There's going to be a competitive horse ride on the Snowmobile trails and fire roads in Weiser State Forest this weekend. Much like the Rattling Creek Bash, Camp Muckleratz is "base" where equestrian folks will be camping and starting the competition from. It starts at 7:00 am on Sunday morning, July 27 and the horses will be off the trails by noonish or earlier -- more than likely around 10:00ish. They'll be using Deep Hollow, Wolf Pond Road, Matter, Boundary, Rim, Lukes Trail, Grim, White Oak, Minnich, Matter, and Ironmine. Rick rode the 12 mile loop for exact mileage for the competition. The horses will do two 2 loops and the organizers received the permits from DCNR (just like we do!). Its actually quite interesting -- here's how the horse competition works:
A competitive trail ride is not really a race - there is a minimum and a maximum time allowed for completing the ride. For 25 miles, the window is 4 hrs 20 mins to 4 hrs 50 mins. The winner is not the fastest but the horse that is in the best condition. each horse starts with 100 points, we have 2 judges, one of which is a vet. They check the horse before the ride and again afterwards. Points are deducted for changes in condition. In addition pulse & respiration are checked at the half way point and horses are not allowed to continue if they do not recover to the required parameters. P & R's are again checked at the end - 20 minutes after finishing the ride and points are deducted if they don't recover to normal. The horse with the highest remaining points is the winner.
The horses will not be on singletrack and given the time frames of the event, if you park in the East lot and start around 9:00ish or so, the horses will likely be out of the woods by the time you get to Rock's Ridge from the East Park Lot. But be careful if you start from the Minnich Hit picnic area 9:00 or 10:oo, the horses may be hitting Minnich and Matter between 9 and 10 and we know Minnich is a connector to Rocks Ridge. Also be careful if you head up Rim to Wolf Pond too -- the horses will be coming DOWN Rim between 8 and 10 or around that time.