Endurance riding or racing is a popular equestrian sport which involves traveling long distances. High-level races can be up to 100 miles or even longer and take between 10 to 12 hours. Endurance horse racing is very much a family sport and people of all ages participate in the adventure.
All types of horse breeds take part in endurance races. Arabian horses are usually preferred because of their natural endurance and stamina. Endurance riding takes place the world over and is always increasing in popularity. Horses from 5 to 20 years of age compete in this fun sport which is both enjoyed by riders and steeds alike. Throughout the race the horses are checked by a veterinarian to ensure that they are not dehydrated, limping and so forth. Their pulse rate is also tested to pick up any problems. Riders can only continue the race after the horse has passed stringent requirements during the examination. The heart rate must be under 64 bpm and then it can continue. Endurance racing is much like a marathon, often with multi-day rides. In order to win, you must complete the endurance race in the fastest time.
It is vital that both horse and rider are fit enough to compete. Preparation and training are vital. Riders of endurance horses also need to have a good knowledge and understanding of pace so that they can ride at different speeds to ensure their horse can cope. It is also important the riders can mark any changes in their horses condition.
Endurance racing had its beginnings in California. The first race ever, was the start of the renowned Tevis Cup which runs along the Pony Express Route in the Sierra Nevada. Since its beginning in 1955, endurance racing has flourished with now more than 700 races conducted in the North American continent. World Endurance Championships are held under direction of the FEI every second year. The FEI sets down rules and regulations for endurance riding, keeping the horses' welfare as top priority. If you own a horse, why not look into the exciting sport of endurance racing. It is very rewarding and a wonderful opportunity to bond with your loyal steed.