Endurance, or Long Distance Riding, consists of a course where the purpose is to complete the course in the shortest time, with a horse in good condition. The horse’s condition is monitored regularly at the ‘vetgates’, to check whether the horse is fit to finish the course.
The winner is the rider who finish in the fastest time, with a horse in good condition. Excessive fatigue, signs of lameness and other indications of problems are grounds for elimination.
Each competitor is given a map in advance showing the route of the course and the location of any compulsory halts or naturally occurring obstacles such as a ditch, steep, climb, descent or water crossing called hazards. Hazards are marked by red and white boundary flags and are left in their natural state as much as possible.
Riders are free to choose their own pace between the start and the finish of the competition. They may lead or follow their horses, but must be mounted crossing the starting line and the finish line.
International Shows are overseen by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI). There are three types of international competition, as well as Championship competitons – Concours de Raid d’Endurance International (CEI), Concours de Raid d’Endurance International Officiel (CEIO) and Combined National/FEI events (CEN/CEI).
CEIs only have individual classification. CEIOs have individual and team classification and CEN / CEIs are run in conjunction with national competitions. There are three Championship levels, 1*, 2* and 3*. 1* is between 100km and 119km in one day, in 2* for Young Horse Championships and Junior and Young Rider Championships horses cover between 120km and 130km in one day. In Senior 2* Championships horses cover between 120km and 139km. In 3* Senior Championships horses 160km in one day. 2* and 3* competitions can be run over multiple days.