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what makes an endurance horse?

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  • what makes an endurance horse?

    are they almost always arabs or arab x's?
    we have an andulusian/tb x mare who really loves to be out and particiapting but hates dressage. i am a dressage rider and my daughter events. this mare is as sturdy as they come and can go xc all day. however, she is a full figured girl so i am not sure an endurance rider would like her body type. just interested in end. riders opinions of what one would look for in an end. horse.

  • #2
    Heart and the willingness to keep going.

    Not all endurance horses are arabians or arabian crosses, a lot of them are gaited, and I know a lot of people who use Thoroughbreds and one lady who competes with her chunky quarter horse.

    As long as the horse is healthy, has a good work ethic, and is in shape I don't see why they cannot do endurance.
    (¯`·._¤ Jess!·._¤ ´¯)


    • #3
      I think the most important things are soundness and the desire to go down the trail. Breed and conformation are secondary, though obviously if you're looking for the next Hagin Cup winner, those things are just as important.


      • #4
        what makes an endurance horse?
        The ability to put up with you for hours at a time with no respite?


        • #5
          An endurance horse needs to be confident when alone and comfortable in a group, it must conserve it's energy (no shenanigans on the trail), and have ground covering gaits. That's besides being sound, of course .

          The above horse should be able to complete after being properly conditioned.

          Arabs and derivatives come up with the most wins because, in addition to the traits I've mentioned, they've got long lean muscle made to work efficiently over long distances, disperse heat easily, and have large lung capacity (these are important at vet checks, where the horse whose temp, pulse and respirations drop the quickest will be first to get back on the trail).

          You might want to look into CTRs, which are judged trail rides with points awarded for handling obstacles and equitation. Lots of good trail horses of all types do well in that .
          Still Crazy After All These Years


          • #6
            Originally posted by Astraled View Post

            You might want to look into CTRs, which are judged trail rides with points awarded for handling obstacles and equitation. Lots of good trail horses of all types do well in that .
            That's a good suggestion, but people getting into CTR need to know there are a lot of rules that don't apply to endurance horses. I talked at length with a seasoned CTR competitor, and did a lot of reading and decided that the rules just weren't worth the hassle. Definitely do a lot of research in both endurance and CTR before you decide what route you want to go - or you might even want to do both! Or ride and tie too!


            • #7
              Maybe this girl would be a good foxhunter. If she's great cross country and can go all day, and is sensible and sane that might be a great career for her.

              If there is a hunt anywhere near you maybe your eventing daughter might like to try it.
              Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
              EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


              • #8
                Most excellent gothedistance

                She gave you the facts

                There are always the outliners that can do it outside of the norm, sure she could be one.

                Endurance is really 50's and up. Yes LD's are there, but that is a hybrid.

                A horse that is too large really can't do the work. Reason being is the mass of muscle can never dissipate the heat.

                You need a lean horse, with the disposition to work long, long hours without being pushed to do it. The Arab was bred for that. TB can do it too, but this is crossed with a heavier yet horse.

                Just because your horse loves to work, doesn't mean it would like to work that hard. Usually these horses are hotheads.

                50's are about 8 hours, and 25's are about 4. Does your horse like to bust a move that long and can come down? Getting your horse to relax, then turnkey out the gait is a must to compete. Otherwise you are just doing the miles. Some people like to just do the miles, but I doubt your horse could be a competitor.

                Sounds like this horse needs another rider that can handle the horse. It could be suited just for what it is doing.
                **Founding member of the TQ (Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or MOVE OVER!\" Clique** 2005 Winner of the \"Rush Limbaugh of the Trails\" Award

                Rope The Moon Ranch RTM Breeders of Anglo-Arabs, and Performers of


                • #9
                  Well, you just never know how a horse will do until you try. Yes, a bulky horse will have problems with heat in warm weather but 3horsemom never said what part of the country she lives in. Mary Coleman (heavyweight rider) has been competing Hawks Neapolitan, a registered Morgan that is somewhere around 16 hands and built like a light draft. Hawk has about 5000 endurance miles now and I think around 3000 ECTRA CTR miles. Mary lives in PA but competes him from MI to FL. In 2005 he was the only horse to complete all five 50 miles rides in five days in the FITs Pioneer ride. but she often has a team of crew people throwing ice water on her horse at vet checks.

                  Wendy Mancini competes a registered QTR Horse who is not lean and mean, pretty darn chunky. He's finished top ten in numerous rides including 100 milers.

                  Depending on where you live your local CTRs may be NATRC or ECTRA or OCTRA. ECTRA CTRs have far less rules and judging involved and can be a much more competitive place for horses of other than Arabian breeding. My Arab/QTR horse places better in CTRs but basicly I just enjoy the rides of both types. So, it never hurts to take 1-2 years and give it a try.



                  • #10
                    I am looking for an arabian prospect right now and here is what I am looking for
                    1.conformation-straight legs, good depth of heart, good bone, large nostrils, strong back
                    2.Movement and Attitude- ground covering trot, a horse with brain and heart, a horse that would enjoy teh work!

                    Its going to be interesting because I am looking for a prospect, not a proven endurance horse so I really need to know exactly what to look for!
                    As for your horse, andalusions also have a lot of smooth muscle, the same type that help arabians with endurance, tb's don't though. I did an LD with my appendix and he did great, we coul dhave done a 50, bvut I notice it took more time to condition him and keep him conditioned-


                    • #11
                      You really should just get out there and try it!

                      There may even be the possibility that your horse ends up loving it, but you don't!

                      Where I ride, even the seasoned long distance riders understand that it could be any horse, at any time, that makes a good distance mount.

                      And it is not always just a couple of traits that make a good distance mount. Your horse may have great vitals, but maybe a gait that is difficult to ride for 4-8 hours. You just never know until you try! Either way, you get some GREAT trail time to get to know yourself and your horse, and that kind of thing cannot be bought.

                      Sorry to be so vague about the details. I just do not want you to be discouraged until you try it for yourself and decide.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RTM Anglo's View Post

                        50's are about 8 hours, and 25's are about 4. Does your horse like to bust a move that long and can come down? Getting your horse to relax, then turnkey out the gait is a must to compete. Otherwise you are just doing the miles. Some people like to just do the miles, but I doubt your horse could be a competitor.
                        This is a little bit misleading.

                        The times you gave are kind of middle of the road, but a lot depends on the terrain, the weather, and if you're going for a win, top 10, or finish.

                        I took 5 hours to do the first LD with my 2 horses because I did not want to push them AT ALL. I let them walk or trot as much as they wanted, I let them linger around the water, and graze on the trail. I pulled off and stopped anytime someone wanted to pass. I didn't care if we finished in the alloted time of 6 hours or not, I just wanted them to be happy, healthy, and safe.

                        You have 6 hours to finish a 25 LD, and 12 hours for a 50. You can take as little or as much time as you want. Some people go with the intention of just doing a nice long trail ride on a Saturday morning. You could potentially walk and slow trot the whole distance and still finish on time.

                        And I never busted a move out the timer gate either. I let my mares walk out of camp on a loose rein, and we picked up a trot once we were well out of sight of camp. I didn't feel any need to blow their minds on their first season.

                        But you're right - we weren't competitive. We were just doing the miles and getting the training in. But my point was that that's the beauty of LDs and endurance. You can tailor the ride to whatever you need for that particular day.


                        • #13
                          i was never a serious endurance rider but what i wanted was a smart, sound horse with the desire to stay out on the trail, the horse i had the most fun and success with was an arab/something cross, she was the type that when we finished the ride would try to drag me back on the trail, she liked to go different places, sometimes i thought she thinks all these horses are here for a horse party in her honor, as soon as she got off the trailer.
                          and a comfortable trot or gait is also important, i have a very agreeable morgan mare now who i can't imagine riding for 8-10 hours and being able to stand up or walk afterwards
                          i also have been trying to steal my husbands twh, i would like to start back into ctr's or maybe endurance again, she is very comfortable, covers ground and while energetic has a calm demeanor, she of course is not an arab however i don't plan on winning as a goal but more to enjoy the ride


                          • #14
                            I do the distance rides for a number of reasons:
                            -I love making the effort to see new trails and parks in my state and my neighboring state
                            -I love supporting my friends at the rides
                            -I love being out on the trail for hours, many times alone or with a buddy, and just cruisin' right along and having a GREAT time
                            -My horse loves being out there, and just going, going, going.
                            -I love meeting new people who love the sport
                            -I love sharing new ideas and old stories at the potlucks
                            -I also love to see what we can really do- can we REALLY do a 25 miler today? Can we REALLY do it in 3-4 hours? Can we REALLY still feel like doing it again after it is over?


                            • Original Poster

                              thank you all for your opinions altho i thought this post was snarky and presumptous.

                              Just because your horse loves to work, doesn't mean it would like to work that hard. Usually these horses are hotheads.

                              50's are about 8 hours, and 25's are about 4. Does your horse like to bust a move that long and can come down? Getting your horse to relax, then turnkey out the gait is a must to compete. Otherwise you are just doing the miles. Some people like to just do the miles, but I doubt your horse could be a competitor.

                              Sounds like this horse needs another rider that can handle the horse. It could be suited just for what it is doing.

                              the horse is handled just fine, thank you. my daughter has an upper level horse and hasn't the time nor the inclination to add another horse to her daily grind. i love the mare tho she is not my type. how we ended up with her is another thread.
                              we are just weighing her options. fox-hunting is definitely a potential job for her and she is learning to drive. however, she is really fun on the trail and can go all day and not seem to get tired so we just thought she might like to be an endurance horse.
                              just an old sap of an owner who wants this horse to be happy and loved. not like i own a breeding operation or have an agenda or anything like that.
                              again, thank you for taking a few minutes from your day to share your thoughts on your sport. i appreciate it.


                              • #16

                                Don't let others get to you I have ridden with stocky quarter horses that have DONE 50's, and been just fine.

                                Everyone has their preference on what their ideal endurance horse is. I personally love my Arabians, but mostly because I was raised around them. My friend prefers her gaited horses, and my other friend prefers her quarter horse. They all do LD's and up with them.

                                As long as your horse is in shape, and has the willingness, I'd give it a try. Start with the LD's, then move up if you do well
                                (¯`·._¤ Jess!·._¤ ´¯)


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by 3horsemom View Post
                                  just an old sap of an owner who wants this horse to be happy and loved.
                                  Bingo! You just answered the question I was going to ask, which was... does she have to win? As long as everyone's enjoying themselves I don't think it really matters what breed your horse is... you're not out there to win a million buckles, are you? Probably not!

                                  We haven't seen your horse... there are a LOT of horses out there who don't look like you would expect them to. She could be fleshy in all the appropriate places. On top of that, she isn't in "endurance shape" at the moment... so you won't know how she'll shape up until you go there with her.

                                  On BBs, all we can really go by is what we're given... and sometimes we're left to fill in a lot of blanks on the way to giving advice/thoughts. It's not an ideal situation, and I think people tend to run with that a little more than they intend to sometimes... which leads to hurt feelings when that was never the intention. Don't feel too badly. It sounds to me like you're a grade A owner and are looking for something for your daughter and horse to enjoy... go for it!


                                  • Original Poster

                                    go the distance got it right. we are looking to find this mare a new job. i do not have any interest in endurance riding and neither does my daughter. but i have a friend who might be interested in taking the mare and doing the endurance thing but has no real experience in the sport. again, i really just want this mare to be loved and apprciated for the good horse she is.