Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ FOR NEW MEMBERS
If you are new to pleasure riding then we understand it can be a little daunting. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions which we hope will help you make the decision of whether you and your horse are ready to come and join us.
1. How fit does my horse need to be? Every horse is different but most that are ridden 2 or 3 times each week will cope with the shorter distances. We recommend that you build up your ride lengths slowly. As your horse gets used to the rides you can start doing longer distances. As you increase the distance, you should be aware of your horse and how he is behaving. For example, if he is striding along and seems happy you are probably ready for the next step. However, if your horse is breathing hard and seems tired, slow down and try a bit more hacking at home, with walk, trot and canter to improve his fitness and stamina. We don’t expect you to race round at top speed but please remember that the organisers do want to go home eventually! We therefore ask everyone to complete the course (pleasure ride) at a speed of between 5 – 10 mph (8 – 16 kmph). You will know your approximate speed by working out the time taken to complete each section or loop. This will give you a rough idea of how you are getting on. In brief, a ride in which you walk, do plenty of trot and canter should bring you within these time scales.
2. Will I get lost? Hopefully not! Our rides are well marked by experienced riders and we rarely have anyone go off the course. The spray paint arrows on the ground are easy to see and a map is given to each rider at the start. There are usually stewards at road crossings and strategic points as well as other riders on the route who will be happy to point you in the right direction. For the newcomer, it is advisable to ride with someone (ADR can provide you a ride buddy if notified in advance) so the worry of your first ride is lessened. In the unlikely event you did get lost, there is a phone number on the tag we give you at the start (please carry a mobile phone with you). Another way to get back on track is go back to the last arrow you saw and slowly ride from there. On the odd occasion someone misses a marker it is probably due to chatting and not looking properly or going past too fast!
3. Will my horse cope being ridden in a group? The best judge of this is you. If your horse is ok at home hacking with friends then it will probably be ok on a ride. Riders must pass other horses in walk and ask permission before doing so. Nobody will gallop past you or intimidate you. It may be wise to put your horse in a green tail ribbon as other riders will recognise this as a novice horse/rider.
4. What is the dress code? Everyone’s idea of comfortable is different so just choose clothes you normally ride in provided they are suitable for horse riding and tidy. If you read the list of ADR rules, this gives specific information regarding hat, boots, whips etc. Your horse must be clean and suitably tacked up. The horse must be suitably shod/trimmed. If the horse is a stallion it must wear a disc and a blue tail ribbon. Novice horses must wear green ribbons and horses that kick or are unpredictable must wear red ribbons. You will be given a fluorescent bib with a number on it which must be worn whilst on the course.
5. What do I need to take to the ride? You are strongly advised to take water for your horse (to drink and wash him down) as this is not available at most venues. You will need to take sponge, bucket(s) and a cooler rug is a good idea to put on your horse after he has worked hard. Some rides have refreshments but it is always wise to bring something with you just in case. Don’t forget your mobile phone and carry it with you, SWITCHED ON, during the ride.
6. What to do I need to do on arrival/departure? When you arrive, go to the secretary and sign in. You will be given your bib, emergency contact tags (put one on your horse and one on you), map and you may ask any questions regarding the course. When you have tacked up, WALK to the start and wait for the steward to take your number and give you permission to go. In the interest of good horsemanship please walk when not on the course itself. If there are stewards on the course, you may have to give them your bib number too, please slow to a walk, give them your number and ensure they have noted it before moving off. On completion of the ride, tell the steward at the finish that you are back and give them your number. You can hand your bib in to the secretary once you have cooled your horse down if you wish, but please don’t forget and take it home with you! If for some reason you have to retire before the course is completed, YOU MUST notify the starter or secretary so they can remove you from the list of riders and tell the stewards that you will not be passing through their check points. Any problems you have encountered on the ride must be reported to the secretary. Please leave the venue tidy and take your muck/rubbish home with you. Don’t forget to collect your rosette and get your Trophy Card signed if you have one.
7. Still concerned? Hopefully this has helped but if you are still worried, why not come along and watch or act as a steward on one of the pleasure rides? This is a great way to see the other riders in action and will help you judge whether you think you are capable of entering. Don’t forget, everyone was new once…
TROPHY CARDS/MILEAGE AWARDS EXPLAINED
All members are invited to request a “TROPHY CARD”. This is a card on which all ridden mileage (competitive or pleasure) is recorded. ADR rides are listed and there is a blank area for other rides completed. At the end of each ride, the organiser signs the card for the rider to confirm the ride has been completed. At the end of October each year, prior to the AGM the card is submitted and the mileage is totalled up and converted to points for the trophy awards. There are various trophies, e.g. best coloured horse/pony, best family, best Arab, best veteran, best junior member etc. Anyone having completed a ride card will have their points added up, with the first places in each category getting awards: a trophy for first place or a personalised rosette for runners up (places 2 – 4 for seniors and 2 – 6 for juniors).
Mileage rosettes are presented in 100 mile increments which are “rolled over” each year. For example, if you rode a total of 220 miles in 2010, you would get the rosette for your 200 mile award at the 2010 AGM with the extra 20 miles being carried over to 2011, and so on. Some members have accumulated awards for riding several thousand miles over a period of years with ADR. This is not a competition but a nice way of recognising your personal achievement with your horse and is a record to look back on in years to come.
A new member will be a novice (horse and rider). In subsequent years, the member and the horse will be intermediate. If the member gets another horse, it too will have its first year as a novice before moving up to intermediate level. No horse will have more than one year as a novice. Horses/Ponies must be 4 years or over. 4 year olds may not take part in rides of more than 16km. Novices are restricted to rides of less than 20 miles, maximum 10 rides in the first season.
The only criteria for being eligible for awards is that you must act as a steward at least one ride in the ADR year. At the time of receiving the membership form, just tick the box next to the ride that you wish to help at and you will be contacted nearer that date by the person running the ride to tell you the exact venue/time etc. Stewarding usually involves, manning a road crossing, writing down start/finish times etc. This is a small commitment but without the stewards the rides could not happen.
I hope this has explained the system in brief. However, if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Membership Secretary.