You will have received a rider number and a vet card when you paid for your entry. You will now need to wear your number and take your vet card along with your horse for its pre-ride vet inspection.
Pre Ride Vetting
If your horse is wearing a rug, please make sure that all straps are undone to allow easy access. The first person who will handle your horse will be a TPR Steward who has been trained to take your horse's heart rate, respiration rate and temperature. This information will be recorded on your vet card. You will then be directed to present your horse to the ride vet.
The vet will check your horse to make sure it has no injuries, that it is well hydrated, has good gut sounds and is generally in good health. You will then be asked to trot your horse out. The trot will either be in a triangle around a set of cones or straight up and back. This allows the vet to see the horse from behind, the side and from the front so he/she can see how the horse travels and if there is any problem with its gait. When trotting your horse, it should trot freely beside you, with the lead rope not interfering with its head carriage. (Try not to drag your horse around). If the vet is happy with your horse, you will be allowed to start. Your vet card will then be held by the organisers until you return to base after your ride.
Pre Ride Briefing
Once your horse has passed the vetting you will need to attend a pre-ride talk, which will be given at a predesignated time. Horses should not be taken to this talk. The briefing will alert you to anything you need to be aware of on course, the course you are to take, and any time limits you may have on your ride. Your ride start time will be confirmed and (you must leave base within 15 minutes of that start) time. (Make sure you note the official ride time, so you are not late to the start or vetting at the end.)
On course, be aware of other riders. Please pass safely, letting other riders know what side you are passing on, and being careful not to upset horses that may be having trouble settling. Call your number out to any checkpoints on course so that ride organisers know where you are. If feed and water is available on course make use of it. It is good for your horse to learn to relax and eat and drink whilst on course. Approach water points carefully so as not to frighten or disturb horses which may be drinking. If there is a rider trying to get his/her horse to drink, please wait until they have finished. Do not allow your horse to push in. The other horse may have already completed 40kms, and if it is pushed out, it may not settle to drink again. (This is very important as dehydration is the main reason that endurance horses get into trouble.
Back at Camp
On return to camp, and after crossing the finish line, you will need to collect your vet card from the ride desk. Your vet time will be written in the card. You will have 30 minutes to strap your horse before you present it back to the vets. You can wash your horse to cool it down and make it comfortable. Allow it to graze. The horse's heart rate needs to be 55 beats per minute or under, so it is a good idea to check its heart rate if you can. If its heart rate is high it may need to be washed again. Walking can also assist in the cooling down process. Sometimes a heart rate may stay high because the horse is eating, or due to other factors. These are things you will need to get to know about your own horse.
Post Ride Vetting
Make sure you get to the vet ring at least 3 minutes prior to your vet time. (If you are late you can be disqualified.) Hand your vet card to the Chief Steward, who will direct a TPR to take your horse's heart rate and respiration. You will then be directed to the vet and she/he will complete the same check as pre-ride, including the trot out. After this, you will be told if you have completed successfully or not. Your vet card will again be held until the presentation.
Sometimes there can be a short hold up in the vet ring. If this happens, please be patient. Horses in the longer ride may be required to be vetted before your horse. Usually this is because the horse travelling the longer distance may need to complete another leg of the ride. Also, the horse that has already travelled a long distance is more likely to become stiff and trot out lame if it has to stand for a long period, especially if it is cold. Keep your horse gently moving, if possible allow it graze, and keep it comfortably warm or cool depending on the weather.
There will be a presentation of completion certificates and vet cards soon after the last horse in your ride section has been vetted. People are asked not to leave ride base until they have received their vet card back and it is signed off by the head vet, even if your horse has vetted out. This is for your horse's welfare. The vet will only sign off the card if he/she thinks the horse has finished the ride in good health and is in a safe condition to travel home.