Are you planning to try something new this year? How about endurance riding?

Endurance riding is fairly self-explanatory. It is long distance riding.

There are two main types of endurance rides, graded and competitive. In a graded ride, the challenge is to keep pace within set parameters whilst taking account of the varying terrain and passing veterinary checks at the beginning and end. The final grading is calculated from your speed and the horses recovery rate. In a competitive endurance ride, all the riders start together and the winning horse is the first one to cross the line, while stopping periodically to pass veterinary checks that deem the animal in good health to continue.

The main governing body for those wishing to compete in Endurance in the UK is Endurance GB.

There are different types of endurance rides depending on what you want to achieve.

The first type of ride is the pleasure ride. These are open to anyone (the horse must be at least four-years-old) and they can be run over any distance from 10km up to 40km. They should be completed at 8 km/hour minimum speed and 12 km/hour maximum speed.

Another type ride is the graded endurance ride (GERs) where horses who successfully complete the ride will be awarded a grade based on pulse and speed. These are run between a distance of 30 and 160km over one or several days. Speed varies between 8-18 km/hour but there are restrictions on speeds and distances for novice horses and for more advanced combinations there are higher minimum speeds.

The final type of ride is the competitive endurance ride (CERs) where horses who successfully complete the ride are ranked in order of finishing.  Only advanced rider/horse combinations may enter CERs and they vary from 80 – 160 km in a day or longer over several days.