Use and characteristics of Endurance Horses
A good endurance horse may be a member of any breed, although some breeds have a reputation for excellence in the sport. Both ponies and horses can have successful careers in endurance, though most of those participating in advanced endurance rides are likely to be over 13.2 hands (54 inches/137 cm) high. When starting out, most riders do not need to buy an Endurance Horse with experience in order to participate. It’s possible for just about any rider with any equine to have fun taking part in distance rides of up to 25 miles (40 km) in length. Riders intending to sell an Endurance Horse will often focus on footcare. Horses participating in events must be sound, with exceptionally good feet. If they are shod, they will probably need new shoes more often when training on hard surfaces. Many endurance riders keep their horses unshod and use boots.
Origin and history of breeding Endurance Horses
Endurance riding is a sport which grew naturally from the way horses were used for centuries as animals to be ridden long distances. Before the arrival of railways, travellers had few other options but to ride, travel in a coach or be transported by boat or ship. Until early modern times and the use of the coach, horses were bred to be sound and healthy, with smooth gaits for riding. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, with railways well-established and cars beginning to take the place of horse-drawn transport, there was a major shift in the way humans related to horses. This was the time that equestrian sports and leisure riding emerged. People had always ridden for pleasure as well as for business, military and social purposes of course, but now there were opportunities to compete with their horses too. In England, competitive long-distance riding began in the 1920s, organised by the Arab Horse Society. The first events were for Arabs, Anglo-Arabs and part-bred Arab horses. They were expected to carry 13 stones (182lb/83 kilos) over 300 miles/487 km, divided into daily runs of 60 miles/97 km over five consecutive days. Early endurance races in the USA were arduous events, partly inspired by the feats of endurance of Pony Express riders. By the late twentieth century, two of the most famous endurance rides in the world were the American Tevis Cup and the Australian Quilty Award.
Endurance Horses in equestrianism
Endurance riding is not simply about competing; it’s also about the condition and fitness of the horse, which is regularly checked by vets on rides. The first Quilty, in 1966, was won by an Arab stallion ridden bareback for the whole 100-mile distance. The famous mule Juanita carried her rider over 8,400 km/5,175 miles in an endurance career that lasted nine years.