Moonrise & Fireflies Ride
Saturday, September 5, 2020
Bonnie Doon Farm ~ Grottoes, VA
It was a perfect evening for Glenmore Hunt's Inaugural Moonlight Trail Ride at the Beautiful Bonnie Doon Farm.
We had an awesome turnout and the trail was fantastic! Don't miss next year's ride...
FAQ for the Moonrise and Fireflies Ride
What is a “Moonrise and Fireflies Ride”? Some of our riders come from the Endurance Race world, where riding through the night is common using glow sticks to mark the triail. Our club decided to open up a social event to other horse-lovers in the area to enjoy this time of day and year in a low key but fun ride. After months of lockdown it is lovely to get to spend horse time with new and old friends while staying safe. We also are using this event to help raise funds for the care and upkeep of Glenmore’s pack of foxhounds. Our brilliant hounds give us such joy. All the profits from this event will help in their excellent care.
How long is the ride? The course is roughly 5 miles. At a leisurely pace it will be about 1:45-2 hours. Even with last minute changes duration is 1:30 time or more.
What is Bonnie Doon? Bonnie Doon is a farm in Augusta County on the Middle River and a fixture for Glenmore Hunt Club. The O’Donnell family has farmed here for generations currently on about 350 acres. It was the site of a Civil War battle, the Battle of Bonnie Doon. A historical retelling of the battle can be seen here.
How technical is the ride? Footing? Elevations? Does my horse need shoes?
Being riverside, most of Bonnie Doon Farm is flat or gentle hills. The course will take you across one small gravel area, otherwise the ride is on pasture, dirt trail, and some short woods trails. While there are some fieldstones, horses should be fine barefoot. BDF will have at least one large pasture with cattle. Our thoughtful landowners have made every gate reasonably easy to open and close from horseback. If you prefer to dismount, every gate has a mounting option nearby, such as a stump, coop, or cinder blocks. Our goal is to not have any gates needing to be handled by riders, but since it is a working farm, some gate-getting may be needed. If at any point riders want to “head in” to the rigs please make sure you leave every gate as you find it whether opened or closed.
Is this a guided ride? Can I ride by myself? The trails will be well marked so you can set out in your own groups, but many Glenmore members will be there and you are free to ride with folks who know the area well. If you are solo, we’d prefer you hook up with a group that is leaving at the same time you are. It's best to ride within view of another group. If you’d like us to help you find a group please inquire at check-in or send us a message before the ride.
Will we be riding in the dark? Yes and/or no. Gates open at 6. Trail riding starts at 7 so if you would prefer to ride with more light go early. If you want to end your ride in the dark start later. The optimal start time is from 7:20 to 7:45 to have a great sunset ride ending in the dark closer to moonrise.
If we ride in our own group will we get lost? How will it work if it gets really dark?
As long as you don't cross the river or don't cross a paved road you will not be leaving the area. The course mostly follows the perimeter of fields and along treelines, but it will be clear where some shortcuts can be made. It is suggested you keep our cell number handy (find at check in). Groups will get a course map at check in.
Do we need any special equipment? Nothing unusual is required. Most cellphones have a flashlight now and its recommended riders carry one. Headlamp lights, or battery lanterns ($5 at Walmart) are handy to have at your rig for the end of the ride. But try to minimize using artificial lights on the ride since both your horse's eyes and your own eyes will be adapted to the decreasing light. When you turn on flashlights it is harder to see after you turn them off. Please no gas or flame lanterns. Wearing a light colored shirt will make you easier to spot in the darkest part of the ride.
Can we tailgate? Yes, we encourage you to relax before your ride or even after. We ask that you coordinate your own food with your own group and do not mingle with other groups and maintain social distancing within your circle. Please clean up and remove all trash. No fires or open flame, no dogs, and no alcohol at this event, please.
I ride Western. is that okay? All disciplines are welcomed. This is a leisurely paced trail ride and is appropriate for all ages, levels, and disciplines. Be sure and check out our Western Hunts during our hunt season. They are posted on our Facebook page under events throughout the season.
I have been to Bonnie Doon before, can I do the jumps and go into the river?
Some of the deadfall logs are available for jumping as you pass. Please be mindful of the darkness and other riders if you choose to jump. The Beach will be available for horses to walk into the river. The earth near the water is rather soft but the river bed is firm.
Do I have to wear a mask when I ride? No. However, we ask that you wear masks at check-in and when you are going to be less than 6ft away from others.
My friend wants to come but he/she doesn’t ride. Can they walk the trail?
Yes, walking the trail is ok as well. Walkers need to make sure they stay out of the way of horses as they will have the right of way. Please use the same registration and indicate you are a non-rider. Fee is the same.
Is there a ride T-shirt? Yes, we have a shirt to commemorate our first moonrise ride. $20 per shirt or 2 for $30. We will also have other Glenmore Hunt merchandise and take cash, check and cc on site. Items will be at check-in area. Glow Sticks may be available for purchase at check-in as supplies last.