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Frequently asked questions

Click a question to jump straight to its answer, or scroll down to see all answers.

General information

The ride is non-profit making, run by volunteers and exists to raise money for local charities - to find out how we distribute your sponsorship, click the Charities button to the left.

The more money we can give to those charities the happier we are, so we’re rewarding riders for raising more than the minimum sponsorship.

This year we have six prizes for those riders who raise the highest sponsorship (including an iPod touch or equivalent for the junior rider raising the most sponsorship).

These are difficult times for charities, so please don’t stop looking for sponsors when you’ve reached the mimimum £35: ask a few more people and help the organisations we support to continue their good work.

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RAF Health and Safety

The ride takes place on MOD property: please follow the route at all times, whether you’re riding or spectating, as anyone straying from the route may be approached by RAF security police.

In the interests of MOD security, any person who enters RAF Halton does so on the basis that they give consent to their person, possessions and vehicle being searched at any time while on the site.

Please download and read the RAF’s health and safety requirements. These are in addition to the Conditions of Entry detailed on your entry form.

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When does the sponsored ride take place?

The 2018 ride will take place on Sunday 18th March.

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What happens if the ride cannot go ahead?

We have not been able to secure an alternative date for the ride this year. Should conditions make the course unsuitable in the opinion of the Committee, the ride will be cancelled. Entry fees cannot be refunded as they will have already been spent on course preparation, but all profits will as usual go to our designated charities.

Any decision to cancel the ride will not be taken before midday on Friday 16th March 2018.

In the very unlikely event of cancellation, the News page of this website and our Facebook page page will be updated.

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Where is RAF Halton?

RAF Halton is near Wendover, in Buckinghamshire. You can download a PDF map here, or get directions from Streetmap or Google maps.

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What is the course like?

The course is seven miles long, crosses one road twice (with professional traffic controls) and includes approximately 50 cross country fences with a maximum height of 2’6”. About 25 of the fences have bigger or more difficult bonus options for the more advanced rider. The ground varies between tarmac, woodland tracks and well-maintained turf. All the fences are optional and there are no time penalties.

To see a map of the course and individual pictures of the fences as they were in 2011 click the ‘The Course’ link from the menu at the top of the page, or click ‘Photos’ to see the course being jumped in 2016.

Michael Rogers of MDR Photo wore a headcam as he rode the course in 2014. His footage is now available in three parts on YouTube:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

The course is only ridden once a year and the number of riders is strictly limited to keep the ground in good condition. Overtaking is permitted throughout the ride and slower riders are requested to let faster riders pass them if they are asked to do so. There are three checkpoints during the course, plus the finish, at which riders must stop to have their ride cards validated.

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How long does the ride take to complete?

It takes approximately 1.5 hours on average but it depends on the individual pace you set. Some people may take considerably longer.

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Are the jumps optional?

All of the jumps are optional and can be ridden round. Note that if you are not jumping, you will still need to go down the zig-zag slope into the ‘The Playpen’ beside jump 10 (the Giant’s Steps).

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Should I walk the course before riding?

Every entered rider is advised to inspect the course and fences thoroughly before riding. The course will be open for inspection on Saturday 17th March, from 10am until 2pm.

It takes approximately two hours to walk the course: please arrive before midday if you intend to walk the entire course.

Click here to download a copy of the course walking map.

Everyone walking the course must sign in at the ride office before setting off, and sign out before leaving the airfield, in accordance with RAF regulations. Dogs are not permitted on the course on Saturday 17th March.

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What safety equipment do I need to wear?

Body protectors, hard hats without a fixed peak (cross-country skull caps to PAS 015, EN 1384 or ASTMF1163 or equivalent) and medical armbands must all be worn. If you don’t already have a medical armband, click here to download a temporary medical card to print and fill in. If you use this, please carry it in an outside pocket so you can show it to the starter, and to paramedics if necessary.

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Are there any prizes?

The ride exists to raise money for local causes, which comes from the sponsorship you raise. To encourage riders to raise as much as possible, we offer prizes to those exceptional riders who work extra hard for our charities.

To the senior rider who collects most sponsorship money
An Owner’s car pass (includes free entry for driver and all passengers) to the point-to-point races at Kimble Racecourse on Easter Saturday (or to one of the point-to-point meets at Kingston Blount in May if you’re away for Easter) with a complimentary bottle of champagne, two free entries to the glorious South Oxfordshire Sponsored Ride in October (www.sosr.org.uk), plus a 16”x12” mounted photograph of the rider on the course courtesy of Ultimate Images.

To the senior rider who collects the second highest sum
£60 in John Lewis vouchers

To the senior rider who collects the third highest sum
£40 in John Lewis vouchers

To the junior rider who collects the highest sum
A brand new Apple iPod touch in the winner’s choice of colour, or equivalent

To the junior rider who collects the second highest sum
Rideaway (01494 758239) voucher for £60 to spend in their online shop on clothing, tack etc

To the junior rider who collects the third highest sum
Rideaway voucher for £40 to spend in their online shop

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Will I get a rosette?

Rosettes will be awarded to all riders completing the course:
Gold awarded to riders jumping all the jumps including all the bonus jumps
Ruby awarded to all riders to celebrate our 40th year!

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How much does it cost to enter?

There is a £20 non-returnable deposit for each rider.

In addition each rider must raise a minimum of £35 sponsorship (or sponsor themselves for a minimum of £35) and all sponsorship monies must be paid prior to riding on the day.

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How do I enter?

The ride is always heavily over-subscribed so please enter early if you wish to be sure of a place (the 2017 ride sold out in ten hours).

Entries for the ride close Monday 12th March, or earlier if the ride is full. Entries are closed when a certain number of entries have been received, not when there are no more start times left. The total number of riders permitted is variable year on year and depends on the anticipated state of the ground and local weather conditions.

Entries are online only, with payment by PayPal or credit/debit card.

Within three weeks of your entry, you will be sent a sponsorship form bearing your rider number and a start time.

Click the ‘Entry form’ link to get started.

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What does online entry look like?

Once you have accepted the terms and conditions on the entry page, click 'Buy tickets' to choose early or late start times:

Time slots


Next choose individual start times for all of the riders in your group.
Click 'Next' at the bottom of the page when you’ve chosen all of the times you want:



On the checkout page, fill in your details (as the person placing the order), and then the details for each rider in the group.
Terms and conditions need to be accepted individually for each rider in the group.
Click 'Next' at the bottom of the page to be taken to PayPal to pay for your entry.

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How do I raise sponsorship?

Each rider must raise a minimum of £35 sponsorship (or sponsor themselves for a minimum of £35) and all sponsorship monies must be paid prior to riding on the day, either online, or in cash or by cheque. We cannot accept credit or debit cards on the day.

Sponsorship forms for offline fundraising will be sent to successful entrants, and we also use CharityCheckout to enable riders to fundraise online. CharityCheckout works the same way as JustGiving, making it easier to raise sponsorship, and saving us some admin overhead.

Each rider raising sponsorship online should create their own fundraising page, so that we can keep track of who’s raised what - we give prizes to our highest fundraisers.

CharityCheckout is quick and simple to use: you just register (or login using your Facebook credentials), and are then walked through setting up your fundraising page which you can share with your friends and colleagues so that they can sponsor you. Registration details will be sent to successful entrants.

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Can I ride in a group?

Yes, but start times are allocated as entries are received, so try to enter all riders in the group at the same time. If you’re entering a group by post, we will try our best to ensure you ride together, but this may not be possible. We strongly recommend entering online so that you can choose your own start times.

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Can I request a specific start time?

If you enter online, you can choose your own start time(s). Note that early times are very popular and quickly filled. If you want to ride at a specific time, please enter early and online. We will try to accomodate time requests for postal entries, but cannot guarantee to satisfy every requested time.

There is a collecting ring with a practice jump at the start of the course. Please arrive in the collecting ring promptly as it may be difficult to fit you in at another time if you miss your own, but you will not be allowed into the collecting ring more than 10 minutes before your start time.

The first riders set off at 9.30am and the last usually around 1.30pm.

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Will I be able to park near the start of the ride?

You will be directed to a parking place on hard standing by stewards. Non-towing vehicles will generally be parked away from lorries and trailers, so for your own convenience please transport all your tack in your towing vehicle or lorry.

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What if I am transporting more than one load of horses?

Please enter as early as possible to so that you can choose appropriate start times.

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What should I do if my horse is difficult to load?

Please arrange to ride early so that there are plenty of people around to help you load after you’ve ridden, and the vet is still present in case sedation is required. If you are having difficulty, please tell a steward as soon as possible.

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Will there be a photographer present?

High quality digital prints will be available on the day, or afterwards by post, from Ultimate Images (0845 8383199, info@ultimate-images.co.uk). There will be two or three photographers taking pictures of riders at different points of the ride and one of them will be situated at the famous aeroplane fence (jump number 47).

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Will there be a vet present?

There will be a vet and a horse ambulance available for emergencies. Please bear in mind that the vet’s services are not free!

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Will there be a farrier present?

Yes, there will be a farrier at the ride (as with the vet, the farrier’s services are not free).

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Will there be a food stall or a tack shop?

There will be an equestrian goods trade stand (College Farm Saddlery) and a refreshment stall selling hot and cold drinks and hot food.

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I still have questions

If you have any further questions, our Facebook page has lots more answers, or you can send an e-mail to help@haltonride.org.uk

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