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View Full Version : 5-10 mile Endurance/Competitive Trail Rides?



Crown Royal
Jun. 27, 2011, 05:56 PM
Hi everyone, I'm interested in taking my retired show pony on some endurance type rides, per the suggestion from a good friend that would go with me. :) He lost some eyesight in one eye and gets too nervous in a hectic jumping warm-up ring at shows, so he's retired from those. I'm planning on doing some more trail riding before we attempt a short endurance ride, but can anyone tell me what to expect on a short, short ride like these? Does everyone leave the start at once, are there vet-type checks for rides this short? Do you just wear what you'd wear for a normal trail ride?

He is a large pony, Arab x QH, about 17 years old (in FANTASTIC condition though), was looky when we showed but is pretty cool and calm in a less busy environment. His walk is fine, but he has a very bouncy trot. I think we'd be doing mostly walking/some trotting and it would only be a short ride so that shouldn't be a big deal. My only concern is that he'd be in really close quarters and being passed up by other horses (he can't handle that). If we start last, will that be an issue?

And lastly, does anyone know where I could find any of these rides in MD/PA, within a couple hours of central MD? A website where I could find places would be great!

Thanks guys!

LMH
Jun. 27, 2011, 06:43 PM
I have done one Fun Ride (12 miles long).

There were maybe 15 horses and we left well after the "Big Girl Riders" went out.

It was really very casual and inviting-they started everyone but you could hang back or go with the other riders.

People were very accommodating knowing the reason most of us were doing it was because we did not have experience.

We did have a vet check at the end-I think mostly so we could learn what it was like.

As far as clothes-anything goes that helps you stay comfy!

As far as passing and such-on the ride I did we were still on the Big Rider trail so riders do come by or at you depending on how it is designed. Again, every rider was polite-I believe we had ribbons in the tails so riders knew we were just part of the fun ride.

Every rider announced they were coming behind us-I chose to just step off the trail so they could pass without issue and to respect the fact they are competing.

http://www.doublejoy.com/erol/Calendar/rides.asp?gs=_na&dtSpan=2011&scope=_r&region=ne

That is the ride schedule for your area-I would just click on those near you and read the ride info-it will have on the flyer if a Fun Ride is offered.


Hope that helps!

Painted Horse
Jun. 27, 2011, 07:54 PM
The shorter endurance rides will be the Limited Distance rides and most of them are 25 miles vs the full length 50 milers
Check out the AERC website on their calendar for rides in your area. Most endurance rides are a shot gun start. But if your horse gets excited about that, Just ride him off in the opposite direction at the start and let the crowd get a head start and then follow them after the dust settles.

I did a lot of NATRC competitive trail rides. Those are mostly weekend rides that cover 40-50 miles over two days. So you are riding 20-25 miles on Saturday and 15-20 miles on Sunday. You can find their calendar of rides on NATRC.ORG. They do a few one day rides. But not many. Their judging includes how you camp with your horses as well as horsemanship and conditioning. Most NATRC rides use a spaced start. Where one horse is released each 30 or 60 seconds to space them out on the trail. Since it is a set time for the ride, ( too fast or too slow and you loose points) The spaced start seems to help horses calm down.

There are other Competitive Trail organizations. Check to see what group is popular in your neck of the country.

You might also check and see if there are any Mounted Orienteering events in your area. Where you use GPS to reach certain check points in a timed event.

gothedistance
Jun. 27, 2011, 08:04 PM
Hi everyone, I'm interested in taking my retired show pony on some endurance type rides, per the suggestion from a good friend that would go with me. :) He lost some eyesight in one eye and gets too nervous in a hectic jumping warm-up ring at shows, so he's retired from those. I'm planning on doing some more trail riding before we attempt a short endurance ride, but can anyone tell me what to expect on a short, short ride like these? Does everyone leave the start at once, are there vet-type checks for rides this short? Do you just wear what you'd wear for a normal trail ride?

He is a large pony, Arab x QH, about 17 years old (in FANTASTIC condition though), was looky when we showed but is pretty cool and calm in a less busy environment. His walk is fine, but he has a very bouncy trot. I think we'd be doing mostly walking/some trotting and it would only be a short ride so that shouldn't be a big deal. My only concern is that he'd be in really close quarters and being passed up by other horses (he can't handle that). If we start last, will that be an issue?

And lastly, does anyone know where I could find any of these rides in MD/PA, within a couple hours of central MD? A website where I could find places would be great!

Thanks guys!

Short distance rides -6 miles and up to 20 are mostly competitive trail rides sponsored on the east coast & Mid-Atlantic by ECTRA (Eastern Competitive Trail Ride Association (ectra.org)). They have a nice website that gives a complete list of both CTR and Endurance rides in the area. Several are coming up this fall in MD (the Chesapeake at Fair Hill in September which has the type intro ride you want) and PA (the Muckleratz in July) and several in the late fall in NJ. A CTR is a controlled, timed start with riders going out in stages and a specific window of time when the riders must cross the finish line. ECTRA has their rule book online for you to study and understand how these rides are ridden and judged.

An LD (Limited Distance 25 to 35 miles/1 day) and Endurance (50 miles and up in 1 day) are both done with a "shot gun" start - all riders starting together at the same time, and a maximum time to finish. The rules and ride calendar for LD and Endurance are found on the aerc.org website (American Endurance Ride Conference)

You can start last in both sports if you wish.

HillnDale
Jun. 27, 2011, 08:06 PM
We don't have much NATRC here, but AERC fun rides will be in the 10-15mi range. I'd say more often than not there will be a casual vet in and check at the end, primarily for education. There will be a time, usually later in the morning after the other riders have started that the fun ride is scheduled to start, but you are under no real obligation to begin or end at any particular time. Just make sure you don't give the impression you may be lost and stress out the Ride Manager! You may leave after the group if that's more comfortable for you. Just an FYI, you may not be the only one doing that :)

You will not have your own loop. Your trail will be a section of trail for rider's on another distance. Ride Management may try to time things so you aren't on the same trail at the same time, but she will really have no control over that, and may not be able to schedule things that way at all. You may have frontrunners cantering by you who are focused on competing. Or there could just be middle packers trotting by. In any case, you should be prepared for that possibility, and as a fun rider you should yield the trail completely so long as it is safe to do so. Riders tend to be in clumps earlier in the day, so you may be able to get away with hopping off and waiting for the group to pass. Your horse will fair better if you hook up with a "buddy horse." If you find it necessary to pass someone, call out "Ok to pass?" or "On your right!" etc.

Wear whatever you want. If you're not comfortable in it after walking and trotting in it for an hour, it's probably not a good choice. Even though a fun ride is short, I'd still advise not wearing or using anything for the first time on the day of.

Have fun! :D

Crown Royal
Jun. 29, 2011, 04:26 PM
Thank you everyone for the tips and suggestions! I will look into all of them.

sgolshani
Jul. 1, 2011, 03:56 PM
Also check your state Horsmans Council, part of the larger www.horsecouncil.org, for local clubs... usually by county. My local chapter has monthly rides at the closest state park spring through fall. There are 4 trails of varying lengths and sometimes groups splinter and take a higher or lower mileage trail. I did my first ride last week... 14 miles with a group of 5. We mostly walked and did stop once for a break of about 20 minutes..

The local chapter here does not require a membership to ride along. I asked someone of my approximate age if i could follow along. I had a wonderful time. I think that i could go just about any day and find someone to ride with now.

smilesthepony
Jul. 1, 2011, 04:06 PM
Good luck getting into the sport!
I have done a few 10-15 mile rides this year on greenies, and the ride staff is always great about teaching you the ropes. The ten mile ride at Chesapeake is WONDERFUL, and I will be there if you would like any help. The one thing I would mention is if you do a ride through ectra or a CTR you will have an optimum time to meet, based off of a 5mph speed. This will mean if you are completing 10 miles you have 2 hours to complete give or take some. Just be prepared to hold a medium trot through the ride so you have time to stop for water/food/munchies. Good luck, and feel free to pm me if you have any questions about the Chesapeake!

HillnDale
Jul. 1, 2011, 05:03 PM
Oh, and most of the fun rides around here also give a completion award. A mug, a t-shirt, a key chain. Maybe nothing exciting, but still, that's fun, no?