Ride Manager Guidelines



Ride managers and their assistants should have a good understanding of the IMO General Rules, and follow them.

Ride dates are assigned at the Ride Managers’ Meeting held on the day of, and immediately following, the Annual Meeting. Only IMO annual members may manage a ride. No team member, or anyone who assists in setting up a ride, may compete on the ride.

Start planning your ride well in advance. Obtain up-to-date topographical maps (7.5 minute/scale 1:24,000) and other information about the area. If your ride is going to be on Forest Service or BLM controlled land, the general location should be known at the ride managers’ meeting. BLM will charge a permit fee and per-rider fee if you use a parking area that is fenced, has an in-place toilet, graveled, and has a kiosk. Try to pick an unimproved site for your ride. At this time, IMO will not pay BLM fees. Forest Service likes to know the general area of the ride and where parking might be. At this time, IMO falls way below the 75 participants rule and does not need a special use permit. Ride managers will need to contact landowners themselves for permission to ride on private land. Try to get it in writing.

Use two or more members of your team or, if you aren’t on a team, have one or more assistants. They will be of help from beginning to end: double checking accuracy of bearings, correctly assessing marker location on the map, etc. Also, it insures that someone will be there to manage the ride if you have trouble or unforeseen commitments that prevent you from showing up on time on the day of the ride.

Scout the area you have in mind to see if the area is suitable for mounted orienteering. If you haven’t ridden the area before, it is a good idea to ride your mount(s) over the area.

Make up a "Ride Notice" that includes:

Send a copy of the notice to the IMO Secretary and the Web Master (Historian) about 30 days before your ride. The Secretary will send copies to members, and the web site will be updated. Have copies available at the ride prior to your ride. Post copies of your ride notice at feed stores, tack stores, riding stables, and other places that interested riders might frequent.

Current ride dues (as of 1/2012) are: $15 for adult IMO annual members, $20 for an adult IMO day-membership, and $5 for all riders 0 to 17 years old (as of January 1st of the current ride year).

Make or order awards far enough in advance. Keep awards simple. Have two sets for each place, 1st through 6th. Make completion certificates (if you need help, ask the Secretary).



It generally takes a lot longer to set up a good IMO ride than it takes for competitors to complete it.

The plates used for markers must be 9 inches in diameter or square and white or yellow in color. Mark your plates ahead of time with something black, waterproof and durable. Each plate must have the marker number (1 through 5) on top and two or more letters underneath, using different letters for each marker number. Each competitive IMO ride must have five—no more, no less—marker plates. A common practice in past years has been to have the letters on the plates be a word scramble—ride "theme," something pertinent to IMO—that riders unscramble after the ride for a "prize."

Marker number one is set up near camp to show riders what to look for and what to do when they find them. Set up the other four away from camp.

Plan the general area for each marker on the map before you ride out to put them up. If possible, make one big loop from start to finish rather than short spurs in different directions. Depending on the terrain, a ride length of 8 to 15 miles is necessary to maintain the 2-hour minimum time. Plan the "2-hour minimum" time for the median riders—the fastest will probably be well under 2 hours, but the slowest won’t be out after dark.

Take a copy of the map, with possible marker locations marked on it, with you to put out the markers! If you know how to use a GPS unit, it is highly recommended.

Put the markers out at least a week in advance so you have time to make or modify your map and make copies of it. Take along compasses, maps, notebook, pencils, folding saw or hatchet, colored flagging ribbon, carpenter’s stapler, long tacks, twine or wire, tape, etc., AND the markers.

Fasten markers to a tree, bush, rock, or whatever, in an effort for them to stay there until the ride. Try not to put markers right on the trail. DO NOT hide markers in thick brush, under objects, way overhead, down in deep, dark holes, etc. In other words—NO TRICKS. Make sure riders can get to where they can read markers from horseback.

For each marker, take compass bearings to or from at least two easily recognized landmarks. Use natural, prominent, identifiable landmarks whenever you can, but make sure ALL LANDMARKS ARE RECOGNIZABLE. Landmarks and markers do not have to be within sight of each other. Make competitors use their compasses to find markers. BE ACCURATE. Double check bearings by having one person take back-bearings (South arrow in North lane) from the markers and another person take bearings from the landmarks. A "FROM" bearing is from the landmark to the marker (i.e. North arrow in the North lane when standing at the landmark). A "TO" bearing is from the marker to the landmark (i.e. North arrow in North lane when standing at the marker). When checking a "TO" bearing, if one person can’t get to the landmark to shoot a back-bearing, have two people shoot the back-bearing from the marker standing in the exact same place.

Mark the exact location of each marker on your map copy. Write down the marker number, bearings and description of landmarks in the notebook (to be transferred to the competition map later). Use "north," "south," "east," and "west" when describing landmarks rather than left, right, up, down, etc.

Ask the Historian for a camera if you need one to use for your ride. Use a camera while setting the ride to take some interesting and beautiful pictures.



The short course is optional, but highly recommended. It will cover less distance than the competitive course and have landmarks and markers that are easier to identify and locate.

Riders must choose at registration which course, competitive or short, they will ride and may not ride both for points. Ride dues and rules are the same for both rides.

The same topographical ride map will be given to all riders regardless of the course they choose to ride. The short course may be in the same general area as the competitive ride or cover a different area, at the ride managers’ discretion.

Marker number one will be the same for all riders. Short course field markers will be "A" and "B" at the top and will use numbers instead of letters underneath. Ride managers may elect to designate two of the competitive ride markers as the short course instead of using separate A and B markers. Both the marker number and A or B need to be marked on the map in this case, and riders should be informed in the ride manager notes which marker numbers are also the short course.

The short course is not timed, no time points will be given, but two points for each of the three markers found will still be awarded.



Prepare separate copies of marker number one clues (map optional). These may be given to competitors at any time before they start the timed ride. Include number one letters and clues on the competition map.

REMEMBER: Riders use the MAP to find the AREA of the marker; BEARINGS and landmark CLUES are then used to find the marker.

From the map copy (taken with you to put out the markers) and field notes, plot the correct location of each marker on the original map with the number in a circle. If you used a GPS, do not show the coordinates on the map. Make a "map back" (to be copied on the competition map) as follows:


1 (to 5) 182° from (or to) the NE corner of the outhouse behind the old cabin.

120° from (or to) the sagebrush N of the creek with yellow flagging.


NOTES: [gates, hazards, water, ride conditions—anything pertinent to the ride without giving too many clues].

Do not put the word scramble clue on the map.

Ride manager notes must be on the map and must be read, word-for-word, to all riders as they start but before they are timed out. Include in the notes whether manure and hay have to be picked up or scattered after the ride. To date, burying either has not been an option.

Be careful to not give any additional clues as to the whereabouts of the markers or their letters, except for number one, to any competitor until all competitors are in.

Leave a blank space under each marker number for competitors to write the letters to prove they have been there and found the marker.

The ride name, ride date, geographic north, magnetic north, declination and a distance scale must be indicated on the map. Explain any symbols used.

Make enough copies of the map so that every competitor will get one. All maps that competitors get must be exact copies. When copying the map, try to have a half-inch border of map beyond each marker. Use a good copier and clear map to make sure ALL lines show up clearly on all copies. It may take several tries on several different copiers to find one that will copy contour lines clearly. Some suggestions: use black and white maps available at Idaho Blueprint in Boise (Forest Service and BLM no longer sell black & white maps); "darken" copier; close the lid and put weight on it while copying maps. Some copy centers have digital copiers that make a very clear copy.

Highlight the marker numbers on the map after copying.

Make a map key to check maps of returning competitors on ride day. Keep it in a safe place.

No competitor shall have access to the map before the day of the ride or before their time starts.



IMO signs with directional arrows are helpful when placed along the roadside to lead competitors to the campsite. Do not fasten them to any part of a Forest Service sign.

REMEMBER: Compass, maps, pencils, map-key, timer (watch or clock with hours, minutes, seconds), clue sheets for marker number one, time board and wipe-off markers, tables, chairs, main course food, plates, napkins table ware, word scramble prize (if you are having one), clip boards, the Ride Manager Box (pick it up at the ride prior to your ride), and the portable toilet (pick it up at the ride prior to your ride, or at Evelyn’s (Portapotty Chairman) house, or make arrangements for someone coming Friday night to bring it. As a last resort, make arrangements for Evelyn to bring it.).

The Ride Manager Box will have all the forms needed—registration, liability release, score sheets, team designation, membership, money tally—plus General Rules, By-laws, Ride Manager Guidelines, start time-worksheets, ride schedules and brochures. If it is low on anything, please let the Secretary know at least one week before your ride.

Register riders, collect ride dues, give out number one marker clues. If it is any rider’s first ride of the season, have them fill out and sign a "Release of all Claims and Indemnity Agreement" form (liability release), and witness it. If it is any rider’s first-ever IMO competitive ride (the training ride is not competitive), be sure their name are on the "First-Ever" list on the registration form as well as on the Rider lines.

Mark the amount paid by each rider on the margin of the Registration Form as you receive it. It is helpful to make a "ü " by the amount if paid by check.

Record information on the Score Sheets as it becomes available. Use a separate score sheet for the short course. Make two copies—one for you and one for the Point Chairpersons. Write the team’s name followed by the riders’ names. Leave a space between entries. Put "G" by the name of any first-ever-competitive-ride guest rider [make sure the guest rider is listed with the person(s) he/she is riding with]. If a steed owned by an annual member is being ridden by a guest day member, note the annual member’s name beside the steed. Print legibly, spell correctly. List ride managers and the names of the steeds they rode while setting up the ride on the score sheet. Some ride managers may not have ridden and won’t have a steed by their name.

Be ready to demonstrate compass use and give individual help. Many experienced IMO members are willing and capable to help newcomers with this—delegate.

Competitors will choose a start time as they register on a first-come-first-choice basis.

Clearly mark a start/finish line or place.

Start riders out at intervals several minutes apart, depending on the number of entries, the terrain, vegetative cover, etc. Usually 15 minutes is necessary to avoid "stacking" at markers.

Read the ride manager’s notes word-for-word to each competitive entrant as they are ready to leave. Remind them that the notes are also on the map. Don’t add or subtract information once the ride has started.

It may be necessary to give a brief map reading course to some short course riders after they get their map.

Give each entrant a map when their time starts, NOT BEFORE.

Record start time to the nearest second, immediately. Call it out to an assistant who can write it down, or have a clipboard in hand—it is easy to forget. Use the same watch/clock for the whole ride. However, have a backup just in case (set to the same hour, minutes and seconds).

As riders return to finish, collect a map from one of the team members, record the time to the nearest second that the last team member finishing the ride comes to the finish area, then check for correct letters of markers and record two points for each marker found.

Figure total time and enter it in hours, minutes, and seconds in the Total Time column on the score sheet. Total time is easier to figure using military time. Example:

Standard Time Military Time

2:30:40 (finish) 14:30:40 (finish) 14:30:40

(borrow 1 hr for mins) 13:90:40

10:40:00 (start) 10:40:00 (start) 10:40:00

Total Time 03:50:40

Subtract the start time from the finish time to obtain total time. If you need to borrow seconds, subtract one minute and add sixty seconds. To borrow minutes, subtract an hour and add sixty minutes.

When all riders are in, complete score sheets—1st place (most markers found in least time): 2 points per marker plus 6 time points; 2nd place (most markers found in second least time): 2 points per marker plus 5 time points; 3rd: 2 points per marker plus 4 time points; 4th: 2 points per marker plus 3 time points; 5th: 2 points per marker plus 2 time points; and, 6th: 2 points per marker plus 1 time point.

Pass out awards and completion certificates. Make a big deal out of it—cheer, clap—it is more fun for everyone. If the Historian isn’t available, take pictures (delegate!). Take pictures throughout the ride for the scrapbook and web site.



Tally receipts with the Treasurer (or other member of the Executive Committee). Give all monies to the Treasurer and the Treasurer will write you a check for $125. The Treasurer will record any new memberships then give the membership forms to the Secretary.

Give a copy of the score sheet and all the registration forms to the Secretary (or other member of the Executive Committee) and, if possible, assist him/her to record the points on Point Record Sheets before leaving the ride.

Give "Release of all claims and Indemnity Agreement" forms to the Secretary (or other member of the Executive Committee) to be held with the paid membership forms.

Close the portable toilet and put it in the Porta Potty Chairman’s rig. If you have a borrowed enclosure, take it down and return it to owner.

Police the area and pick up any trash. If there is time, go out to pick up the flagging and markers. Otherwise, make arrangements with fellow managers to pick up soon. Some riders might be staying another night and would pick them up the next day if you asked them.

As soon as possible, send any pictures you took to the Historian and Web Master. If you used a digital camera, the Historian may be able to download the pictures at the ride.



The excitement builds up more and more throughout all your work and planning. Enjoy it. The day before the ride or the day of the ride, your high spirits may start to slide downhill. However, after a few competitors come and the ride gets underway, the excitement will start building up again.



We all appreciate your planning, hard work, and support.

 [Updated 2/14]


Click here for Ride Manager Guidelines in pdf

*This is designed to be printed as a two-sided booklet using "Manual Duplex" to print the pages (you have to print three pages then reinsert the paper to be printed on the other side).  Or, you can just print the pages, cut them in half, and staple them together in book form.


Last Updated:  March 27, 2014