ENDURANCE RIDING - Tips on getting started and having a go!


Ever fancied trying Endurance Riding, then read on and find out what to expect. What better way to get and stay fit, enjoy the countryside, create a bond with your horse and build a trusting partnership. His job is to carry you across all terrains, yours is to guide him and complete the competition.  Many hours will be spent in the saddle riding over and through a variety of terrain and weather conditions; from hills to beaches, in wind, rain, sun or fog.  CAUTION! You and your horse will need to be fit. 

You will need to hone your map reading skills; don't rely on the person in front, you can't guarantee they know where they are going!  Once you know your route identify where you can push on or need to ease up.  Once you progress to the more advanced rides you need to decide where your backup crew should be waiting to meet you.


There are different levels of difficulty, starting from 20 miles (32 kms) up to the 100 miles (160 kms), and the highest level (Senior Championship distance). 


otherwise known as training or social rides.  Non members are able to enter and take part, riding over a distance of up to 40km.  Horses are trotted up for the vet 30 minutes before the start and within 30 minutes of finishing.  If the competition is run in conjunction with competitive rides you will be required to travel between 8 and 12 km per hour. 

COMPETITIVE RIDERS  (CR's) ride between 30 and 80 kms, riding at speeds of between 8 and 18 kms per hour.  Restrictions are in place on higher speeds for the novice horses and lower speeds for the more advanced combinations.  For rides 55kms and above there will be a vet inspection half way through the ride. 
                                                 Endurance Riding                                  
ENDURANCE RIDERS (ER's) are for advanced horse and rider combinations and are the hardest test for both, covering between 80 and 160 kms, which may run over several days.  Riders start out on mass with speed being the aim, but never losing sight of the horse's welfare and terrain.  Horses are checked for fitness to continue at set intervals throughout the ride.  There are also 'Holds' where horse and rider take a break and grab something to eat.  Success is measured by safely completing the competition.
Tip:  Find yourself a buddy who can show you the ropes and help you get started with confidence.


> Aim to arrive at least 45 minutes before the vet inspection time. Check the board where you will find all the information
  you need, including any changes to routes, markings etc.  Go to the Secretary and collect your bib/number.
> Find the farrier and vet inspection area
> Your hat standard will be checked when you collect your number or at the start
> Report for the vet inspection five minutes before your allotted time.  Your horse should be wearing either a headcollar or bridle
  (whichever you choose,your horse must be under control)! Your horse should be free from all other tack
> Do not oil your horse's hooves
> Unless it is cold, you will be required to remove your horse's rug for the inspection
> You will be asked to stand your horse square so the vet can take his pulse
> The vet will also check for any lumps or bumps
> You will then trot your horse up so the vet can check his action.
Tip:  to help make proceedings run smoothly, practise trotting your horse up in hand at home
> Finally, the vet will write up any comments on the Vet Record Card. You are now all set to saddle up and make your way to the start
  at your allotted time  
Don't forget to report to the Starter!


> A first aid kit
> Your map
> Written instructions
> The emergency telephone number for the venue

Organisers take every care to ensure the route is clearly marked. Unfortunately, there will be instances when the markers have been vandalised. DON'T FORGET! Along the route you will pass through checkpoints.  It is essential the Steward makes a note of your number.  It is your responsibility, not the Stewards', to ensure this happens. If you fail to find the marker, or you are not sure at any time, STOP, check the map together with the written instructions.  If in any doubt, go back to the previous marker and check again. Please be courteous to walkers and cyclists.   GIVE WAY TO WALKERS.


That's it; you've made it - well done!  The first thing you must do as you pass through the finish is report into the time keeper.  Within 30 minutes you must present your horse for the final vet inspection.  Should your horse be unfortunate enough to fail the vet, or has been eliminated or withdrawn on the course, you must seek permission from the vet to travel your horse home. You may NOT ride your horse from the venue if it has failed the vet at preliminary or any other vetting. Don't forget to return your number and collect your award!
For more riding tips and advice click here