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Endurance - 'Arabs Only' Club?

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  • Endurance - 'Arabs Only' Club?

    It seems like if anyone wants to do endurance seriously, they do it on an Arab. I know Arabs are bred for their strength and stamina, but aren't there any other breeds that could excel at this discipline?

    Also, this is probably a silly question, but is it physically possible for atypical endurance breeds to compete and finish endurance races, even if they don't win or get even close to it?

    The reason I ask is that I was trail riding with my horse's pasturemate's owner the other day, and we were talking about our horse's natural talents and likes. I said my mare loves to be outside and seeing new things and experiencing new trails. She's also quite forward out on trail, and just wants to get out there and go (not out of control, but 'brisk walk' and 'brisk trot' and 'brisk canter' kinda thing). The lady I was riding with said I should do endurance with her. I just laughed, because my mare is a QH. I think she would finish the first mile, then keel over.

    So, is it possible for non-Arabs to do honestly well in endurance? What about breeds designed for the exact OPPOSITE of endurance, like my Quarter Horse? I'm thinking her massive build and bulk would only make endurance rides unpleasant for her, at best.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

  • #2
    I've seen all sorts of breeds out there at the endurance rides--quarter horses, appy's, draft crosses, fjords, icelandics, shetland ponies, super fancy hanovarian, TB's, halflingers, and tons of gaited horses. I rip up the trails (lots of top tens) on a Tennessee Walker.
    Windwalker Ridge: Gaited horses, lessons, training, sales
    http://windwalkerridge.cloud11.net

    Comment


    • #3
      In theory, yes.

      I breed Akhal-Tekes & Teke-crosses, who are a breed fabled for their endurance, but you don't see too many out there yet. Mustangs, etc. should also do well.

      And some do.

      But if you look at the statistics for the winners (regional, Mare Award, Jim Jones Award, etc), they are almost ALL Arabs. And that is apparently true everywhere.

      Over 60 % of the horses than do endurance are PB Arabs, then another 20% plus are crosses. The rest are various breeds.

      But the point you need to remember is this -- are you riding to win or to place in the TT, or are you just riding 50's to finish?

      Personally, I think most fit, well-ridden & conditioned horses can do a 50 -- they may take 7 hrs. to do it, but they can do it.

      So ride what you have and switch to an Arab if you decide you want after burners. And BTW, not ALL ARabs are neccessiarily good at endurance.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by Kyzteke View Post
        In theory, yes.

        I breed Akhal-Tekes & Teke-crosses, who are a breed fabled for their endurance, but you don't see too many out there yet. Mustangs, etc. should also do well.

        And some do.

        But if you look at the statistics for the winners (regional, Mare Award, Jim Jones Award, etc), they are almost ALL Arabs. And that is apparently true everywhere.

        Over 60 % of the horses than do endurance are PB Arabs, then another 20% plus are crosses. The rest are various breeds.

        But the point you need to remember is this -- are you riding to win or to place in the TT, or are you just riding 50's to finish?

        Personally, I think most fit, well-ridden & conditioned horses can do a 50 -- they may take 7 hrs. to do it, but they can do it.

        So ride what you have and switch to an Arab if you decide you want after burners. And BTW, not ALL ARabs are neccessiarily good at endurance.
        If I ever got the chance to do endurance, I would be doing it for fun (7 hour trail ride.. sounds soooo amazing!), not for winning.

        And like you said, if you look at the statistics, all the winners are always Arabs. They can't be the ONLY breed bred for their stamina, so why are they the only ones to win?
        Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm an Arab fan myself, but I know that Mathhew McKay Smith had quite a bit of success riding OTTB's. He felt like they had a good cardiovascular based built in.
          Second place is first loser.

          Comment


          • #6
            I've done a few 30's and 50's on my 14' Paso Fino. We are usually "back of the pack" and I'd love to finish a ride in 7 hours, but it usually takes us 9+ to complete a 50. I'd still be riding him if he hadn't come down with EPM. Now I'm riding an Arab and am planning on doing the first 50 on her in two weeks. I see a big difference between my Arab and my Paso. The Arab pulses down much quicker than my Paso and she's also faster -- not that that matters to me. I'd still be riding me Paso if he had not gotten sick. If you are interested in endurance, volunteer at a ride or two -- you will learn a LOT!!! And have a lot of fun. It does not take a lot of conditioning to complete a limited distance (25-30 mile) ride. You would be amazed at what your horse can do.

            Comment


            • #7
              Now, I am only an endurance wanna be, played around early this summer with a buddy, taking long local rides with the thought that we might be able to enter a 25 LD this fall (family committments and other complications derailed this plan, but still we had a dream, and may yet get it done.) We were riding, of all things, gaited horses. My racking mare was willing but is probably the wrong build with the wrong gaits, she can trot but doesnt usually under saddle, so doesnt have an intermediate gait that is good for her back. The TNW, on the other hand, is narrow, short backed, long legged, has feet like big iron dinner plates, can trot for miles as well as do his running walk, and was as fresh after an 18 to 20 mile jaunt as when he left until temperatures got to be in the 100s in July. Both these horses are barefoot, btw. Both riders are heavyweights.

              My thought on this is, walkers, other gaited breeds esp foxtrotters, and old cowpony type QHs, and certainly lots of grade horses, were, back in the days of horse transportation, EXPECTED to be able to carry a big man and a heavy saddle, all day and over all kinds of terrain. Think of circuit riders in the Appalachian mountains, Forest Service guys out West, cowboys driving cattle. They were DOING LDs probably on a daily basis, without special monitors, training, equipment, supplements, etc. Werernt no big deal.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by firelizardfarm View Post
                I'm an Arab fan myself, but I know that Mathhew McKay Smith had quite a bit of success riding OTTB's. He felt like they had a good cardiovascular based built in.
                He's had the most success with Angloarabs. What major ride has he won with OTTBs? I do know he was pulled at the first vet check during this year's Tevis.

                Comment


                • #9
                  This is a timely question because we just listed a filly that I was wondering about.

                  http://fltrainerlist.proboards104.co...ead=1192373331

                  In addition to all the qualities listed, the trainer happened to say that this girl wasn't all that fast, but that she could go forever. We were thinking jumper or three day, but she is kind of small.

                  Would a horse like this be something that an endurance rider might be interested in?
                  If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                  Desmond Tutu

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Arabs have Type I or slow twitch muscles which are a suited to long steady work such as endurance. QH's have Type II which are fast twitch muscles, that provide quick power and speed. Of course this makes Arabs and Arab crosses ideally suited to endurance but not the only ones capable of competing and even of doing well. Other breeds participate and some can be competitive at higher levels though more of the exception than the norm.

                    If you are just riding to complete then a conditioned horse should definitely be able to do the LD's (under 50) and depending on the conditions/speed, 50's as well.

                    I understand that CTR's have a more diverse breed participation with many other breeds very competitive.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Spanish Mustangs which are a strain of Colonial Spanish horses have a heavy dose of Barb blood and they typically do very well in the sport if they are of a lighter type. There have been a number that have been pretty successful like Geronimo's Warrior who won the Jim Jones award 5 years in a row. The registered spanish mustangs are still pretty rare but prices are generally very reasonable. The hardest thing is finding one that is well started but green horses are plentiful.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        All horse have both fast twitch and slow twitch muscle types. Some naturally have more of one than the other. Conditioning will slowly cause the horses body and muscles to adapt to the demands on it. I have an Arab/QTR cross that I compete in endurance and CTR and he is a middle of the pack kinda guy in endurance. Heat can be an issue for him and cardiovascularly he just doesn't recover as well as many horses. For the chunky built horses it really is heat that is the enemy.

                        I know of a lot of successful Apps in endurance but most of them are foundation Apps, not Qtr horses with spots. TB's with GOOD feet and sensible dispositions would also be a good choice, same with Standardbreds.

                        Look at the rules for CTRs to understand how it is judged and horses placed. My middle of the pack endurance horse is a very successful CTR horse. I have fun doing both and never will be a front runner with Mighty Mouse, but hopefully will ride my sturdy little friend for many years.

                        It's probably hard to market an OTTB to endurance riders unless it really is off the track and out on trails already. Most of us want to try a horse under saddle and see where it's head is at. Another issue is the feet. So many of them have pretty poor looking feet when they first come off the track and some of them never really improve as the breeding behind them never focused on bone and feet, just speed. I personally love a good TB and wouldn't mind trying a shorter, sturdy built TB that has a good trot for endurance.

                        chicamuxen

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by gothedistance
                          1 & 2. Yes, and yes. Any sound and healthy and fit, willing horse/pony that enjoys going down the trail can do endurance. Same goes for a rider. Same goes for any Arabian horse because they are NOT all created equal. Not all are meant for the endurance trail. Sound and healthy and fit is the key. A horse that is also competitive (which many Arabian horses come by naturally) is the one you want for moving up from just completions to top tenning.
                          3. Quarter horses are not the "exact opposite" of endurance -- they were originally bred for endurance -- long, long, LONG hours in the saddle, riding the range. If your QH is sound, healthy, and fit, endurance should be well within your horse's ability to accomplish. You may have to keep a closer eye on cooling the muscles in hot/humid conditions, but all else being equal, you would do fine.
                          I was actually referring to the ORIGINAL QHs, ie, Janus and the quarter mile TBs that kinda branched off into QHs. They were bred for short bursts of speed, not long distances. Sorry, I should've clarified.

                          Does anyone here do endurance on QHs, or have done it in the past?
                          Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I know people who do endurance on QHs. There is a paint horse that top tenned at Tevis this year and usually Top Tens. Any breed can do well. But I agree, if you want to Top Ten consistently, you probably are best off buying an Arab statistically. Just ride the horse you have and see how she does. Some individual horses seem to enjoy it and some dont, even some Arabs. I have Arabs but I usually finish 50s with riding times of anywhere from 7-10 hours ( I usually do really tough ones with lots of climbing). I'm not into racing, just enjoying myself and the scenery and getting the miles.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Louise View Post
                              This is a timely question because we just listed a filly that I was wondering about.

                              In addition to all the qualities listed, the trainer happened to say that this girl wasn't all that fast, but that she could go forever. We were thinking jumper or three day, but she is kind of small.

                              Would a horse like this be something that an endurance rider might be interested in?

                              I dont know....I just dont see a lot of Tbs out there doing endurance. Around here, in the SW, Tbs. are mainly just used for the english sports. Of course, Arabs are the most common, but there are also a good number of gaited horses and mules.

                              I did some 25s with my own Tb. but I dont feel like it was his thing- he is an awesome jumper but just didnt have the stamina to keep going and going, compared to my Arabs.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by gothedistance
                                Does anyone here do endurance on QHs, or have done it in the past?

                                Don't know of anyone on these boards, but I do know that Wendy Mancini (NJ) put 3,220 AERC miles on her wonderful Old Meadow Jim (QH), including quite a few top tens.
                                Me. Well, LDs anyway. My QH mare did a 25 and a 35 this season. She got great scores, but we did have an issue with one vet. He thought she was sore in the feet, but put hoof testers on her and got no reaction at all. She's very very stocky, and had a 3+ hour trailer ride. I wanted to get her vetted in that night, so literally pulled her off the trailer and took her to the vet tent. Bad idea. She was stiff. He let her compete, and at the first vet stop he commented that she looked great, and showed no signs of the stiffness that she did the night before. I told him she just needed to work out of it. That's the only thing with riding a stock horse is that they have big, heavy muscle groups that need adequate warmup and cooldown to get their best gaits. (Like any horse, really. But stocky QHs need special consideration in this department.)

                                My other mare is an Arabian and I won't lie - it's definitely much easier on the appropriate breed. My QH absolutely loves the trail and loves to get in a working trot and go for mile after mile. But when we're climbing a rocky hill, the Arab just flies up, while the QH takes a little more time getting the bulk up the hill. Arena work does not suit her at all. So I'll stick to LDs on her to let her do what she loves, but not push her too much. And of course on her, it's for the finish, and not the win.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  other breeds that excel

                                  To continue chicamuxen1's post, physiologically you can train almost any equid to do the distance, however to excel (if by excel you are referring to finishing top 10s and going for best condition) the horse has to have the muscle fiber type and cardiovascular system that is made for endurance.

                                  Besides doing muscle biopsies and cardio testing on all the horses, look for breeds and especially the lines that have been bred for the distance and speed.

                                  Arabians are inexpensive and plentiful and proven. Too easy to start there. I would also suggest old mustang lines (the warrior horse lines, may be difficult to determine fibre typing of each specific animal) and of course Akhal-Tekes (really cool warrior horses that couldn't be matched for distance and speed, but expensive and current endurance lines are not yet proven).

                                  For greater speed the Anglo-Arabs are doing well, for hardiness the Canabians (Arabian x Canadian), and then you could always try an Arasier (Arabian x Akhal-Teke)!!!

                                  Have fun! There are so many cool horses!!
                                  Kerri-Jo

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I think Arabians are popular with distance riders for the same reason dressage riders choose Warmbloods. It's easy to find one that suits the sport. When people pick a different breed, it's often because that person chose the horse first, then the sport.

                                    I train in dressage and benefit myself and my Arabs but if I wanted to be very competitive, I'd buy a Warmblood.

                                    I'm personally cursed with a love for Arabians and showjumping . Bit of a mismatch, but luckily I'm a lousy rider and their jumping ability exceeds my jumping ability so far .

                                    Long story short (I know, too late), get out there with your horsey buddy and have some fun!
                                    Still Crazy After All These Years

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
                                      Spanish Mustangs which are a strain of Colonial Spanish horses have a heavy dose of Barb blood and they typically do very well in the sport...The registered spanish mustangs are still pretty rare but prices are generally very reasonable. The hardest thing is finding one that is well started but green horses are plentiful.
                                      Ditto for the Barbs (which I have and intend to use for endurance). It's almost impossible to buy a trained one, but if you're up to gentling and training from the ground up, they're fantastic endurance athletes with a high porportion of slow-twitch muscles, lots of bone, deep heartgirth, good feet, short backs, and light build for heat dispersion.
                                      Training and campaigning Barb endurance horses at The Barb Wire.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Louise View Post
                                        This is a timely question because we just listed a filly that I was wondering about.

                                        http://fltrainerlist.proboards104.co...ead=1192373331

                                        In addition to all the qualities listed, the trainer happened to say that this girl wasn't all that fast, but that she could go forever. We were thinking jumper or three day, but she is kind of small.

                                        Would a horse like this be something that an endurance rider might be interested in?
                                        I am just a wanna be endurance rider as well, but I love that fillies build and look, if only because she could be Banjo's twin sister, and a grand daughter of Mr.Prospector, as is Banjo....AND she has vaguely Noble in the dams line...just like Banjo...
                                        (If this is her) http://www.pedigreequery.com/even+numbers2
                                        Blew me away when I saw her pedigree..
                                        Banjo can go 15 miles without turning a hair after pasture loafing for a month. It took us 3 hours, but we mostly walked...some trotting, and actually I spent a good amount of time hanging out at the store we rode up to.
                                        I would take this mare in a heartbeat for an endurance prospect....
                                        I will see if I can find some old pics of Banjo so you can see what I mean....

                                        Comment

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