Endurance riding is too strenuous horse riding where a horse and rider complete at least 160 km or 100miles of distance in a day. The winner rider and horse complete the distance in 10-12 hours, and both horses and rider remain healthy. Any breeds of horse can compete in the race, and the Arabian horse is most dominant in the racing.
The riding trail is consisting of hilly terrain, plain lands, water bodies, and dessert. There is a compulsory halt within the trail for health check-ups by veterinarians. The horse must be passed the health check-up to continue the race. The winner is determined by both time and physical fitness of the horse. Endurance riding was first introduced at Asian Games in 2006 in Qatar.
Necessary Information on Endurance Riding
Endurance riding is one of the horse racing competitions recognized by FEI. The horses and rider complete a long distance up to 160 km in a day. This equestrian sport is popular in many countries, and may participants take part just for completing the distance, not for winning. In my article, I shall discuss the most interesting facts and questions that will come to your mind.
1. History of Endurance Horse Riding
The necessity of horses was for passing long-distance since domestication. Endurance riding was started as a competition or equestrian sport in the United States of America. The basic was taken from European Cavallery and breeding program test to carry 300 pounds of weight in a day over 100 miles. The organized Endurance riding competition was stated in 1955 in the Sierra Nevada. The trail was scorching and difficult. Later the competition was named as Tevis Cup. Endurance Riding started in Europe in 1960.
2. Prerequisites of Endurance Riding
The competition is long-distance running and requires the whole day. There are few prerequisites for the riding:
- The horse must be physically fit.
- The rider must be physically and mentally fit for the riding.
- As a rider, you must know the condition of the trail.
- The horse tack should be proper for the riding.
- You must go for a compulsory halt and veterinary inspection.
3. Preparation of the Rider
As a rider, you must be physically and mentally fort for the competition. You must take the necessary preparation. You must finish a few short-distance riding before going for the long-distance riding.
4. Veterinary Inspection
Before the start of the endurance ride, the horse must be inspected by the vet to ensure the horse’s fitness. The riding trail has individual compulsory halts for veterinary check-ups. This is a base camp, and you must be fed and watered your horse.
5. Endurance Riding Organizations
American Endurance Riding Conference (AERC) is the most known endurance riding organization. The AERC determines the distance, rules, and winners of the competition. Their motto is, “To finish is to win.” The AERC was founded in 1972. The winner is determined by the first man who completes the race.
6. Structure of the Ride
The actual endurance ride trail is 160 km or 100 miles long. The total distance is divided into sections with different names like legs, loops, or phases. At the end of each section, there are halts for veterinary inspection. Often the halt is called “vet gate.” The horses are checked for dehydration, soundness, pulse, and respiration.
7. What is the Best Horse for Endurance Riding?
The Arabian horse is the best horse for endurance ridings. The horse has excessive stamina, can control their respiration, pulse, and reduce less water from the body. The other horse breeds are American Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred, Akhal-Teke, and Criollo. The half Arabian crossbreed is also used for riding long distances.
8. What do you wear for Endurance Riding?
As an endurance rider, you must wear a comfortable dress. The comfortable dress includes riding breeches, riding helmet, riding tights, comfortable footwear, and a light shirt with a collar. You must select a light and comfortable saddle for your horse. The English saddles and Western saddles are popular in long-distance riding.
9. How Do You Start Endurance Riding?
Before long-distance (100 miles) riding, you must finish a few short-distance trails (25 miles). Initially, you can go slowly, like 5 miles per hour. Then increase in the seed of the horse based on the trail. As a rider, you must have a clear idea about the trail. You can keep a map or GPS with you to go as per the trail.
10. Horse Welfare and Abuses Issues
At present many horse welfare organizations increase their concern about the welfare issues of horses. The common injuries during endurance riding are fractures, use of drugs, and overall horse abuses. Multiple horse welfare organizations of Belgium, France, and Switzerland issues complain over the FEI horse abuse and mishandling.
The Final Talk
Endurance riding is one of the most popular equestrian sports for many horse lovers. The riding requires excessive stamina, mental endurance, determination, and a strong will to complete it. The riding will give you pleasure, fun and enhance your controlling power on your horse. In short, it is one of the horse sports that you can participate in with less skill and more mental stamina.