What to Expect at Your First Endurance Riding Event

Endurance riding is a fantastic way to explore new routes and areas with your horse. If you enjoy longer rides, you may want to enter an endurance riding event. This will not only give you the chance to ride in different places but challenge yourself over different distances.

Before competing at your first event, make sure you and your horse are fully prepared. You can check out our blog on How to Prepare for Your First Endurance Event which has tips to get fit and also explains the different levels of rides.

In this guide:

  1. Arriving at the Event
  2. Vet Check
  3. Getting Ready to Ride
  4. The Ride
  5. After Completing the Ride 

Arriving at the Event

Endurance Horse Event

Allow plenty of time to get prepared for your ride. After arriving and ensuring your horse is comfortable, visit the Ride Secretary with your log book. They will check you in and you can then collect your number bib. 

While at the secretary’s tent, you can also check to see if there are any further instructions or changes to the route. Typically these will be displayed on a board for all competitors to see.

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Vet Check

The vetting can seem intimidating to new endurance riders. However, it is a straightforward process to check that your horse is sound and fit to compete. 

Pleasure Rides are non-competitive and only involve a simple vetting if they are run alongside competitive classes.

Your horse will first be looked at by the farrier. Make sure you have your vet sheet with you so they can sign it off. Then, head to the vet steward who will let you know when you can present your horse to the vet.

 Endurance Event Horse Vet Check

The vetting will usually involve the vet first taking your horse’s heart rate and checking them over. You will then need to trot your horse up. You can practise this at home so you are confident doing this on the day of the event. 

Once your horse has passed and your sheet has been signed by the vet you can get ready to ride.

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Getting Ready to Ride

Tack up your horse ready to go. Zilco has a range of tack designed specifically for endurance riding if you’re looking for lightweight but hardwearing equipment. You can also put boots on your horse but these must be removed any vet checks.

Don’t forget your map! You might want to carry a snack, first aid kit and water in a saddle bag.

It’s also helpful to prepare some buckets of water and sponges so these are ready to go when you finish the ride.

For Graded Endurance Rides, you will need to start the ride within 30 minutes of passing the vetting so head to the start when you’re ready.

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The Ride 

The Timekeeper will let you know when you can start. There is a minimum and maximum time to complete the ride unless you are doing an untimed Pleasure Ride.   

Endurance Horse Event Ride

There are different checkpoints to pass through which will be indicated on your map. Follow the markers (usually coloured ribbon in trees or spray painted on the ground) to reach each checkpoint. You will then need to call your number out to the Steward at each checkpoint so they can note it down. 

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After Completing the Ride

Once you have finished, you will have 30 minutes to present your horse to the vet. You can use this time to untack, offer your horse water and cool them down. Walk your horse round to bring their heart rate down as it must be 64 beats/minute or lower to pass the vet.

When you’re ready, head to the vet area. You may want to have a rug on your horse if it’s a bit chilly but you will need to remove this for the actual vetting. This vet check runs similarly to the one before the ride and the vet will let you know if your horse has passed. 

Once the results have been calculated, return your bib and collect your results. For Graded Endurance Rides, the Grade is based on heart rate and speed. In Competitive Endurance Rides, the winner is the first horse across the line, as long as they pass the final vetting.

Will you be giving endurance riding a go?

Blog Banner Image Courtesy of BJ Bel/Zilco Equestrian

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