Endurance, also known as long-distance riding, is shortly said: the ride by horseback over a certain distance, on a marked route. This is comparable with a marathon, only on horseback. Of course good training and preparation is necessary, and lots of knowledge about feeding, caring and really knowing your horse make the competition easier. It comes down to a great stamina and perseverance by as well rider and horse to finishing really long distances. It’s not just the first combination at the finish who wins: the winning horse is the first one to cross the finish line while also passing periodically (approximately every 30 km’s) all veterinary check’s, to keep on ensuring during the ride that the horse is good health and fit to continue.
During the ride, along the track and during the mandatory stops, the horse and its rider are allowed to be groomed. This makes endurance a real team sport. Combined with riding through the most beautiful parts of nature in The Netherlands, this makes endurance riding a fast growing branch of equestrian sport in The Netherlands as well as globally.
The shortest distance is 20 km, with a maximum of 160 km a day. The real deal begins around 80 km, because that’s where a good training and knowledge about all aspects of training, feeding etc. are unbearable. Rides can be under the national federation (FN/VVD or KNHS/KEV) or international (CEI/FEI).
Also there is a variant with harnessed horses, called endurance driving.
Can I do this?
You might like this, but you’re not sure if you can do this? Here are some FAQ:
Can my horse do this? Experience tells us that all horses with an average condition can finish short distances. If you take your horse’s basic condition into account and adjust your speed, your horse will probably finish easily. Just don’t try to ride as fast as possible: high speed will increase the chance on injuries. “It’s not the distance that kills the horse, it’s the speed…”.
I normally don’t ride competitions… That’s no problem. The 20 km ride is an acquaintance ride, so no special application or paperwork is necessary. The same rules as on the shortest competition rides are applied, with one adjustment: there is a lower minimum and maximum speed. Only conditions required: your horse has to have a microchip, and it has to be properly vaccinated. This has to be noted by a vet in the horse’s passport and will be checked at each ride. No vaccination = no starting the ride! For Dutch riders: you have to be registered at the KNHS in any discipline or recreational. For foreign riders: You must be registered at your national federation in any way.
For those who would like to compete in the ride: My saddle etc. is not fit for endurance riding. The requirements for your saddle etc. to compete in an endurance ride: It must be safe to use. In other words: you can ride with any saddle, gear, etc., most important for yourself is that both you and your horse are comfortable with it, and both of you can do a relatively long ride with it without problems. Of course for your horse it’s important that everything fits properly and will cause no bruises or anything like. A safety cap or helmet is required!
For those who would like to compete in the drive: My carriage or my harness is not suitable for endurance driving. There are no requirements for your harness, except that it’s safe to use. Most important is that it fits your horse and is comfortable for horse and rider. All carriages are allowed, if fit for your horse (e.g. no pony-carriage for a huge warmblood horse). And there has to be room on the carriage for you and your groom(s), and a safety cap or helmet is required. For single or pairs driving 1 or 2 grooms are required, for four-in-hand 2 or 3 grooms are required.
How to register for the drive or the ride? On the website under “registration” you will find a registration form. Fill this out and e-mail or send it to the address mentioned there.
What are the costs? The fee for a rider (or driver with one horse) in class 0 (the acquaintance ride) and class 1 is €25,- and €30,- for more horses. This is also noted in the section “registration”
Any more questions? Click HERE for a brochure with more information about endurance riding / endurance driving in The Netherlands.