Its getting time for my favourite GEC event, and by no coincidence, its an event that Linda and I run together. Something about planning a fun day for all just gets my blood flowing right and I cant keep my mind off it!
One thing that I am looking forward to this year is the sheer numbers of people. We easily have double the amount of riders at our barn this year due to last winter’s merger with Halton. Not only are there more of them, but many of them actively compete in the schooling shows and outside shows, meaning I get a whole lot of enthusiasm from the bunch, which is contagious to all the riders in the barn. All the events this year have had higher participation than last year.
They also have never done this before, and I love sharing this with new people. Best part is, we will have a lot of riders who did the event last year who can lead the way so to speak. Also, with the mileage program, I think a lot more riders will be more confident in riding the trails and pacing themselves. All these factors in addition to the way things went last year led me to come up with some fun ideas to keep everyone involved and interested.
One thing for sure is that the course will be different. Yes all the same trails will be touched, but in different order!
Second, the gobble gallop will be held at the speed of real OCTRA set speed – bronze level 4-7mph at a higher distance than last year, 10 miles. Since most set speeds start at 12-15 miles, it will be a great indication to riders whether they and their horses might be ready for a real competitive ride.
The minimum speed of the turkey trot has also been boosted so it better reflects the name of the event… in other words, expect to trot a lot!
I have added a 3rd division called the pumpkin plod. This is for our less experienced riders and horses. There is no minimum speed, and the max speed will be that of a fast walk or a medium walk with a little bit of trotting. The pumpkin plod division will also bypass the big scary hill (but will still have some challenging hills to try) and will allow someone on the ground to lead (make sure you bring water shoes!)
Some other changes I made is for the 2 higher divisions, some easy obstacles will be on trail and optional. I am going to try and base it around some things you may see when riding off property.
Some other ideas I have floating around are:
- speed signs to help riders choose where they can make up time and where they should take it slow
- maps for everyone
- allow offsite riders (need to figure out what this would entail)
- Maybe offer a ride and tie?
Anything else I should be considering? What ideas do you all have?