Equestrian Endurance Riding

Equestrian Endurance Riding

Endurance racing is a popular equestrian sport world wide, with two main types of races being popular. The first is competitive trail riding and the second is the popular endurance rides, endurance rides are usually won by the first horse that crosses the finish line and that passes the veterinary checks along throughout the race.

These races are open to any type of horse breed, but the ever popular Arabian usually dominates this field due to their stamina and strength.

The Races

Endurance races are usually held over a trail that can be from 50 to 100 miles, over different types of terrain. These events are also usually held over one to three days, with veterinarians and judges checking the horse throughout the race to ensure health and safety.

While the winner of an endurance race is the first one across the finish line, with all the vet checks in place, most endurance riders do not compete to place first, they compete to finish the race with a healthy horse and to improve their times.

The focus in endurance racing is not just to win, but also to ensure you finish with a healthy horse, as it would be very easy to wear a horse out.

If you enjoy horse racing at a track event, you will enjoy this type of horse riding event as well, though it is more a camping and community event – there is always a chance to get some horse racing betting in.

Race requirements

No one breed is the best for endurance racing, but horse like heavily muscled draft breeds (and miniature horses) are not suitable for this type of race. Arabians as mentioned are the most suited to endurance racing, but they are not going to guarantee you a win.

The saddle – being seated well for an endurance race cannot be emphasized enough. When you first begin you could use any saddle that suits both you and the horse, but if you wish to continue in this sport it would be worth the investment in a specialized endurance saddle – to ensure comfort during these long endurance rides.

You should have an extra saddle blanket and girth in case you get them wet or dirty.

Though there are no regulations about what bit or bridle that should be used, it could be worth getting an endurance bridle so your horse can eat and drink easily while on the trail.

Food – not just your own sandwich, your horse needs the right amount of food and nutrients to make it healthily through the race. Feeding horses we beet pulp is popular and it gives horses extra energy for the race, but the usual feed should be given to your horse (hay, grain and supplements).

What to expect from the race

An endurance race is physically grueling, so you and your horse need to be in great physical condition before attempting this kind of race.  You should consider trying a competitive trail ride first to see how you and your horse handle different terrains.

And like we said before – do not expect to win your first endurance race (or even your tenth) as most riders who participate would consider finishing the race a solid win.

About Doreen Cohen