Of all of the sports in the world, there is one that is quickly gaining in popularity with people all around the globe. Riding horses has always been popular and equestrian sports take many forms from jumping to barrel racing. Just as more and more people are participating in distance running, there are more people who are becoming interested in and participating in endurance riding. This sport includes controlled races that are long-distance and take place in all kinds of outdoor locations and conditions.

The Ride

Before you can take your horse on a race, you will have to have him or her checked by a trained and professional veterinarian and judges to ensure that he or she is in good physical condition and will not suffer any health problems while on the gruelling race. With some races averaging between 75 and 200 kilometres, it’s easy to see why a check-up is so important. In addition to a pre-race check-up, the horse will be checked during and after the ride as well to make sure that he or she is not suffering from any physical problems.

While there are some people who compete in endurance horse riding simply to finish and enjoy the race itself, people who are more competitive will ride to win. To do so, competitors will have to average over 15 kilometres an hour. The horse has to be in a good enough condition to be able to travel at this pace for an extended period of time and riders have to be careful not to push their animal to a point where he or she will no longer be healthy or may become injured. There is always the risk of injury and even death to a horse in these races but with correct respect and care of the animal, they are relatively rare.

The Necessities

Most any breed of horse can easily compete in these kinds of races, although some breeds such as Arabians tend to be better suited than others. A rider will need a great saddle that is comfortable for both him or her and the horse as well as all of the extra gear that goes along with it, including a blanket, girth, and saddle pad. In case of extreme heat, it’s a good idea to have coolers and rainy or wet weather will call for blankets or rain sheets. All food and supplements have to be brought on the trail as well as water for both the horse and rider.

Endurance races are an amazing test of endurance, willpower, and skill on the part of both the rider and human. For many horse enthusiasts, this is an exciting competition that will bring human and animal closer together. It’s important to train before these competitions and make sure that the horse is in great condition before attempting this physical feat.