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15 February 2016

Ride Organising – The dark art…...Philorth, October 2013. The ride of Virgins

By Angi Long


We have nicknamed this 'the ride of virgins' simply because of the following reasons:

•  Virgin Venue

•  Virgin Route

•  Virgin Organisers (virtually, I helped organise one ride over 13years ago)

•  Virgin Chief Steward

•  Virgin Admin

•  Virgin Admin helper

•  Virgin Vet

•  Virgin Vet Writer

•  Virgin Check Point Marshalls

•  Virgin Road Crossing Marshall


If you ever thought that organising a ride is too scary and so it should be left to those who know what

they’re doing…… You’re wrong! Yes it is a pretty daunting task and it’s not easy putting on a ride that

has never been done before but it is totally possible and the satisfaction you get from seeing all the

riders coming back with big smiles on their faces is incredible.


There are three ways to get into ride organising

1.  Help an existing organiser to organise an established ride, using the ride pack and the pre-existing

contacts lists

2.  Take over the organising of an existing/previous ride using the ride pack and the pre-existing

contacts lists

3.  Put on a new ride and create your own ride pack & contacts list.


Undoubtedly putting on a new ride is the most difficult of these options and it can be a little stressful at

times if you don’t know what you need to do. But if you ask the right people the right questions you will

get the help you need. We did it with Philorth and I think we can confidently say we succeeded.


Here is a simple run down of what’s involved.

•  Find a possible route(s)

•  Find a possible venue

•  Map out the route(s) and calculate the distances.

•  Speak to landowners & local authorities

•  Get vet & farrier contact lists from rides co-ordinator (committee)

•  Notify the local police

•  Put a call out for helpers (via the helpers co-ordinator)

•  Map out routes on Memory Map

•  Create talk rounds (it’s a good idea to get somebody who then doesn’t know the route to work

through the talk rounds and see if they can follow the maps).

•  Watch the entries come flooding in (via the entry secretary)

•  Collect/arrange collection of the caravan

•  Mark the route the day before

•  Enjoy the fruits of your labour


As we organised the Philorth ride as a team, it meant that I was able to ride this year, next year it’s the

turn of one of my co-organisers.


Here is a little extract from an email received from one of our helpers:

"The ride at Philorth went well and the venue was fantastic; huge and very tidy working farm with lots of

activity in the background as the loons birred aboot in fork lifts stacking their legendary haylage…. Very


Mrs Philorth came round to see us in a HUGE Range Rover with personalised number plates. She was lovely

and apparently they are happy for the club to return again in the future.

The police turned up for a social call and we ended up with FOUR vets. Hannah from Dukes and myself

were already at our posts awaiting the first riders, when two guys and a lassie appeared with a wee

dog. I thought they'd come to watch…... Hannah and her writer were both endurance rookies, but she's

a smart cookie and picked everything up no problem. Good ride to end the season and everyone

seemed to enjoy themselves."


This is just one of many lovely comments we received and as you can tell, we had a wee glitch when

we ended up with surplus vets (after panicking that we actually weren’t going to have any) but Gemma

(co-organiser & Chief Steward) handled the situation with such professionalism that the extra vets are

still willing to help at future events.


I hope this little article encourages some of you to volunteer to help as ride organisers for next years

calendar, it really is very satisfying to know that you helped put on a ride that caused 30 – 40 riders and

their horses to have an absolute ball, attain mileage landmarks, grade towards BT awards etc.


And in case you think you may not have time, Gemma works over 40 hours a week, commuting 3 hours

a day, has 3 horses to look after and work and does not have a significant other to help her. Karl works

over 35 hours a week, works part time building shelters/stables & fences for other people has 2 horses

to work and keep fit and is currently building a custom designed field shelter/tack room/feed store.

Then there’s me, I run my own businesses (x2), I work part time at the local Golf Club, I have 2 horses

to work & keep fit, a mad dog and I too, like Gemma do it all solo. Anything is possible.