Hiring the TRF for horse events

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Images courtesy British Eventing & Endurance GB

Mark:

Well, I've ridden motorcycles for a long time, since I was a lad really. I got involved in the TRF in the early 1980's and was introduced to horse eventing by Colin Patient who held the post before me. My parter is also an avid horse rider so it's a part of my life really. It's a good role in the TRF, not without it's challenges, but enjoyable and worthwhile.

Mark:

Well, I've never really met any trail riders who complain about horse riders. On the whole, when out riding I think there's quite a lot of respect between the two groups, certainly more than other user groups where tensions can rise between walkers, farmers and land owners. The only real source of contention is when it comes to public enquiries and both groups are arguing their case for access, but to a certain extent that's understandable, we both have agendas that we want to push.

Mark:

Well, the first thing to point out is that there are two main types of events that we help with. Eventing and Endurance. They are both quite different in set up, but the input from the TRF is similar.

Endurance tends to be longer courses, sometimes over 100miles in length, that take riders across large areas of land, some private, some farm and some public. It might for example take in sections of Forestry Commission land as well. As the name suggests, it's a test of endurance for the rider. Competitors need to know where the course goes and that is where we can help. The TRF can supply groups of trail riders that go out prior to the event and put up course markers, often flags or ribbons tied to trees or fences, that show the way. A lot of horse riders involved in the event want to save themselves for the actual competition and you can imagine how long it would take to mark out by foot or bicycle. Trail bikes are perfect really, we can get everything marked up quickly as well as take down. During the event itself we are on hand should anything happen, an injury or if someone gets lost.

From a trail riders point of view, it's a great way to ride land that wold normally be off bounds to us. We might find that over a weekend we ride the course up to three times, that could be 300 - 400 miles of riding!

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Eventing is quite different. Geographically it's a much smaller scale where competitors compete over obstacles in a set area. However, unlike Endurance, the attendance can be massive, sometimes hundreds of people from competitors to officials to trainers to spectators. Trail riders are used to help mark out the course and transfer information such as score cards quickly and efficiently. We spend the day zipping quietly around the course helping things to run smoothly. Essentially, anything that can't be sent over a radio or phone.

Mark:

Well there aren't many other trail riding groups out there that have such a wide reach and are as professional and organised as the TRF. It's not unusual for members from across the country to travel down to help out at an event, not just those that live locally, we have a good network and can call on it when required. At the end of the day if you are paying for a service you want to be dealing with an organisation that you know will deliver. I think the TRF has that trust with the groups that we work with.

Mark:

Well, we are under quite a lot of scrutiny as there can be a lot of official people there, especially at Eventing events, but at the same time it's a great opportunity to demonstrate the professionalism, curtesy and respect that the TRF offer to all countryside users. We make sure that we ride quietly and don't present ourselves as though we have come off a race track. When you turn up with an official jersey on and sign on your bike that says you are part of the crew people take you a bit differently. It's not the stereotypical view of trail riders that they have built up in their mind, and that's a good thing.

Endurance

  • Endurance events can cover up to 100miles on a mixture of green roads, bridleways, private land with landowners permission and tarmac
  • The horse event organiser secures any permissions to ride private land
  • Trail riders act as stewards and mark out the route prior to the event and take down afterwards
  • Trail riders are on hand to act as responders during the event
  • England and Wales organisation is Endurance GB
  • Scotland organisation is Scottish Endurance Riding Club

Eventing, Horse Trials & Cross Country (XC)

  • Event takes place at a single venue
  • Horses jump man made fences for 'cross country' section
  • Approximately 4 horses on the course at any one time (90 second intervals)
  • Trail riders circulate the course carefully collecting and transporting judge score cards and information
  • Trial riders also transport equipment such as photographic kit and radios
  • Trail riders can escort ambulances or other urgent assistance vehicles if required
  • Main organisation British Eventing

Hire the TRF for your horse event

  • The TRF has been helping steward horse events for thirty years
  • We are professional and respectful
  • We have a network of 3,500 members spread across England and Wales
  • Individual trail riders offer their services as volunteers, money raised goes to TRF funds
  • Eventing cost per rider per day is £150
  • Endurance cost per rider per day is negotiated on a case by case basis

To make a booking or for more information please contact Mark Holland - 07941 427774 - equestrian@trf.org.uk