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Interested in coming on an MTRA ride?

Here are some tips and info to help you out...

First make sure you have a copy of the directions.   MTRA rides all over the place so check the website or Hoofbeats for directions to the ride.   Also check the Website or Hoofbeats for any extra instructions.  For example, most of the time you will need to pack a lunch and bring it with you in saddle bags, but occassionaly we stop for lunch at a store so you can buy lunch there if you prefer.   Most of the rides begin at 9:30, so plan to leave home with enough time to travel, get your horse unloaded, brushed, and tacked up for the 9:30 departure.

Make sure you pack for your horse in mind too.  There is water available at some of the rides, but it's not a bad idea to have some on hand in your trailer.  Please don't forget to bring a manure fork.  We need to keep parking areas tidy.  The ride sponsor will let you know if there is a spot for manure, if they want you to spread it, or if you need to take it back home with you.  A hay bag full of hay is a standard item to pack.  You'll want to keep your horse busy while tied to the trailer.

When you arrive at the ride site you will need to "Sign Up".  You'll probably have to ask around to find the sign up sheet, but don't worry, most of us MTRA folks are pretty nice.  All of us, member or non-member, will be looking for the sign up sheet when we arrive.  All riders sign in on the sign up sheet.  It allows us to keep track of riders who are riding for year end awards and also to know how many riders are on the ride that day so we don't loose anyone.  If you sign up and then choose to leave the ride please let one of the outriders or the ride leader know.  The sign up sheet asks for a $3 ride fee from MTRA members.   Non-Members are encouraged to give a donation of their choice.  One more note, all riders under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.  The adult will have to sign the Sign Up sheet for the child. 

Trail terrain varies from ride to ride.  Conditions may be rocky, muddy, hilly, etc.   We encourage riders to have their horses shod or wearing boots.  Quite often we ride on the roadside, so your horse should be accustomed to cars.  If you have an issue with one of these conditions you may want to call ahead and talk to the ride leader.   Rides are a minimum of three hours long with some being as long as five hours.  (That's three to five hours of riding time.  Lunch break not included.) If your horse is unaccustomed to long rides or rocky footing it may be a difficult day for him.

Most rides will have riders of all ages and ability levels participating.  For that reason we travel mainly at the walk.  An occassional trot to catch up is permitted.  Use your horse sense and be aware of the riders in front of an behind you.  If someone is riding a young horse be careful about trotting off or trotting up behind them..  Cantering or loping is allowed only if the ride sponsor is okay with it.  Some ride sponsors will have a safe spot picked out so that those that want to can have a brief bit of fun.  Safety first at all times.  No racing or high amounts of speed.  A controlled canter or lope is what we are looking for.  (Besides, if your lunch is still in your saddle bags, who knows what it will look like!)  Please don't pass at the canter unless the rider in front of you is okay with it.  You could cause a beginner rider to have a run away.

On the trail, keep a safe distance between your horse and the horse in front of it.  If your horse kicks please put a red ribbon in it's tail.   If you are behind a horse on the trail that has a red ribbon, take extra caution not to get too close.  On narrow trails always ask another rider if it is okay to pass before doing so.

If you need help on the trail, don't be afraid to speak up.  We generally shout "Hold Up" if there is some sort of issue.  Common examples are a tack adjustment or a rider or group of riders getting too far behind the group.  We always have several outriders who wear orange vests so you can pick them out easily.  They are available to help you.  We also carry a first aid kit for horses and riders on all rides as well as a basic farrier kit.

As previously mentioned, lunch is usually out on the trail.  Hope you remembered to put your lunch in your saddle bags!  You will also need to have a halter and lead rope with you.  The ride leader will pick a lunch spot with plenty of trees so you can tie up your horse and have lunch with your new MTRA friends.  Lunch break is generally one hour so you and your horse can have a rest.   The ride leader will announce a 15 minute warning when lunch break is nearing it's end.

Many of the rides allow folks to camp over for the night.  Again, check the info on the webpage or Hoofbeats for more info.  Some sites have water available, others do not.  Some sites have bathroom facilities, others do not.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact any club officer, board member, or the ride leader.   

Hope to see you out on the trails!