Endurance Riding: Whose Idea Was This, Anyway?

In honor of our new partnership with Green Bean Endurance, Two Horse Tack is continuing a series of endurance-themed posts here on our blog, which are aimed specifically at those who aren’t currently endurance riders. Enjoy!

There’s no doubt about it–endurance riders and their horses are tough. Anyone who’s willing to saddle up, knowing they’ll be achey, hot, and tired before they’re halfway through the journey has got to be pretty determined. If you’ve ever gotten to the 20-mile marker in a beginner’s endurance ride and wondered, ‘Who in the world came up with this idea??’ well, we’ve got answers for you.

Eventers are proud of their sport’s heritage as a test of bravery and athletics for cavalry horses, but did you know that endurance riding also got its start in the cavalry? It began in the early 1900s with tests that spanned over 5 days and 300 miles, with horses carrying at least 200 pounds. That’s a lot to ask, especially when you consider that the average cavalry horse probably wasn’t a full-blooded Arabian, which are popular amongst high-level endurance riders today because of their propensity for long distance.

But lest you think of endurance riding as dominated by Arabians–the Morgan Horse Club actually helped stimulate the sport’s development in the early 1900s, starting its own endurance rides as a means of demonstrating the breed’s suitability for the cavalry. Those rides, too, went up to 300 miles.

Of course, speaking theoretically, people have been doing some sort of endurance riding for hundreds, if not thousands of years, since the domestication of the horse was largely based on the animal’s ability to carry people and objects great distances. The sport didn’t expand to include civilians until the 1950s. In 1955, the heralded Tevis Cup was organized, when Wendell Robie and a group of friends wanted to learn whether horses of that era could traverse the Western States Trail, from Lake Tahoe to Auburn, California. The Tevis Cup has been held annually ever since (excepting 2008, when it was cancelled due to wildfire activity).

The American Endurance Ride Conference was established several years later in the early 1970s and is now the body responsible for tracking points, making rules for certified competitions, and promoting the sport. Endurance riding is part of the FEI World Equestrian Games and is part of the U.S. Equestrian Team.

Endurance riders love our beta biothane tack because it’s light, gentle on sensitive skin, and waterproof! We’ll be announcing special products for endurance riders soon, but in the meantime, check out our existing line of halter bridles, which are especially popular with the endurance set. 

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Posted on February 5, 2016, in Helpful articles, Horsey Fun and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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