This manual is a how-to-guide for prospective competitive trail, endurance and ride & tie competitors. You'll find 36 pages of insightful information covering the following topics:
Words of Wisdom: Veterans Speak
Resources / Sources of Helpful Information
Distance Ride Organizations
Distance Equipment Checklist
It addresses the most critical information a person will need to enjoy themselves and have a safe, as well as competitive, experience. The horse's safety is always paramount in distance sports, and the information provided reflects this concern. The AHA distance ride family encourages you to get involved with these fast-growing sports.
The distance rider has numerous options from beginner rides at the local level to world endurance events sponsored by international equestrian organizations. Whether a rider prefers a relaxed and casual day with friends, or a grueling, extreme sport, there is a place for every kind of rider.
Distance riding is not an exact science. Like other horse activities, there are varied opinions regarding training, ride strategy, riding technique and form, equine nutrition and breed selection. One fact to note is that although different breeds participate in distance riding sports, Arabians are popular because they have shorter, stronger backs that allow them to carry substantial weight in comfort and large nostrils and windpipe for greater lung capacity. Arabians also tend to exhibit greater bone density and hoof quality with better shock absorption. Their hooves are actually more dense and larger, helping them to stay sound longer than other breeds. In addition, the lighter muscling dissipates heat and lactic acid more readily than other breeds.
The motto endorsed by many distance riders, "To Finish is to Win," means that completion of a competitive trail or endurance ride and bringing a horse to the finish line "fit to continue" is an exhilarating reward unto itself.
You're invited to join this special community of incredible horses and the people they inspire.
Distance Riding Origins
Originally, man could move from place to place only by foot. With the domestication of the horse, he dramatically increased the distance he could travel. With the invention of the internal combustion engine, followed by the mass production of the automobile, horses no longer were needed for travel.
As a consequence, the horse population in North America rapidly declined, along with the knowledge of caring for this living transport provider. The United States Cavalry had, by necessity, perfected its equine knowledge, including saddlery, riding procedures and veterinary care for horses traveling many miles a day. With the mechanization of the Cavalry, this source of knowledge was scattered. Care of the horse being ridden long distances is still extremely important, especially if the rider needs his or her mount fit and strong to continue down the trail.
Besides the ability to move rapidly over a variety of terrain, horses also provided man with companionship. Currently, many people have found caring for and riding horses excellent recreation. The horse population has increased, as various equestrian sports and activities have evolved, including riding on trails for pleasure and in competition. These activities require horsemen to condition their mounts for participation. This conditioning includes not only hours of riding, but also good equine care, preventative medicine and proper nutrition.