the horse is presented well shod or if barefoot feet are well cared for.However if there is a last minute problem,you can ask the farrier to reshoe if needed but you will have to pay for this.
You then have up to 30 minutes after vet time to tack up and set off.
Leave the venue past the timekeeper. When passing the timekeeper make sure they have got your number and they should tell you your time out. It is your responsiblity to ensure they have checked you out. It is a good idea to set your watch to the same time, or use a stop watch, or even set your watch to 12 to make it easy to work out your times.
If this is your first competetive ride, then you will most likely be doing a 20 mile limited speed ride. There may be a 10%variation on the 20 miles, so it could be less than 20, perhaps 18 miles or above upto 23 miles. This is because the best/safest route planned does not always work out to be exactly to 20 miles. The actual distance will be measured using a GPS and mapping system software so will be as accurate as possible and will account for terrain/grdients in a way that measuring on a 2 dimensional map will not.
Follow the markers, making sure you know before setting of how it is marked .This may vary, depending on terrain, landowners, conditions,etc. It will mostly be coloured arrows on ground, flourescent tapes on trees etc, laminated direction signs, or coloured posts. It may be flags in open country (eg moorland). Any deviations on the route for shorter or longer distances should be marked .Be careful you are following the correct route. It is helpful if you can read a map so that you are aware of where you are and therefore judge your speed. (See section on map reading)
On a limited speed ride you have to complete the ride within an average speed of 6 mph minmum and 10 mph maximum.
This means the fastest you are allowed to complete the course if it is exactly 20 miles is 2 hours. The slowest is 3 hours 10 minutes. At 6 mph it will take you 10 minutes to cover 1 mile. At 10mph it will take you 6 minutes to cover a mile. Try to aim for somewhere in between; e.g. if you were going at an average of 8 mph then the course would take around 2 hours 30 miutes. You can work out roughly how fast you are going using the distance to the checkpoint by knowing the fastest /slowest it should take to get to that point.
The thing with endurance riding is getting to know your horses speed and how they approach a ride; e.g. do they set off fast and slow down later? Ideally you should be able to keep up a steady pace, probably mostly in trot and to keep your horse's heart rate reasonable. Listen to your horse and don't be tempted to go off faster than you are happy with to keep up with passing horses, who may be in higher classes/more experienced.
If you need to pass anyone always be polite and ask if it is ok to pass before doing so. Make sure you are familiar with what coloured tail ribbons mean (eg red means horse may kick out, green for novice, blue for a stallion).
On 20 mile rides it is not essential to have a crew. However the ride will be easier for you and your horse if you have one and it is a brilliant way of involving family/friends who don't ride. Don't be put of if you can't get anyone to crew, lots of riders, even experienced ones, are 'crewless'.
The aim of the crew is to meet you at agreed points on the route, to make sure you are both OK. They can offer drinks to you and your horse. They can sponge the horse with water, or as many do'slosh' the horse with bottles of water. (Most people use fabric softener type bottles for this). This is to help keep him cool and bring the pulse rate down, especially if it is hot weather. It is a good idea for your crew to carry a few spares eg reins, stirrup leathers etc and first aid kit, in case of emergency.
Your crew will need to know how to find their way to agreed point on map. This needs to be planned in advance.
At some rides crew points will be defined on map and only allowed at these places. Make sure they observe this and do not block routes, gateways etc.
If you don't have a crew, you will often find that another crew will offer water etc if asked or they may offer it to you
On some rides where there are water crossings you can encourage your horse to drink there, some will drink from puddles! Some organisers will provide water at points on the route for crewless riders, or if the route is difficult for crews to access for long distances.
On Return to Venue
You have to go in past the timekeeper. Make sure they have taken your number and they will record and tell you your time in (they may give you a card with this on). They will have your ride vet sheet and timeout /in ,time taken /speed etc will be worked out by them and passed to the vet.
You will need to present to the vet within 30 minutes of your 'in ' time. Use these 30 minutes to cool down your horse and let them relax to reduce the heart rate effectively. You can wash the horse down if it is sweating (not usually over the large muscles on the hindquarters, as this may cause stiffening up). Put on coolers /rugs if cool day. Offer the horse a drink, but don't worry if they won't. If they have been really hot and sweaty can offer electrolytes, but should always have water as well. At this distance /unless weather is very hot or your horse has sweated extremely, electrolytes are not essential. Let them graze or have a hay net. Some riders like to offer soaked sugar beet with lots of water.
Post Ride Vetting
As before - horse in head collar /bridle only.
Vet will take horse's heart rate over 1 minute. Usually if horse is fit it should have returned to somewhere near original resting heart rate by now.
Trot up as before.
Will give check over for lumps and bumps; no penalties for these though. Horse must be sound and have heart rate 64 or below to pass the post ride vetting.
Vet can do other tests if they feel this is necessary.
As before if there is a problem other than lameness, TS will be called over.
All the vets observations will be written up on the horses vet sheet and this will be passed back,by vet runner, to TS for points to be worked out.
Points and Placings
Points are allocated using the 'continental formula'.
This is- (horses speed x2)-(minimum speed of the ride) x100
final heart rate
e.g. horse does 8mph finishes with heart rate of 40 awarded 25.00 points. (8x2=16)-(6)=10x100=1000 / 40 = 25
Don't worry you are not expected to work this out for yourself!
The highest points wins the class.
The fastest horse does not necessarily win. The skill comes in judging the speed, terrain, and weather and horses recovery rates.
When all the competitors are in and vetted and points allocated, then the placings are announced -so please try to stay for this. Please be patient, it can take some time for eveyone to get back given the variation in speeds and if a large class will be time differences in starting. This can be a good time to chat to other riders/officials about how they found the ride and endurance riding generally. We usually have a presentation of rosettes and prizes -this is usually light hearted and fun.
Make sure you get your mileage card back from the secretary, along with the bottom portion of your completed ride vet sheet for your records.
Sport Endurance rides have a reputation for being friendly and there is always someone willing to offer help and advice. Make yourself known to others and get to know people there. Officials will be happy to help or point you in the direction of someone who can if they are busy or don't know the answers. Don't ever be afraid to ask questions, riders/officials love talking about their sport and are always willing to encourage new people to get involved in Sport Endurance. Although these rides are competetive, you don't get the intense rivalry that happens in some other equestrian sports.
Good luck and enjoy your rides. Hopefully you too will get hooked on the sport and will soon be entering your next ride with Sport Endurance .