TRAINING & PRACTICE QUALIFYING FOR AGES LOCATION TEAM OF 7*
5 DAYS
5 DAYS
16+
 FROM £1650pp + VAT

Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award on horseback

Choosing to complete a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award on horseback presents participants with a unique set of challenges, but it also provides a tremendous sense of adventure and achievement.

Travel by horse requires careful planning to ensure success and to overcome the challenges that participants will encounter.

Training and Practice

Sam Sykes™ Ltd and Bigland Hall Equine group will provide training and practice to ensure participants are well prepared and possess the necessary skills to successfully complete the expedition phase.

During the training and practice week and alongside the expedition skills set out in the DofE expedition training framework, you will learn how to:

  • Prepare your horse for an expedition with the correct tack and equipment.
  • Care for your horse during an expedition.
  • Ride safely in a group in open countryside.
  • Plan and navigate a safe route.
  • Ride safely on a public road.
  • Know what to do in the event of an emergency.
  • Load and unload a horse from a horse trailer.

Part of your training and practice week will be spent at the centre and part will be spent on a three day practice expedition with an overnight camps.

Participants will be expected to plan a route between each camping location, maximising use of open country, bridleways and tracks. Travelling time on horseback each day will take approximately 4 to 6 hours. The route will be ridden at a steady walking pace. Overnight grazing for the horses will be pre-arranged at a location close to each campsite.

Participants

Age & Riding Experience

The minimum age for the DofE Gold Award Horseback Expedition is 16 years and the maximum age is 24 years.

To participate, you will need to be a competent horse rider who can walk, trot and canter, be experienced at hacking out in open countryside and riding on public roads. You should be fit and capable of riding for up to six hours each day. Prior to the course, each participant will be required to complete a Participant Riding Questionnaire.

You will need to provide your own riding hat (approved to current standards), riding boots, gloves and appropriate waterproof clothing. A hi-vis jacket or waistcoat can be provided, although you are welcome to bring your own. Saddle bags and map holders are provided by Bigland.

The Horses

Horse back expeditions require horses that have been specifically trained and prepared for the challenge of riding in open, remote countryside. Bigland Hall Equine group will provide your horses for the training and practice and qualifying expedition. These top quality horses have many years of experience taking part multi-day riding expeditions and are proven in some of the most remote and exposed terrain England. The horses are forward thinking, sure footed and offer a fantastic ride. Bigland Hall Equine Group will provide all tack and specific expedition kit for the horses. Throughout the expedition, the support vehicle and Sam Sykes™ staff will be following the route by road transporting feed and supplies required each night for the horses.

Supervision

Sam Sykes™ and Bigland Hall Equine Group will be responsible for the safety, care and welfare of the horses and participants during the expedition.

Horseback expeditions are supervised and assessed in the same way as all other land based DofE expeditions. In addition to normal remote supervision methods, riders will also be more closely supervised by a qualified member of staff for parts of the journey where there are specific hazards, such as water crossings or road crossings. In addition, the support vehicle will be positioned at strategic locations to provide assistance if necessary.

About Bigland Hall Equine Group

Bigland Hall Equine Group offers premier horse riding in Cumbria and the Lake District. A family run business offering over 35 years experience Bigland Hall Equine Group are passionate about their horses and the wide range of opportunities they can offer.

They hold a range of qualifications including BHS UKCC L2 coaching, BET Ride Leaders and Mike Myers once represented England in the BHS Le TREC competitions. Bigland Hall is a stunning venue with panoramic views of the Lakeland hills that simply take your breath away.

Your expedition will take you straight out into the hills and will offer a real sense of true adventure.

Gold DofE Horse Riding Expedition

‘Congratulations to the Sam Sykes™ for putting together a fantastic D of E gold horseback expedition. Cara, Iona and the rest of the group had a great time and were really appreciative of the preparation they received in training, the support and just how friendly and helpful you all were.’

PARENT OF PARTICIPANT

Day One

Training and Practice

Training day

10:00 – Start
  • Programme and Group Introductions, medical check
  • Navigation skills
    • Features of a map
    • Compass
    • Setting the map and finding location
    • Distances
  • Day walk to cover practical aspects map and compass skills.
  • First aid.
16:00 – Return to centre
  • Stove demo
  • Hygiene talk
  • Tent pitching
  • Dinner
18:00 – Evening session – to be delivered by Bigland
Riding assessment
  • Expedition management – considerations on horseback

Qualifying Expedition

Acclimatisation day

10:00 – Start
  • Morning session – re-cap expedition skills
    • Navigation and camp craft
  • Afternoon session – re-cap horseback expedition skills

Day Two

Training day

07:30 – Start – Expedition skills continued
  • Navigation
  • Emergency procedures
13:30 – Afternoon Session – to be delivered by Bigland Hall
  • Focus on horsemanship skills
  • Horse care and handling
  • Tack and fitting
  • Equipment and supplies
  • Hacking theory
  • Ride practice
  • After ride care
18:00 – Evening session
  • Cook dinner under supervision
  • Route planning for qualifying expedition
  • Route cards and map skills
    • Grid references
    • Conventional signs
    • Scale and distance
    • Measuring distance and time.
  • 20 Conditions
  • Bag Packing
  • Itinerary – Training and Practice continued

Qualifying Expedition: Day 1

  • Daily briefing – ride role allocation
  • Depart camp with full riding kit
  • Remote supervision or check point as appropriate
  • After ride care
  • Set up camp

Day Three

Practice Expedition: Day 1

07:30 – Start
  • Daily briefing – ride role allocation
  • Depart centre with full riding kit
  • Remote supervision or check point as appropriate
16:30 – Return to camp
  • After ride care
  • Set up camp
  • Dinner
  • Daily de brief – additional training

Qualifying Expedition: Day 2

  • Daily briefing – ride role allocation
  • Depart camp with full riding kit
  • Remote supervision or check point as appropriate
  • After ride care
  • Set up camp

Day Four

Practice Expedition: Day 2

07:30 – Start

Daily briefing – ride role allocation

  • Depart camp with full riding kit
  • Remote supervision or check point as appropriate
16:30 – Return to camp
  • After ride care
  • Set up camp
  • Dinner
  • Daily de brief – additional training

Qualifying Expedition: Day 3

  • Daily briefing – ride role allocation
  • Depart camp with full riding kit
  • Remote supervision or check point as appropriate
  • After ride care
  • Set up camp

Day Five

Practice Expedition: Day 3

07:30 – Start
  • Daily briefing – ride role allocation
  • Depart camp with full riding kit
  • Remote supervision or check point as appropriate.
15:00 – Return to camp
  • After ride care
  • Daily de brief
16:00 – Depart

Qualifying Expedition: Day 4

  • Daily briefing – ride role allocation
  • Depart camp with full riding kit
  • Remote supervision or check point as appropriate
  • After ride care
  • Presentations and debrief
16:00 Depart

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