Endurance riding is one of the fastest growing equine sports. Endurance appeals to both competitive equestrians and people who enjoy the outdoors and riding trails in new areas. The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) was founded in 1972 as the North American educational, sanctioning and recording-keeping body for endurance riders and their horses. The Federation Equestre Inernationale (FEI) is the international sanctioning body, with the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) as the liaison with FEI. An endurance ride can best be described as a cross-country competition of 50, 75 or 100 miles. The competition is controlled by equine veterinarians who monitor the horses before, during and after the event. During the competition there are several “holds” (rest periods), at the beginning of each hold the horse is assessed by a veterinarian and must pass a physical evaluation to continue.
Pulse recovery is one very important factor used to determine the condition of the horses. The ride veterinarians will set and announce the pulse criterion and other criteria before the start of the ride. The horses are also monitored for lameness and appropriate physiology. DRUGS OF ANY KIND ARE PROHIBITED. Veterinarians will remove horses from competition if they find they are not in optimum condition to continue. The first horse to cross the finish line, that has met the completion criteria, is considered the over-all winner.
The course for an endurance ride varies with topography of the area. Some are on flat or gentle rolling land; others mountainous with steep ascents or descents. Footing can vary from the shoulder of a paved road to grass, sand, gravel, dirt, slab rock or old woods trails.
When laying out the course, the ride manager attempts to avoid obvious hazards such as deep bogs and sheer cliffs, but the endurance horse is expected to take in stride most natural obstacles.Temperature, climate, footing and terrain will determine the speed at which the horses will travel. A tough hilly trail is actually less destructive than a flat open road that encourages too fast a pace.
Increasingly popular have been the multi-day rides, which are often held on historic trails. These rides are usually 50 to 60 miles a day in length and may be conducted over a period of four to six days. These are often point to point with ride camp moving each night. A rider may enter and complete each day as if it were a separate event. It is a personal challenge to ride your mount for 50, 75 or 100 miles and to finish with a sound, willing horse. Hence the AERC motto: “TO FINISH IS TO WIN”
If you would like to endurance ride on your horse and just can’t seem to find the time to train, we can do that for you. Weekly or monthly sessions are available. Challenging sandy trails, heat and humidity will train’em up. Call for rates to lease a horse from us for competition or we can haul your horse to endurance competitions. Tag-along with your own rig for $75.00
All about Endurance – www.endurance.net
American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) – www.aerc.org
United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) – www.usef.org
Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) – www.fei.org
International competitor Darolyn Butler, Gold Medalist and Four Time National Champion Endurance Rider, may be contracted for group or private clinics and lessons on endurance riding. All levels, from the absolute novice to an experienced rider, who would like to get that winning edge. Prices vary with number of days and attendees.
Clinics: Riders will cover from 15-25 Miles of woods riding. Please arrive early enough to saddle, adjust your tack, and be ready to ride at the scheduled time. Come prepared as if to ride in a real competition with all of your competition equipment. Don’t panic if you don’t have or know what you should have – that’’s what this is all about – learning what equipment you and your horse need, how to pace, and condition yourself and your horse.
ENDURANCE CLINIC FEES:
One day clinic using your own horse $150
One day clinic using our horse $220
Two day clinic using your own horse $250
Two day clinic using our horse $430
Overnight stall/paddock (your feed) $15/night
Overnight stall/paddock (our feed) $20/night