On the track
Must be done
- see that all party members are present, or accounted for, before moving off
- make frequent checks (counts) to see that no member is left behind at any stage especially after stops or in difficult conditions—this is absolutely vital!
- be constantly alert for any physical or psychological problems within the party
- ask reliable party members to assist in this task
- keep a watch on the weather—if bad weather seems imminent, take action to minimise its effects
- constantly monitor your position and the route being followed—whether you or a deputy is actually leading
- check the progress of all group members and coach where appropriate
- respect the rights and the property of others.
Should be done
- brief all starters on your plans, alternatives, safety procedures, emergency signalling, etc.
- make introductions if necessary
- demonstrate your interest in the welfare of every member of your party
- encourage weak or inexperienced members
- appoint a whip and, if desired, a person to actually lead (normally for a stated time or distance)
- set limits on any racehorses—tell them clearly how far ahead they may go (if conditions permit this)
- control the pace of the group—keep it slow at first, then settle on the speed of the slowest member
- have regular rest periods—usually about 10 minutes in every hour
- budget the group’s time and energy so that planned targets can be achieved
- know how to handle problem people and people problems—the racer, the laggard, the aggressor, the bumbler, the sickie or the moaner
- keep the party together as far as practicable—keep slow members well up in the line, not always dragging at the rear
- if faced with difficulties, discuss the situation with other experienced members.
Might be done
- point out features of interest along the way and stimulate discussion about the area or its features
- demonstrate your map position, progress and planned route whenever appropriate
- advise on water availability and suggest regular consumption during the day.