Endurance GB South West
Your First Ride
The equipment that you need to take will vary according to each horse, the weather & distance to be ridden but as I rough guide I suggest you take at least the following, tack (what you normally use, don’t swap to anything new for the ride) drink bottle & holder, map case & map, hat, chaps, gloves, stopwatch, brushing boots etc if worn, rugs (several of different thickness & at least one waterproof one) water (as much as you can sensibly take) buckets, sponge, sloshes (old fabric conditioner bottles are good for this as you can get water over the horse quite quickly but best to practise this at home first) sweat scraper, sugar beet drink, horse food, stethoscope (don’t worry if you don’t have one, not essential for first ride) first aid kit for humans & horses, hoof pick, horse passport, dry clothes, money, phone, road map, crewing information, trailer lock, polos, flask of tea & picnic.
You must enter all rides in advance, there are no entries taken on the day. If you miss the closing date it is worth phoning the ride organiser as they are often able to accept late entries. When you receive your ride details through the post, read them through carefully, if there is anything you don’t understand phone the ride organiser for clarification but not the evening before the ride as they will be very busy.
You should aim to ride a Pleasure Ride at between 8 & 12 km/hr but most ride organisers are flexible on time keeping for new riders!! The exception to this is if you are entering a Graded Ride through the ‘Try Before You Buy’ scheme.
Assume you want to ride at 9km/hr & your check points are, CP1 at 8km, CP2 at 13km, CP3 at 21km, CP4 at 25km & finish at 32km.
Divide 60 (minutes) by 9 (speed) = 6.6. This is the time you have in minutes to ride each km. Multiply 6.6 by 8 (distance to CP1 )= 53 minutes. To CP 2 is 6.6 x 13 = 86 mins (1hr26mins) To CP3 is 6.6 x 21 = 139 mins (2h19mins) To CP4 is 6.6 x 25 = 165mins(2hr45mins) To finish is 6.6 x 32 = 211 mins (3h31mins). Write these times down clearly on your map so you know where you should be. Alternatively, go out & buy a Garmin.
It is important that you take your map in a waterproof map case so you can easily read it on the way around. They are available relatively cheaply from most camping shops. This is the only bit of specialist equipment that it is essential that you purchase for your first ride.
On the day
On the morning of the ride, try to arrive at the venue about half an hour before you are due to start (or vetting if it is a National PR or GR) Report to the ride secretary & show her your membership card & hand in your Distance Card if you are an Associate Member. Collect your number bib (we often ask for a donation to a charity for the bib) & check the ride notice board to see if any ride details have been changed.
If you have a medical condition that might affect what treatment you should receive in the unlikely event of a fall, write down anything that medical professional will need to know then put it in a sealed envelope with your name & rider number written on it & hand this in to the ride secretary. It will be returned to you, unopened at the end of the ride.
If you are doing a ride with a vetting, don’t be worried about it. See it as a good thing, if you wanted a good, experienced horse vet to check your horse over at home it would cost you a fortune, here you get it for free!! The vet will have a quick look at your horse to check it is in good order then ask you to trot up & back.
Out on Course
You are able to start in small groups of up to 4 riders or you can ride by yourself if you prefer. The start of a ride is not scary, you do not have to gallop off into the distance. Set off at a walk if that makes you comfortable, there are plenty of chances to trot & canter later. If you catch-up with slower riders it is essential that you ask their permission before you pass. Also, if riders catch you up, let them pass, it isn’t a race so you haven’t lost any places. If someone has fallen off you must stop & offer help, any time you spend helping can generally be ‘claimed back’ at the end of the ride.
A crew is one or more people who assist the horse & rider over the course of the ride. They will drive to pre-arranged points where the ride route meets roads to offer the horse & rider a drink. The crew will generally offer the horse water &/or sugar beet water. They will also cool the horse by pouring cold water over it (known as sloshing) The crew should always carry a first aid kit. When deciding where to crew, take into account how long it will take to drive there & make sure it isn’t longer than it will take the horse to get there is it will be following a more direct route. Make sure your crew have an OS map & a copy of the ride route. Ride organisers will often suggest good places to crew & places where you must not crew.
At Pleasure Ride level a crew is not essential as a horse should be able to cope with that distance & speed but it is helpful if they come along too.
Ride organisers always need help before, during & after a ride. If you feel nervous about volunteering because you don’t know much about Endurance, don’t worry. Explain that to the ride organiser & they will give you guidance as to exactly what they would like you to do or they will give you a job helping somebody more experienced. You offer to help will be much appreciated & it is a great way to meet people & learn more about Endurance.