Not sure what exactly the discipline of Endurance entails? We have everything you’ll need to know when the Meydan Endurance competition makes an appearance at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ this September. Here are a few fast facts:
- Competition consists of phases (or legs of the race): No phase may exceed 40 km and cannot be less than 16km.
- The horses’ ears should be free of any inserts or attachments. Ear plugs are forbidden.
- The minimum riding weight for athletes is 154 lbs (70kg) including all riding equipment. (Riders are weighed before competition)
- The use of mobile phones and GPS devices are permitted.
- Riders must be at least 14-years-old and authorized by their National Federation to compete.
- Horses must be at least 9-years-old.
Already know you want to come watch the Meydan Endurance competition at the WEG this September? Click here for tickets!
Meydan Endurance will be held on Wednesday, September 12, with the medal ceremony following the next day. Scroll down to get a play by play of the competition.
Wednesday, September 12: Team/Individual Competition
6:30 AM: Riders and their horses gather at the start line and once the officials are in place, they take off!
The Endurance discipline is very similar to running a marathon, but with the addition of a horse. It’s a long-distance competition that’s timed, however, the main goal is the well-being of the horse and rider throughout the course and at the end of the race.
The course is a total distance of 100 miles (160km) and is split up into phases that are between 16km and 40km. At the end of each phase, there will be a compulsory halt for a horse inspection and a timed hold. The timed hold for all phases must meet a minimum ratio of 1 minute per 1 km. (i.e. following a 35 km phase, a minimum Timed Hold of 35 minutes.) This gives the horse and rider time to recuperate before the next phase.
The course should include naturally occurring or manmade features such as tracks, ditches, steep climbs, descents and water crossings that implements challenging factors. These challenges will test the riders’ ability to judge their horse’s speed and capabilities over different terrains. It also cannot contain more than 10% of hard surface public access roads intended for vehicular use.
The team will consist of up to four athletes and four horses, plus a reserve combination (horse and rider), a non-riding Chef d’Equipe, a Team Veterinarian, and grooms. In the Team competition there will be a drop score and the reserve combination cannot compete if not in the Team.
The Vet Check:
After each phase, the horse must undergo a veterinary inspection, during which the horse must demonstrate its fitness to continue. Three main criteria are inspected: the heart rate recovery, the metabolic stability and the gait (soundness). The maximum heart rate for passing the inspection is 64 bpm. Teams are allowed one re-inspection if they fail one of the parameters during the vet check.
After competing, a horse must be given a mandatory minimum rest period of 33 days before it is eligible to participate in another National or FEI Competition.
Now that you know a little bit about Endurance, you should know a fun fact about how the sport originated. The United States Cavalry used to test ride their horses on a five-day, 300-mile (483km), ride carrying cargo. The idea caught on, and the first competition was held in the 1950s.
Purchase your tickets today and come cheer on your teams or individual riders this September!
September 12: Meydan Endurance Competition
September 13 at 12:30pm: Medal Ceremony