Endurance horseback riding tracks are designed to do just that; test the endurance and skills of the rider and the horse. It is a race against the clock on harsh terrain where riders and horses are exposed to the elements. Endurance races became an official sport in 1955 when a group of equestrians rode from the Lake Tahoe area across the Sierra Nevada Range to Auburn, in the USA, in less than 24 hours.
Winning an endurance race will need months of training for the horse, and the rider must have years of experience too! However, winning is not the most important thing when it comes to a sport that requires an animal to compete. The Endurance Ride Association of South Africa’s (ERASA) Code of Conduct strictly advocates the welfare of the horse.
Make sure that all other riders participating in races adhere to the following:
Stabling and feeding must be handled with best practice and that clean and good quality hay, feed and water must always be available.
Horses must only undergo training that their physical abilities allow; they must also be trained correctly for intended races. They must never be exposed to abusive methods or methods that can incite fear.
The foot care and shoeing of all competing horses must be of high standard and tack must be designed and fitted to avoid the risk of pain or injury.
Safe, maintained, disinfected transportation with competent drivers. Horses must be fully protected against injuries and other health risks. All journeys must be planned carefully, and horses must be given regular resting periods with access to clean food and water.
You may want to read more on: How to keep your horse calm and collected on the road: 7 essential tips.
- Horses may not be permitted to race if they’re not in perfect health, if a horse is pregnant or recently fowled, had undergone recent surgical procedures.
Any action or intent of doping and the illicit use of medication is strictly prohibited. Owners must be sure to find acceptable and healthy supplements for their horses.