Photography by Peter Orr
Endurance Riding

An Introduction

Endurance Riding is one of the newest and perhaps the fastest growing branch of equestrianism. Although organised endurance rides were held in the US as early as the mid- 1800s, the modern sport of endurance riding really began in the in 1955 when the Tevis Cup, a one day 100 mile ride from Squaw Valley, Nevada to Auburn California, was first run. Other rides followed and the first national endurance riding association, the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) was founded in 1972.

Photography by Peter Orr
Endurance Riding is a sport for everyone, with rides to suit every ability and age, from 10 mile pleasure ride right up to endurance rides of 100 miles in a day, and longer over several days.

Although endurance rides are often hotly contested, at every level of endurance the welfare of the horse is paramount, with the strictest veterinary checks of all horse sports, and awards for best condition often being regarding as important as wining. For many people the unofficial motto of the sport 'To finish is to win' sums up the satisfaction they feel bringing their horse home sound and healthy

The Endurance Horse

Most people starting out in endurance do so on their current horse, and it is true to say that any healthy horse can compete at the lower levels of endurance. Arabs are often thought of as the ideal endurance horse, but at any endurance ride you will see representatives of many horse and pony breeds competing successfully.
Photography by Peter Orr

In general a good endurance horse will have a balanced conformation, a relatively light build, a strong back and excellent feet. Most importantly the horse's temperament must suit the rider - 100 miles is a long way if you can't work as a team!

'Classic' Endurance Rides

Tevis Cup (USA)
Quilty (Australia)
Summer Solstice (UK)
Golden Horseshoe (UK)

This article is kindly provided by the Endurance Horse and Pony Society.
To learn more about this sport please click here to visit their website

All photographs are kindly provided by Peter Orr, specialist endurance photographer.
Please click here for further examples of Peter's work.

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Updated: October 2005.