Yellowhammer endurance race 2018
February 23th, 2018
Written by Shawn Campbell
The following is an explanation of this event from the ride manager years ago. It covers most everything concerning the actual event.
For those not familiar with an endurance horse ride, the ride manager sent the following.
“Having ham radio operators will add so much to making this a quality endurance ride.”
An endurance ride is a marathon for horses across distances from 25 miles to 100 miles. The distances we normally offer are a 25 mile, a 30 mile, a 50 mile, a 55 mile, a 75 mile and a 100 mile. 25 milers have a maximum of 6 hours to complete, 30 milers have a maximum of 7 hours 15 minutes to complete, 50 miles have 12 hours, 55 milers have 13 hours and 15 minutes to complete, 75 milers have 18 hours to complete and 100 milers have 24 hours to complete. The ride is run over a pre-marked, pre-measured trail. Trails are marked with color coded ribbons and directional arrows. Trails that will be used after dark will be marked with glow sticks. Each evening there is a briefing for the riders about the trails they will be following and procedures they are to follow during the next day’s ride. There are designated checks every 12 to 20 miles where the horses must stop and be examined by veterinarians and rest, drink and eat for a pre-determined time (usually 40 minutes, but varies depending on weather conditions, length of the loop the horse has completed prior to coming into the vet check, etc) before continuing on the next leg of the ride. There are timers at the vet check location to officially release riders onto the trail and to record what time the riders come off the trail into a vet check. The vets examine the horse for signs of lameness, heart rate, dehydration, etc. to make sure the horse is fit to continue. If the horse is judged not to be fit to continue, the horse and rider are not allowed to continue. Each evening after the ride, every horse/rider team that completes the ride with a sound and healthy horse within the maximum time limit gets a completion award–typically something like a T-shirt. There also awards for the 1st place, top ten, 1st junior rider, and for the Best Condition horse (this is the horse finishing in the top ten that is in the best physical condition at the end). Recognizing that the prime importance of finishing the event on a sound and healthy horse, the motto of our sport is “To Finish Is To Win”. The rules under which we compete are those of the American Endurance Riders Conference and we also have a regional organization called the Southeast Endurance Riders Association .”
What we do is report identifying number and time for each rider as they pass each check station and any problems a rider reports to the radio operator such as an injured rider or lame horse that needs a trailer ride back to camp, trail hazards or missing trail markings that the trail master may need to take care of, etc. The trail will be marked at intervals with coded signs that riders can use to identify where a problem exists or where another rider is waiting for a trailer to come pick them up for a lift back to camp due to a lame horse or injured rider.. Net control has a complete list of horses competing and will keep up with each different ride so that we will know when breaks can be taken and when the check station can be shut down. Prompt reporting ensures no lost horses and no horses going the wrong direction. Each horse has a letter or number or both on its butt and riders know to call out that letter/number to radio operators as they go by.
Ride management does provide meals, but we are all already on station well before their breakfast is ready so we have to take care of ourselves. Lunches each day are sandwiches, chips, fruit, drinks, etc. sometimes there is also soup. Ride management & our personnel will deliver food and drinks to the check stations. Management has always included us in their Supper plans, but we take that time to get together for a meal prepared by several of our ARES members and enjoy an evening of excellent food, fellowship & going over the days events.($5.00 per meal)
Camping: Standard camping fees apply Primitive camping is available in the Warden Station horse camp (this is where the base camp for the ride will be) and RV camping with water/electric hook ups is available at the Coleman Lake campground (this is about 5 minutes from the horse camp) (HOT SHOWERS HERE), and there is primitive camping at Pine Glen and Big Oak Hunt camp (about 15 or 20 minutes from the base camp at Warden Station). In all of these camping areas, camp sites are on a first come basis. There is also an overflow area directly across from the Warden Station horse camp we can use for people associated with the ride to camp. You will be able to camp at the radio check points on the trails.
The location of the main/base/net control radio is in the Warden Station Horse Camp. This is the primary vet check location and where ride management is based for rider registration, food and logistics coordination. All check stations but 1 have vehicle access and it is only about a 2 minute walk-in.
We have access and full use of the WB4GNA repeater on Cheaha and will have a Forest Service radio at net control for links with emergency personnel and law enforcement. We have medical personnel on staff and some of them will be stationed at net control.
Upon arrival you will be handed a packet with almost everything you need to operate your station. All you need is your radio gear. (radio, antenna, batteries, chair, table) The packet will contain A map and written step by step, turn by turn directions to your assignment, Operating instructions, Log sheets, clip board, pen, pencil, even a trash bag. We try to get up a canopy or rain fly at each location and a line shot high into a nearby tree in the event you wish to pull up an antenna. Its a good idea to bring whatever you might like for snacks and drinks during the day, rain gear, insect repellent, etc.
The Yellowhammer Endurance Horse Ride dates are Thursday, Friday & Saturday, March 15th, 16th & 17th. Thursday will be the busiest and longest day with 75, 55, 30 & 10 mile events beginning at 6:30AM and lasting well into the night.(actual cutoff time is 12:30AM on Friday, but all should finish well before that.) Friday and Saturday have 50, 25 & 10 mile events with a 7:00PM cutoff.
Coleman Lake Campground will not officially open until Thursday, March 15th…
I will meet anyone who wants to help with prep and setup at the horse camp at 8:00AM on each of the next 3 Saturday mornings, 24th, 3rd & 10th.
If you are interested and available, please reply with the following info:
Days & hours you are available
Will you be camping?
Type radio equipment you will bring.
We hope to see you there!!!
P.S. – This year Pam, KK4ANW, & Cheryl, KK4DBK, will again be preparing an evening meal on the 15, 16 & 17 if you would care to enjoy. Cost is just $5.00 per meal. They need an accurate count of those participating. If you plan on eating with the group please contact Pam ASAP. – pamscout(at)gmail.com