Endurance Riding

Jan 20 2011

Endurance Riding Training

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Endurance riding is the sport of riding a horse for distances of 50 miles or more (at once) in an allotted time frame. Typically, 12 hours is given to complete 50 miles, while 24 hours is allowed for a 100 mile race. The sport of endurance requires huge amounts of training from both the horse and the rider to get the two into shape as a harmonious team.

1. Get The Right Horse – While any horse can generally be entered into endurance riding competitions, you need to make sure you have a mentally sound, injury-free and mature horse. Arabian or Half Arabian horses are typically considered the best breed for endurance riding, but any other horse that meets the basic eligibility and health requirements and displays a willing attitude for the sport can excel in endurance. Generally, horses need to be five to six years old to enter into endurance riding events.

2. Ramp Up Slowly – You should set out with a limited distance endurance event in mind. A shorter, 25-mile event is a good place to start. To begin training your horse, try spreading the 25 miles over three training sessions each week. Ride at a slightly faster pace than you would if you were doing the mileage all at once. When you do complete 25 or more miles at once in training, remember the motto of most endurance riders: SLOW, LONG DISTANCE while training!

3. Train Yourself – It’s crucial that you stay in good physical shape as you train for endurance riding. Not only is riding long distance a physically strenuous activity, but the chance of your horse getting injured means you will have to dismount and do some serious walking to get to the next way point of the endurance riding event. Consider joining a gym and cross training your own body. You don’t have to be a marathon runner, but competing in a few 5Ks isn’t going to hurt! And consider adding weight training and balancing exercises to your program.

4. Enter A Program – The best place to start is with the American Endurance Ride Conference. Become a member! AERC offers a multitude of information on the sport, can hook you up with a mentor, and also hosts a yearly conference with all kinds of seminars for your learning pleasure.


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