SportBusiness.com - Full Article
By: SportBusiness International team
30 April 2018
This article was produced in association with the FEI
Get ready for some seriously long hours in the saddle. Endurance riding is an equestrian discipline where riders race long-distance on horseback along country trails, testing both their physical and mental skills. In events run by the international governing body for equestrian sport (the Fédération Equestre international, or FEI), those distances range from 80km (50 miles) to 160km (100 miles), all in a single day.
Manuel Bandeira de Mello is Endurance Director at the FEI. “Endurance riding tests the speed and endurance of a horse and challenges the rider over their effective use of pace, thorough knowledge of their horse’s capabilities and the ability to cross all kinds of terrain,” he explains. “Although the rides are timed, the emphasis is on finishing in good condition rather than coming in first.”
He stresses how each rider must safely manage the stamina and fitness of their horse. For this reason, all courses are divided into phases, with compulsory halts for veterinary inspections (known as vet gates) after each phase. “Each horse must be presented for inspection within a set time of reaching each vet gate, which determines whether it is fit to continue,” Bandeira de Mello adds.
Many different breeds of horse have successfully competed in endurance riding. However, by far the most successful are Arabians and Arabian crosses.
The courses often take in some breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. The 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games™, for example, saw competitors riding along Mont Saint-Michel Bay, in the French region of Normandy, with the English Channel and the island village of Mont Saint-Michel (a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site) providing the backdrop. The next edition of the FEI’s flagship event will take place this coming September in Tryon, North Carolina. The endurance course here is in the process of being put together and will undoubtedly take in some of the amazing countryside surrounding Tryon...
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