PerseveranceEnduranceHorses Blog - Full Article
POSTED BY PERSEVERANCE ⋅ 1 SEPTEMBER 2011
Endurance riding is a team sport. The team is the horse and rider and their support crew at the vet checks. The challenges they face are distance, variations in altitude and terrain, difficult going such as rocks, mud or sand, extreme weather fluctuations, time limits and passing the vet checks every 30 km or so. Only the fittest horses with natural talent make the grades…
The vet checks require hydration, soundness and good heart rate recoveries. For the novice and developing endurance horses it is a process of growing as an athlete. For the advanced endurance horse it is a race requiring great fitness and resilience coupled to speed. There are no judges to determine the winners, only the clock ticking off the seconds and the vets giving the nod or not to the horse being fit to continue.
What makes a great endurance horse?
1. Willing and eager, but calm
In my book, character is the number one criteria. The horse must enjoy what he does. The ideal endurance horse loves to run, loves to see what is over the next hill. It must be competitive and want to win, but yet still be controllable. A runaway horse never wins, it will exhaust itself too early in the race. The lazy horse never wins, you cannot force a horse to run that well, and whipping and spurs are rightly forbidden.
In ultra distance events such as 160 kms the horse will feel tired, yet must be willing to go out from base again and again when you ask it. Highly strung horses are undesirable as they stress too much and go off their feed. Endurance horses are transported long distances to compete at rides and are exposed to traffic, strange environments, different water and sometimes feed and frequent changes in temperature. They need to be able to cope with all that, and continue to eat, drink and sleep to keep up their strength...
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