Endurance is a genuine test of horsemanship which began as a necessity
rather than a sport. Horseback riding was the main form of transportation
for centuries and reliable horses that could travel long distances while
remaining healthy and fit were much sought after.
The modern day Endurance Discipline is an athletic endeavor in which a
horse/rider combination must complete a prescribed course in the fastest
time possible, while meeting strict veterinary criteria. Distances of 50,
75 or 100 miles are covered in a single day. The courses are usually
cross-country, with natural obstacles, such as creeks, ditches, and forests.
Condition of the horse is paramount. The horses are examined by veterinarians
familiar with the demands of Endurance competition before, at intervals
during and after the competition. A Fit horse that is able to demonstrate
recovery quickly saves time at the veterinary inspections and has a distinct
Since the first World Championship in 1986, USA Endurance has won 7
Individual and 2 Team Gold Medals. Hundreds of Endurance competitions
take place every year across America. Many offer a 25 mile competition
as a stepping stone for those who are not quite ready for the 50 mile
challenge. These competitions are sanctioned by the American Endurance
Ride Conference (www.aerc.org).