Getting Started - What is Endurance?

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What is Endurance?

Two riders ready to start at the Bluebell PREndurance riding or long distance riding has been a sport for about 40 years.  It’s an opportunity to ride in different parts of the country and creates a great partnership with your horse.  It’s suitable for any type horse.  You don’t need an Arab to compete in Endurance; in fact the EGB Champions for 2007 and 2008 were a Connemara and a Warm-blood.  It can be enjoyed by riders of all ages from 8 upwards (an adult is needed for company until you are 13). 

Courses at all levels are clearly marked and a map is also provided.  Routes include bridleways, private land, forestry tracks and roads, often including permissive tracks only for the day of the ride.  This is a chance to see some wonderful countryside and enjoy riding your horse in a different place.

Dad relaxing back at the venueIt’s a very friendly sport with everyone willing to give help and advice.  Family and friends can also come along and help ‘crew’ the horse.  You don’t have to have a crew on the shorter distance rides, but you’ll find it especially helpful once you move onto the longer distance rides.  They can help you with the horse at the venue and can meet you out on course with water for the horse.  You’ll find you make lots of friends amongst other riders and crews you meet at different rides.  Often the crews get to know more people than the riders! 

Endurance GB (EGB), the “official” organisation for endurance riding in England and Wales, runs a progressive scheme of rides of various types and distance for all levels of experience.  These start at short distance fun and  pleasure rides, through longer distance graded endurance rides, up to competitive endurance rides, where the first horse home is the winner.  The ultimate competitive endurance ride is160km (100 miles) in one day! (For more information see ‘types of rides’).  The welfare of the horse is paramount in both graded and competitive rides, veterinary checks are made before and after the ride (see ‘the ride day/vetting')

Rides take place all over England and Wales and are listed in the EGB national schedule of rides.  Most rides take place between March and October (see EGB website for full details).

Courses are well marked and riders are also given a map to show the ‘check points’ you must pass through along the route.  To get a rosette you just need to complete the course within the time parameters for the class.  If you become a member of EGB and register your horse, then at Graded Endurance Rides you can also qualify for an additional ‘grading’ rosette from 1 to 4.  This is awarded using a combination of speed and final heart rate.

You do not need to be a member to take part although it does give you lower entry fees.  Non members can take part in the Pleasure Rides put on alongside many of the EGB Graded Endurance and Competitive Endurance Rides by paying an additional ‘Temporary Day Membership’ fee of £8.  This offers the opportunity to come and try out the sport and see if it suits you and your horse.

In addition to the EGB national rides, local groups such as Offa’s Dyke also run additional fun rides throughout the year.  Our first fun ride of the season is the Christmas Cracker ride, with mulled wine and minced pies at the end!  These fun rides have lower entry fees than rides in the EGB national schedule - we charge £10 for members and associate members and £18 for temporary day members (see the rides and events page).  These rides have limited facilities and don’t have a farrier or vet check.

Some people enjoy doing fun rides and shorter distance rides and there is no pressure to move on to the longer distances.  Others want to progress up the levels from Novice to Advanced and eventually take part in Competitive Endurance Rides.  You can enjoy endurance riding at whatever level you and your horse feel comfortable with.