Set Speed provides a unique training opportunity in a competitive setting at a distance and speed appropriate to the horse and rider experience while testing the rider’s ability to understand and demonstrate the horse’s level of fitness. Set Speed is a discipline in its own right and is also considered a stepping stone to Endurance. Set Speed got its beginnings in Europe as a way to progressively develop Endurance horses and riders. Distances are lower than Endurance and speeds are capped.
Set Speed rides are essentially non-race events, run and ridden much like Endurance Rides.
The distance of Set Speed events can be up to 80 km; however, most OCTRA events are either 20 or 40 km. Horses must meet a heart rate parameter of 56 beats per minute within 20 minutes of coming into either a vet check or the finish. This measurement is not scored. It is just a pass or fail check. After the finish, and after horses have met the 56 bpm parameter, they must return for their final vet check at 30 minutes. The heart rate that is taken at this final 30 minute check is combined in a formula along with the average speed to calculate the final score.
What this means in practice is that in order to do well at Set Speed, you must travel as close to the maximum speed as possible (without going over it and thus being disqualified) while still riding within your horse’s fitness level. Very steady consistent pacing on trail is quite important (similar to Competitive Trail) as it will result in lower final heart rates.
There are two ways of scoring Set Speed rides: Grading or Placing. The strategy for competitors will remain essentially the same; however, in a Graded Ride, riders will be able to travel a bit slower and still attain a Grade 1 if the horse has a heart rate of 44 or lower within 30 minutes of the finish. Riders compete against the trail, the distance, and a ‘Standard of Performance’, not each other. In a Placed Ride, each extra bit of speed will bring your score up creating more of an incentive to go a bit faster. However, a high final heart rate will always be very detrimental to your score so riding an unfit horse very fast is likely to result in elimination for failing to meet parameter or a poor grade/score due to a high final heart rate.
All equines must be 4 years of age [from foaling date] to enter Bronze Rides and 5 or more years to enter Silver/Gold events.
- General OCTRA veterinary and event rules apply, unless otherwise specified.
- The Endurance score card is used
- Objective/Purpose is to provide a unique training opportunity in a competitive setting at a distance and speed appropriate to horse and/or rider experience and to test the rider’s ability to understand & demonstrate their horse’s level of fitness.
- Horse and rider combination is always entered at the level of the least experience member.
Set Speed Rides have no minimum distance, and may be up to a maximum of
80km (50 miles) in length
- Bronze Levels – up to 50km (31 miles)
- Silver Levels – 30km (18 miles) to less than 80km (50 miles)
- Gold Levels – 30km (18 miles) up to and including 80km (50 miles)
Horse and rider combinations MUST always enter the level of the least experienced
- Mileage earned in any mileage program recognized by OCTRA may be used.
- Riders may enter or remain in any level for which they and their horse are qualified.
- Horse and Rider, EACH with
- 500 miles/800km or more on record, may enter any level
- 250 miles/400km or more on record, may enter Bronze or Silver Level events
- Less than 250 miles/400km on record may enter Bronze level events.
- Bronze Speed – 4 to 7mph (6.5 to 11.3kph)
- Silver Speed – 5 to 8 mph (8 to 13kph)
- Gold Speed – 5 to 10 mph (8 to 16kph)