You are probably thinking, What's an endurance ride? Well, an endurance ride requires teamwork between horse and rider. This team of equine and equestrian ride over terrain ranging from 50 to 300 miles, each in different time frames, depending on the distance of the ride. The winner is the first one to finish the ride with the prescribed horse. Horses who finish in poor health will be disqualified, regardless of place. Remember, an endurance ride is meant to build confidence, create character and improve stamina. After all, the endurance rider's motto is: TO FINISH IS TO WIN!
Junior rides are for riders under 16 years of age. Junior riders must ride with an adult and wear a hard hat or a helmet.
Limited distance rides range from 25 to 35 miles. It is an extremely good ride to go on before trying a full endurance ride. Many junior riders do only these rides, as they are excellent preparation for an endurance ride.
A little about gaits.....
Horses have been being used for a long time. They are useful for fun, work, or competition. In endurance riding, you might want to know a little about the gaits, or step patterns of a horse.
The walk is the slowest gait. It has four beats. It is a rather bumpy gait in which you may feel like you are rocking diagonally back and forth.
The trot is the second slowest gait. It is quick and jolting. This gait can be rather uncomfortable if you don't post, or stand up and sit down in time to the one-two pattern of the gait.
The canter is a fast gait, but is extremely smooth and soothing. It has three beats, and it feels like you are on a rocking horse, regardless of the speed.
The gallop is the fastest gait of all, but not nearly as smooth as the canter. It can be a little scary at first, but it is fun once you get the hang of it.
The Horse for an endurance ride
Although rides are open to any breed of horse, some breeds are more beneficial than others. Arabians are EXTREMELY good for endurance rides, due to the fact that they once trekked across the deserts of Arabia. However, most horses can be trained to succeed at this sport. These horses must be extremely fit and must have a lot of exercise each and every day.
An Endurance Ride from Start to Finish
Before you start.......
You should prepare your horse very early in the year before an endurance ride. Start with three rides per week, preferably slow ones, increasing in length and speed over time. Keep exercising until the day of the ride!
About an hour or so before the ride, tack up your horse. For half an hour, you should warm up your horse. Start walking then increase to a trot. If it is cold, go even more slowly.
At the start, if your horse is hyper or high-strung, you should hold him or her back until the other riders leave the finish line. NEVER go with the flow of others if the pace or timing is not up to your ability. This can be dangerous! Also, at any time your horse is going as slowly as you can walk, WALK ALONG SIDE YOUR HORSE! You will just end up putting more weight upon your horse which will tire him out.
Vet checks will happen frequently throughout the ride. Qualified veterinarians and farriers will make sure that your horse is in good shape to continue the ride. They will do the following:
1. Check for lumps/cuts/bruises on the horse's body
2. Check respiration
3. Check pulse
4. Restore any lost shoes or pads
If you have ANY questions about your horse, the trail, his/her conditions, any problems or ANYTHING, make sure you ask your vet or farrier at the check. Vet checks are also a good part of the ride to give your horse water and praise for a good job so far.
Manners on the Trail
Manners are very important during an endurance ride. Some of these rules may be for safety benefits or just plain, old-fashioned manners! Here are a couple of these rules:
1. When stopping to have a drink, do not ride on until all of the other horses are finished. If you do this, the other horses will want to follow, causing dehydration.
2. Never refuse to let a person pass you! This is one of the most impolite things you can do on the trail!
3. When passing someone, say,"Passing on the left/right!" to let them know that you want to pass them.
4. While riding with more experienced riders may be a good experience, it may also pose a threat if you cannot make choices for yourself. Never do something that is not up to your ability! Remember to make wise choices about what you do on your ride and you will have fun!
1. If you really want to be polite.......
a. don't let anyone pass you
b. let everyone pass you
c. only let people you know pass you
d. let people pass you when they feel like it
2. Limited distance rides range from......
a. 10 to 15 miles
b. 40 to 50 miles
c. 25 to 35 miles
d. 10 to 70 miles
3. To prepare your horse for an endurance ride....
a. start training early in the year
b. start training a few weeks early
c. start training the day before the ride so you don't tire your horse out
d. start training a month early
4. Arabians are......
a. a good breed for a limited distance ride
b. a poor breed for an endurance ride
c. a fair breed for an endurance ride
d. a good breed for an endurance ride
5. If a horse finishes first in poor condition it will....
a. remain in 1st place
b. be disqualified
c. be put down to second and second will become first
d. be put to sleep
6. If it is cold.....
a. warm up at a gallop
b. warm up at a walk or trot
c. warm up at a canter
d. don't warm up at all
7. Endurance rides range from....
a. 50 to 300 miles
b. 1000 to 2000 miles
c. 600 to 1000 miles
d. 700 to 900 miles
8. Vet checks...
a. will not happen during the ride
b. will only happen if you need them to
c. might happen during the ride
d. will happen in the ride
9. If your horse is thirsty....
a. push her and don't let her drink
b. let her drink
c. force her to drink more than recommended
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