The Final phase – Sunday 19th September 2021
We concluded our 3-phase event with the POR phase on Sunday 19th Sept 2021. The venue for this event was Whooley’s Farm in Kilrussane, Knockraha, Co. Cork. Elaine Dolan Crowley was our Traceur for this phase of the event. Having traced a POR (Level 1 & 2) before, Elaine took it up a notch and traced her first Level 3 POR route for this competition. The technical delegate for the POR phase was Bastian.
A few competitors had travelled to the venue on Saturday and stayed overnight, but the remaining competitors and volunteers began arriving at Whooley’s Farm from 9am that morning. As they got their horses ready, the riders did a quick double check to confirm they had all their equipment before heading to the tack check steward; missing items could mean penalty points and possible delays. In the meantime, the stewards that would be out at the first couple of checkpoints on the route were shown to their locations with the Traceur, who advised them where they were to wait and helped them setup their checkpoint with entry and exit cones, CP numbers and speed signs for the next section. Having the longer and more difficult route ahead of the three levels, the four Level 3 riders (2 pairs) were the first to present themselves for the tack check at 10am, after which they waited for their turn to be called into the map room (checkpoint #1, aka CP1). Horses were tied up (or if required a rider could ask one of the helpers to hold their horse) while the riders were in the map room. Level 3 riders were given 15 minutes to copy down the route from the master map onto their own map, and take a note of the sample ticket and the speed set for the section to CP2. The first pair of Level 3 riders set off from CP1 at 10:15am, the second pair at 10:25am; all four riders blissfully unaware of Elaine’s plan for them at the next checkpoint!
The map room was then set up with the Level 2 maps. With their tack check completed, the Level 2 riders were called at intervals into the map room and given 10 minutes to copy the route from the master map. The only individual rider was called in first, followed by the four sets of pair riders. The Level 2 route would be a bit shorter and not as complicated as the Level 3 route, as traceurs do try to include some sections of off-road riding for them and the riders don’t have the challenge of plotting grid references and working off compass bearings that the more advanced levels “enjoy” (but for some that might translate as “endure”). Once all Level 2 riders had departed, the map room was again changed and set up with the maps for Level 1. For all six L1 riders (three pairs) this was their first ever POR, again with 10 minutes to copy the route, and it wasn’t long before all riders had departed from the yard.
The steward at CP2 for the level 3 route (which was also CP2 for the level 2 route) arrived back to the yard shortly after the Level 1 riders had departed, and told us of the surprise that had awaited the Level 3 riders: just as they were about to depart the checkpoint, they were stopped and handed a sheet of paper stating that their route had been unexpectedly changed. They were given a list of grid references that they were to plot on their map, and told to find their way to each of the points until they rejoined their originally marked route. A small table was set up at the CP for the riders to use so they dismounted and plotted their new route via the grid reference points. Despite the curveball, it wasn’t totally unwelcome, as the new route cut across country and shortened their expected journey considerably. The level 2 riders heard about the surprise while resting during their 5 minute break at the CP and were grateful they did not have to worry about such challenges.
The PTV helps to prepare the riders for obstacles they may face while out on a POR. This particular route took them over a footbridge, which they could cross in hand or ridden, through a stream and open and close gates. Should they have encountered these obstacles during a PTV, they would be well equipped to handle them in the POR.
The first riders arrived back to the venue around 2pm, with the last pair clocking in just before 4pm. We finished the day with tea and biscuits while waiting for the scores to be processed. Once the Scorer, Traceur and TD were happy with the scores they were posted for the riders to view them. Some of the riders had already left the venue, so those that remained were given a period of 30 minutes to query the POR scores should they need to. After a brief award giving and thank you speeches, riders and stewards alike were off homeward bound.
The day ran smoothly, leaving stewards, riders and organisers happy after having a great day out. It was wonderful to hear from all the riders that they had enjoyed riding along their respective routes, and in such lovely sunny weather (ignoring a couple of drops of light rain here and there). Both riders and the checkpoint stewards got to enjoy some beautiful views of the Knockraha countryside during the day, and the stewards also managed to take a few photos for us all to enjoy.
This day would not have been possible if it weren’t for Elaine who put in such a great job of tracing the routes, Bastian fulfilling all his duties as Technical Delegate, Jill for scoring, the Whooley family for hosting this phase of our event at their farm, all the landowners for agreeing to Elaine’s requests and letting the riders have access across their land, the stewards for manning checkpoints and undertaking different roles throughout the day, Brid-Anne for providing tea, coffee, biscuits and food for stewards (and the riders who had arrived on Saturday) and finally all the riders for giving us a reason for this event to happen. Thank you all.
Browse our news or click here to view our Results page