Saturday, July 08, 2017

Canada: Local vet explains the art of endurance riding - Full Article

July 6 2017

By Constance Scrafield

There is all kinds of art, including more than we acknowledge, in the world of sport. To ride a horse in a 50-mile race and bring him in, also winning the award for Best Condition, takes skill, work – and finesse.

Local horse veterinarian Bri Henderson took time this week to discuss the art of endurance riding with us.

The horse in this case is her fabulous grey Arab stallion Stryder, stable name Rivendell Elessar, “one of the most competitive horses I’ve ever ridden,” Dr. Henderson said.

She described their recently won race, the Coates Creek Endurance Competition: “We went out five minutes after the group of riders went so I could keep him calm. He was quiet until he saw the others horses as we caught up to them. He realized what we were doing and then – he hunted [the other horses], passing each one. He hates a horse to be in front of him. I had to hold him back a lot of the time.”

An endurance race, essentially a competitive 50-mile trail ride at speed, is run in stages both as to the trails themselves and the breaks for recovery along the way. These latter are actually serviced stops with vets in attendance, watching the speed at which the horse’s heartbeat recovers and its general condition as to soundness of limbs and lungs – whether it is eating and drinking and is in good spirits – before horse and rider continue on their way. The ride is mapped out in loops that come and go into the area of the pit stop and vet checks...

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