Monday, June 25, 2012

Canada: New event for endurance riders - Full Article

By Louise Liebenberg Special

Last weekend a sanctioned Endurance Ride took place south of High Prairie. Meghan Payne organized the very first “Payne’s Pulse Down” endurance ride, with rides of 25miles (40 km) and 50 miles (80 km) for the more competitive riders.

For those wanting to participate on a fun ride or have an introduction to endurance riding, a fantastic 12-mile (19.2 km) trail was set out.

Those participating in the fun ride did go through the same process as the riders in the competitive event, so all vet checks, pulse measurements, departing times where adhered to, in order for new riders to get a feel for what this equine sport entails.

Endurance riding on the American continents has its history dating back to the early 1900s, where cavalry horses were tested on fitness, stamina and endurance. The test required the horse and rider to go on a five-day, 300-mile ride. In the 1950s it became a civilian sport.

In 1978 the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body for World and Olympic equestrian events, recognized endurance riding as an international sport. Endurance riding and competitions are held in Europe, Asia, and the American continents incorporating over 49 countries worldwide.

Since the early days the distance and time has been reduced, with most competitions having a maximum distance of 100 miles (160 km) a day. The teams are regularly vet checked along the way to ensure that the horse is fitand has the stamina to continue on the way. Mandatory breaks and vet checks are part and parcel of the sport.

The trails in High Prairie led next to grain fields, through bush, had a number of river crossings, up some steeper banks, along open fields and through cattle pastures. The horses had to contend with a whole variety of trails which made the ride interesting to participate in...

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