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National Association of Competitive Mounted Orienteering
Welcome to Competitive Mounted Orienteering

A typical CMO objective stationCompetitive Mounted Orienteering (CMO) is one of the most challenging and exciting equestrian sports - for the competitive as well as casual horse rider!

Riders compete either as a team or an individual. Competitors draw for a randomly assigned starting time, with riders leaving every five or ten minute intervals.

A sample map areaEach competitor is given a map at the starting line with the area's roads and trails clearly marked. Scattered throughout the ride area are ten numbered circles marked on the map - these are the locations of the Objective Stations, the treasure in this mounted treasure hunt! An Objective Station is a 9" paper plate with two highlighted letters, the ride date and a station number written on it - hidden somewhere within the circle.

On the back of the map after each station number are compass bearings taken TO or FROM identifiable landmark clues. The circle on the map indicates the approximate area on the map where the objective station and the supporting clues are located. Correctly reading a map and taking accurate compass readings are important skills to master in this fast paced sport.

The object of the sport is to ride out and find as many of the Objective Stations as you can and get back in the least amount of time, on either a long ten station or short five station course.


Sample Objective Station Clues
4.______180 Degrees FROM a 15 foot fir tree with red ribbon

32 Degrees FROM a red "X" on a log

116 Degrees TO the center of a bridge
These are the kinds of clues that are found on the back of your ride map. Take a compass bearing from the clue, and sight a line into the surrounding area. Where the three clues intersect you should find the objective station. Write down the highlighted letters in the blank, and you are off to the next circle!

That is, if you have the right clues, if you made an accurate compass sighting, and if you read the clues correctly while managing your horse.

Note clue #3 - a "TO" clue. That is a sighting from the objective station TO the clue, or exactly backwards from a FROM clue; ride magaers can be wicked!

Success is not a matter of speed. A competitor moving too fast through a station area can easily miss a clue, and lose valuable time in the process of retracing their route. Good horsemanship, attention to detail, and following a plan are often the keys to success in CMO. Luck can plan an important part, too!

Before each ride a free clinic is available to new riders. In the assembly area, the ride manager sets up a sample objective station with three clues. Experienced riders know to check these sample clues to make sure their compass is reading the same as the ride manager's. New riders are given instructions on how to use a compass, and get a feel for what they will find out on the trail.

As a matter of courtesy, the ride manager will pair up new riders with an experienced CMO'er so that all riders can learn the skills necessary to have an enjoyable ride.

Riders can ride at any pace that suits their experience level and preference. Competitive riders will find plenty of stiff competition to test their riding and map skills, while families and riders wishing to have a more leisurely pace can enjoy a more relaxed competition.

The ten-plate long course is well suited to the faster riders. The 5-plate short course is the perfect place for families, younger riders, horses in training, and those out for a more leisurely ride.

Ribbons are awarded usually for six places on the long course and three for the short. Riders compete for points in each ride, and points accumulate throughout the year for year end awards, lifetime accumulation points, horse lifetime points, and special annual awards. On weekend rides, a potluck usually follows the Saturday ride, and ride managers often have other fun events planned as well.

Mounted Orienteering is the perfect family sport, and we hope you will contact the club in your area and give it a try. Your horse will love you for it!



© 2023 National Association of Competitive Mounted Orienteering