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Endurance riding is a very enjoyable equine sport. “Endurance Rides are races over a trail of 50 to 150 miles.” The terrain can be anything from fields, roads or steep mountains. The goal is to be the first one across the finish line and to do that, you need to maintain a fairly fast pace of about 10 mph.
“Endurance riding was first developed in the early 1900s as a military test for cavalry mounts. Horses were required to go on a 5-day, 300 mile (483 km) ride carrying at least 200 lbs. The cavalry test became a civilian sport in the early 1950s.” It is required that horses entering in endurance rides must pass a vet check before starting. Vet checks are mandatory throughout the entire race to insure that the horse is able to continue. You can choose whatever gait you wish to ride at. You can even dismount and walk or run beside your horse, just as long as you do not exceed the time limit allowed, which is usually 12 to 24 hours.
Almost any horse can do endurance. What you want to look for in an endurance mount is that he is eager, calm, has large lungs, is very strong, has good, ground covering strides and is not too big. A large horse (over 16 hands) has too much body weight to carry over long distances. The most popular horses for endurance riding are Arabians, mustangs, Morgans and mules.
Although western tack can be used for endurance riding, English tack is more popular because the saddles are much lighter than western saddles. Some riders use bittless bridles for endurance riding, but the majority use endurance bridles. Endurance bridles are a combination between a halter and a bridle. These special bridles have the bit attached by removable buckles, so you can take the bit out and turn it into a halter. Endurance bridles are commonly made out of colorful nylon.
Endurance riding is the perfect sport for any equestrian outdoor enthusiasts. May your Endurance rides be pleasurable, the scenery beautiful, and may you always have fun.
Here is a video showing an endurance ride.