What is Endurance Riding?
It is a ride, usually over open country, along a mapped out route for a set distance with specific speed requirements.
Members are issued with a map of the route a few days before the competition to study carefully and measure in order to plan the ride pace and finish in time. There are checkpoints and stewards along the route and most competitive rides also require the horse or pony to be 'vetted' before and after the ride.
The vetting for the horses/ponies participating includes a trot up for soundness, check on feet/ shoes to ensure they are OK to proceed and heart rate to check on well being.
You gain points from a formula based on speed ridden and fitness of your pony (measured by finishing heart rate). Highest points win!
You will be surprised at how fast you need to ride to make the lowest permitted speed -8km/hour (Working trot is around 8 – 10km/ hour).
How Do I Get Involved?
There are five Endurance ride levels, ranging from level 1 (Merlin) which are rides under 10 kilometres, to level 5 (Eagle) which are advanced rides over 40 kilometres. Details about each ride level are detailed below:
Pony Club Members can take part in Endurance through rides organised by Branches and Centres, or they can access rides organised by national governing bodies; Endurance GB (EGB), Scottish Endurance and the Irish Long Distance Riding Association, which qualify for the Endurance Championships!
For frequently asked questions please see the Pony Club Endurance Rule Book, these start on Page 29.
A Grassroots (under 20km) class is held each year at the Pony Club National Endurance Championships – you only need to have done 1 qualifying ride to enter! It’s not a Championships class, but you get to experience the atmosphere and take part!
EGB run 2 types of ride – all can be used for Pony Club National Championships Qualification.
Group Rides – organized by the local EGB group (branch). These are low key rides where you just tack up and go! Distances are usually short 10km, 25km.
National Rides – These are the competitive rides that attract riders from all over the country. They have several classes of various distances typically starting at 20km. Longer distances are on offer to the more experienced combinations: 30km, 40km, 60km, 80km!
These rides are different from the group rides in that you have to present your pony to the onsite farrier before the ride to check their shoes/ feet are OK to proceed. You then take you pony to the onsite vet who takes your pony’s heart rate, checks hydration and gut sounds. You then trot up in hand 20m there and back to see they are not lame. This ‘vetting’ happens again within 30mins of your return from the ride.
You ‘pass’ your ride if you complete within the permitted time and your pony is still sound and importantly the heart rate is below 64 beats per minute.
Best advice is to just enter a ride and see how you like it! You must be 8 years old and if under 13 have an adult (who can escort 2 children).
How Do I Progress Further?
To progress further you can increase the distance of your rides and progress through the ride levels or alternatively you can look to ride the same distance and take part in more organised rides competitively.
For details on Pony Club and Member Body organised rides please see our competitions and events pages.
You can also progress to take part in the Endurance Championships!
The Endurance Committee were presented with an opportunity to hold the Pony Club Endurance Championships at Euston Park alongside HH Sheik Mohammed Bin Rachid Al Maktoum UK Endurance Festival. This provided Members with a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of an International event where professional Endurance Riders from all over the world travelled to compete on some of the best Endurance Tracks in the UK.
For 2019, The Pony Club Endurance Championships took place at this prestigious event, thanks to the continued support from HPG Endurance ltd, part of the HPower Group, and in collaboration with Endurance GB.
If you would like to find out more about the Championships please see our events.