Find out more about equestrian endurance riding
Endurance riding challenges a team of horse and rider’s ability to traverse diverse natural terrain against the clock over distances of up to 160 kilometres.
The sport’s history goes as far back as the early 1900s when endurance was used in the United States as a military test for cavalry mounts. Horses were required to go on a five-day, 483 kilometre ride carrying at least 90 kilograms to demonstrate they were fit for battle.
The test became the ultimate challenge for American riders and endurance became a recognised sport in the early 1950s. As both the time and the distances in endurance events were reduced, the sport became increasingly popular and in 1978 the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body for World and Olympic equestrian events, recognised endurance riding as an international sport.
While the rides are timed, the highest priority is not crossing the finishing line first, but rather the condition of the horse when it does so. Horses are checked by vets at regular intervals during endurance rides to ensure their wellbeing and those who participate in the sport pride themselves in having an intricate understanding of their horse’s capabilities and the effective use of pace to achieve the best results.
“…the highest priority is not crossing the finishing line first, but rather the condition of the horse when it does so.”
A QUICK HISTORY OF ENDURANCE
Endurance was originally used in the United States as a military test for cavalry mounts. Horses were required to go on a five-day, 483 kilometer ride carrying at least 90 kilograms to demonstrate they were fit for battle.
Endurance became the ultimate challenge for American riders and was recognizes as a competitive sport.
The first Western States Trail Ride, popularly called the Tevis Cup Ride, is held covering 100 miles (160.9km) of rugged terrain from Tahoe to Auburn in California, USA within a 24-hour period. The ride has been hosted ever since making it the oldest, modern-day endurance ride.
1:14am 1 October: Endurance riding began in Australia when RM Williams — after hearing reports of the 100 mile Tevis Cup — decided to challenge Australian riders to demonstrate if they had the skill and horsemanship to “ride 100 miles in a day”. He therefore approached his good friend Tom Quilty to support his venture and thanks to his donation of $1,000, the Tom Quilty Cup was paid for signifying the birth of endurance riding in New South Wales. The Tom Quilty Cup remains an annual national championship endurance event and is now the biggest professional endurance ride in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Australian Endurance Riders Association (AERA) was formed to establish riding rules and veterinary standards for endurance riding.
As both the time and the distances in endurance events were reduced, the sport became increasingly popular and in 1978 the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) — the international governing body for World and Olympic equestrian events —recognized endurance riding as an international sport.
Divisions of AERA were formed to manage the sport in each State with AERA retaining the overall co-ordinating control.
A referendum of all endurance riders in Australia resulted in the decision to move the Tom Quilty Cup from state to state in rotation which dramatically increased the number of new riders for the sport.
Australia’s first purpose-built endurance facility, Stirling’s Crossing Equestrian Complex, opens its doors in Imbil in the hinterland of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The newly formed Stirling’s Crossing Endurance Club hosts the inaugural event — the 2016 Equestrian Australia Endurance Championships — at the state-of-the-art facility in July of that year.