WELL, RIDE SEASON IS JUST ABOUT OVER...
The last of the rides for this year will be held on November 7th - the Mustang Memorial endurance ride in NJ and the VERDA Kendron Fall Ride in Vermont.
HOWEVER, THAT DOESN'T MEAN IT'S NOT TOO EARLY TO PLAN FOR 2016!
So far the following endurance rides have been sanctioned for 2016:
And don't forget, hunting season is still on, so keep all these safety tips in mind (courtesy of Trail Rider magazine):
There's nothing quite like a trail ride through autumn trees, the smell of fresh air and brilliant foliage, the enthusiasm of your good horse when there's a trace of bite in the breeze. Riding during this time of year is too fine to be avoided simply because it coincides with hunting season.
Follow these five guidelines to help keep you and your horse safe.
1. Wear Bright Colors
Visibility is your first consideration. To stand out, wear bright colors. A blaze-orange hunting vest (available at sporting-goods stores) works well. Invest in brightly colored saddlebags and/or cantle bags. Also consider placing a blaze-orange nylon halter under his bridle.
2. Choose Your Route
Find trails in areas where hunters will be less concentrated. Contact your state fish and game department, and ask for maps of hunting areas, dates of hunting seasons, what's hunted, and whether the season is open to anyone licensed, or is restricted by drawings or special permits. The terrain and the species being hunted are factors, as well.
3. Train Your Horse
When you trail ride during hunting season, you'll likely hear rifle reports. While it's asking a bit much of your horse to expect complete coolness near gunfire, you can teach him some tolerance for gun shots. At home, fire a simple cap pistol, then reward your horse with a treat or a nice rub on the withers. Then progress to a starting pistol (used for starting races, available at sporting-goods stores), which is considerably louder. Safety warning: Fire a starting pistol only into the air, not toward a horse or a human; fragments of the wad holding the powder can be dangerous. A bullwhip is another good training tool, if you can handle one. It's best to assume that no matter the training, gunshots carry the possibility of a spook from your horse. Use the one-rein stop to handle the unexpected.
4. Practice Trail Safety
Stay on well-traveled trails. Hunting season is no time to mimic the movements of game animals. In areas where all-terrain vehicles are legal, expect an increase in traffic during hunting season. Indeed, ATVs have become so prolific where allowed that if your horse isn't accustomed to them, now might be the time to change that. If you don't own an ATV, find a friend who does. Let your horse smell and hear it while it idles nearby, and practice gently meeting the machine on a safe lane or trail. Then have your friend rev things up a bit, coming at you faster and making a bit more noise.
5. Be Courteous
Use simple courtesy to avoid conflict. Recognize that each person has a right to be there. When interacting with hunters, consider their purpose. Don't make extra noise in the interests of safety unless you're in grizzly country, or you'll scare game. Upon encountering a hunter, a quiet nod is greeting enough. Also, any appearance of intentional interference with a hunter may be illegal; check your state's "hunter harassment" laws. Although hunting may not be your cup of tea, awareness of its place in nature and of hunters' contributions to the preservation of land and wildlife will tend to lead to respect and to easier relations with those you meet.
Adapted from: http://trailridermag.com/article/hunting-season-safety-guide-15555#sthash.OxhJof7L.dpuf
Ride Managers Please Take Note:
We have a new form added to the Ride Manager's page! This is a Promotion Form developed by Patti Brooks to help promote ECTRA rides throughout the region! PLEASE click on the link here or on the RM Forms page to download the form. It is a one page questionnaire that will help Patti develop a plan for promoting your ride to the local area which we hope will not only draw in more riders, but more potential ECTRA members. If you have any questions please reach out to Patti at firstname.lastname@example.org