Mounted orienteering is the practice of orienteering while riding a horse or other riding animal.
Mounted orienteering was an important function of cavalry units and today remains an important skill for mounted search and rescue.
Competitive mounted orienteering (CMO) has several sport governing bodies. These include the (United States) National Association of Competitive Mounted Orienteering (NACMO) and (European) Techniques de Randonnée Équestre de Compétition (TREC). Although these associations' competition rules vary significantly, all require horsemanship and the ability to read a map and use a compass. Apart from the need to navigate using a map and compass, there is little in common between mounted orienteering and orienteering as defined by the International Orienteering Federation. Important differences concern the map, course, route choice, and control points. Both sports use available maps, usually but not necessarily topographic maps. These maps generally are not appropriate for teaching beginning competitors to use the more advanced skills of field navigation. Hence, the required navigational skills are kept simple.
American (NACMO) mounted orienteering competitions resemble rogaining in that courses are long and competitors choose the order in which to seek control points, and resemble treasure hunting or fox Oring in that once in the vicinity of a control point the task is to search for (rather than navigate to) a landmark and from there follow a compass heading to the control point. The landmark is described on a clue sheet, and often is not a feature on the map. E.g., the landmark is a tree of a noted species and size, perhaps marked in some way for the competition. There will be several landmarks in the vicinity of the control point, usually on trails. The intent is to permit competitors who find more than one landmark to use them to triangulate the location of the control point on their map, then ride by the most efficient route directly to the control point.
European (TREC) mounted orienteering competitions resemble competitive trail riding and pace racing in that the task is to follow exactly a prescribed route in a prescribed time, riding in a prescribed gait at a prescribed speed. The route is marked on the map but, in contrast to competitive trail riding, neither routes nor control points are marked in the terrain and the course may include cross-country segments. There is no route choice whatsoever.
Sanctioning bodies in Europe
- French Wikipedia:
Sanctioning bodies in North America