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Map Reading
Map reading is a valuable aid for any rider in unfamiliar countryside.

For Pleasure Riders it is not essential as these routes 
are marked in sufficient

detail, but taking a map and using it will get you used to orientation and map

reading, as well as handling the map while on your horse.  You will need a map

case to put your 1:50000 or 1:25000 scale map in.

More advanced riders are expected to read maps with 
sufficient skill not to rely

on the route markings provided by the ride organiser.

 

Steve Backshall, Courtesy of Ordinance Survey providessome short and easy to

follow map reading training videos Click here.

 

Equipment

Even for a short ride packing requires thought, so it helps to establish a routine. This is a checklist of what you might need. On pleasure rides you may not need everything but it is better to be well prepared.

  • Tack - Saddle (don’t forget the girth and numnah), bridle, breastplate and martingale (if used).

  • Hat, boots/riding trainers. 

  • Short whip.

  • Grooming kit (extra hoof pick for crew).

  • Spare reins and leathers.

  • Stethoscope (only if you have progressed to GER's).

  • Hay net, hay and feed (particularly sloppy sugar beet).

  • Spare head collar and rope.

  • First aid kit.

  • Useful to have a spare set of shoes already shaped - optional. (Quicker for the farrier if you lose a shoe!).

  • Water containers and slosh bottles (we usually use fabric conditioner bottles - well washed out).

  • Buckets.

  • Watch.

  • Food and drink for crew/rider.

  • Rugs A variety of rugs i.e. New Zealand, cooler, thermatex etc. In our climate it is easy to underestimate the weather and the need for rugs. You may start with a fresh horse in the sunshine and finish with a sweating horse in freezing rain!

 

The ride

  • Start steadily if possible even if it is a grassy field or race course.

  • Ride at your own speed. If you join up with someone else and they are riding faster than you like, leave them, slow down, their horse may have been doing it for years.

  • If you need to pass other riders, ask. Go slowly, especially if their horse looks excitable -it may be their first ride or new horse (green ribbon means novice, red ribbon means may kick, blue ribbon means stallion, white ribbon means for sale).

  • Let others past as soon as it is wide enough. Let them know if you are worried about the speed they may go away from you.

  • Stewards and helpers should always be thanked (they are volunteers and often stay there for 6 to 8 hours).

  • Please be courteous, polite and exercise caution with walkers and dogs and anyone else that you may meet.

 

Finish

  • Vetting has to be within 30 mins of finishing but you can go at anytime within that 30 mins.

  • Clean your horse and cool if necessary with water, or keep it warm, or put a rug over its quarters.

  • Monitor heart rate. It must be under 64bpm when vetted to pass (to get grading a lower heart rate is necessary). 

  • Walk horse around a little. If your horse stands for 30 mins, they may stiffen.

  • Walk steadily to vetting area and let horse look around and settle for a minute or two.

 

Vetting

At all Graded and Competitive Endurance Rides, and at Pleasure Rides that run alongside Graded and Competitive Endurance Rides, riders will be required to present their horses for veterinary inspection before and after the ride.  Whilst initially this may seem daunting, think of it as an opportunity to get some veterinary check-ups on your horse!

The vet will check a number of things:

  • Horse’s soundness (checked by a trot-up).

  • General fitness (as indicated by heart rate and recovery).

  • Obvious “lumps and bumps” which may affect the horse’s ability to do the ride (or which happened on the ride).

  • At higher levels/ longer distances, vet checks get more thorough – beyond the scope of this page to detail (but by the time you get to ride these distances, you’ll know all about vet checks anyway!).

 

If you enter Graded Endurance Rides, the results of the vet check, plus the speed at which you rode will be used to calculate a completion “grade”, designed to reward horse fitness and horsemanship. Grades range from 1 (best) to 4; plus completion (or elimination if horses heart rate over 64bpm or lameness!). Grading rosettes are only awarded to full members of EGB riding registered horses. Non-members receive completion rosettes.

 

It pays to do a little preparation work before your first ride, to make sure your horse will stand still for veterinary inspection, and will trot-up in hand. If you want to know more about what is involved, we suggest you attend a ride and/or find a more experienced person to show you the ropes. 

 

Farrier

Before presenting your horse to the vet, you must see the farrier. He will check that your shoes look okay to complete the ride. If there are any problems he needs to fix before you can start you must pay him for work done. If you lose a shoe out on course, he will come to you if possible to replace it. This is where it is handy to leave a spare set of shoes with your crew (an old pair without much wear are fine).

 

Competitions

Whatever level you choose to ride at, similar criteria comes into play:

 

Recovery time:

Time between competitions depends upon the length and severity of the ride as well as the level of experience of the horse. Shorter rides can be used as part of the training programme.

 

Travelling time:

The length of time spent in the horse box or trailer has to be added to the competition i.e. a longer ride of 40 miles plus in addition to a two and a half hour journey each way may necessitate an overnight stay.

 

Selection of class:

Look at your long term aims. Consider the venue, terrain and fitness of the horse.

 

Broaden your horse's experience i.e. give him/her new venues, new routes, different terrain and different competitions including two day rides and endurance rides.

 

There are many factors to consider when planning your competitive season, the above are just a few of the basics. If in doubt there are experienced endurance coaches who can advise you.

 

If you have any 'Top Tips' that you would like to share with your fellow members, please let us know.

Top Tips