Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Equestrian endurance at Asian Games (Reuters)
29 November 2006
Factbox on the equestrian endurance event, which will feature for the first time at the Asian Games in Doha between Dec. 1 and 15:
WHAT IS THE ENDURANCE EVENT?
· Endurance riding is an extremely strenuous form of horse racing which tests the speed and endurance of a horse. It involves racing at controlled speeds over distances of many tens of kilometres. During the 15th Asian Games, the endurance course will cover 120 km.
· A good endurance horse is characterised by balanced body structure, relatively light weight and a strong back. Any breed can compete but Arabians, endowed with natural stamina, generally dominate at the top levels. Most importantly, the horse?s temperament must suit the rider.
· Wendell Robie, an American breeder of Arabian horses, is credited as the pioneer of the modern sport of endurance riding. In 1955, he founded the founded the Western States Trail Ride, a 160-km, one-day ride from Lake Tahoe to Auburn, California, via an old Pony Express route.
· Endurance was a demonstration sport at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and was recognised as an official discipline by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) in 1983. The sport makes it Asian Games debut in Doha.
· An endurance ride is a competition against the clock. The horse that finishes the course in the shortest time wins. The winning team is the one with the best time after adding the classifications of the three highest placed competitors.
· Horses must be at least six years old to qualify. Competitions are held in phases, with no phase longer than 40 km. When the condition of a horse is assessed at the end of each phase, its heart rate must be no higher than 64 beats per minute.
· FEI guidelines state that the course should not contain more than 10 percent of hard surface roads intended for vehicular traffic. Also, the most demanding part of the course should not be near the finish.
Sources: Reuters; Doha Asian Games Web site (www.doha-2006.com); FEI (www.horsesport.org)
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