Before the Ride
There are plenty of things you can teach your horse before coming to a ride:
- stand still for a full physical inspection including taking of heart rate, lifting of hoof and having mouth looked into
- accept taking of temperature
- trotting in hand on a loose rein
Take your horses temperature three days leading up to the ride. Fill in this form and bring it with you to the ride.
To avoid the $20 late fee make sure you enter the event by the nominated closing date. Details on entering events can be found here
Arriving at the Ride
One of the fun parts of endurance riding is camping overnight with your horse. However, for most shorter rides you can arrive on the morning of the ride but please give yourself at least 1 hour before the ride start to get everything prepared.
Once you have parked your float and settled your horse, find the Ride Secretary’s desk and finalise your entry. If you have nominated online then your paperwork will be available at the desk, otherwise complete the Day Member form and Liability Waiver form found here and bring it with you. You will be given a bib indicating the distance you are riding and a Vet Card for your horse.
You are now ready to present to the vet. Wearing your bib, take your vet card and horse (unsaddled and in a halter) to the vetting ring. Don’t hesitate to tell the Chief Steward (the head official in the vet ring often wearing a red vest) that you are new to Endurance. They will be very happy to help you and guide you through.
Note that if there are Endurance distance horses in the vet ring then the shorter distances will be asked to wait.
In the vet ring your horse’s temperature, heart rate, metabolics and soundness will all be checked. Once you have successfully passed through your horses vet check you are ready to ride.
Ready for the Ride
Saddle up and present yourself mounted at the start line about 10 minutes before the start time. You will be given a short description of the ride including how long you have to complete. Please do not complete the course inside this allocated time or you will be disqualified.
Ensure you also have the Chief Steward’s number, as this is your first point of contact (other than emergency services) while out on the ride.
Leave the base at a steady pace. People often ride together, particularly in the shorter rides, but if you do catch up to other riders and wish to pass please let them know that you are there and pass at a steady pace with plenty of room to spare.
There will be water stops along the way and it is good practice to always offer your horse a drink. Many horses won’t drink on shorter rides but it becomes important on longer rides and so a good habit to develop. It is important to wait back for any horses drinking before you approach the water tubs and it is good etiquette to wait for any horse that is drinking before you leave. There is often green pick, carrots and hay available for the horses out on course and you can encourage your horse to eat as it helps gut sounds and recovery from the ride.
When you return to base camp make sure you go to the Timekeeper before going to your float, to collect your Vet Card and timeslip.
After the Ride
Your timeslip will have your completion time and vet time on it. Please ensure you are at the vet ring before this time or you will be disqualified.
For shorter rides, your heart rate will need to be 55bpm or below. Take the heart rate as soon as possible so you have time to reduce the heart rate if required. On cool days apply water to the neck and belly. On warmer days water all over your horse may be required. Strapping your horse takes practice and experience. There should be someone around base camp happy to help you.
If you vet through successfully it would be great if you stay for presentations. All successful completions are presented with a ribbon and their vet cards.
Please don’t forget to give your bib back
Don’t be afraid to ask many questions and above all – have fun!