November 16, 2021  /  News

An Introduction to Endurance Riding

If you like horse riding then you’re going to love endurance riding. It gives you the chance to spend some serious time in the saddle and develop a deep sense of companionship between you and your horse. You also get to ride in hidden areas of the British countryside that are often not open to the public and experience the sense of adventure and pride that you get from completing a challenge. 

Over the years, we’ve developed dozens of endurance riding tracks and want to use our insight and experience to shed some light on this fast-growing discipline. 

What is endurance riding?

Endurance riding is a ‘race’ over long-distance trails, with anything from 16km to 160km covered each day. Each ride typically takes place over one to three days on terrain that can be challenging and differ quite dramatically from one event to the next. 

The beauty of endurance riding is that you can be as competitive as you want. At the lower levels of the sport, the mantra is very much ‘to finish is to win’, and the sense of adventure you feel from tackling new landscapes and the accomplishment of conquering long distances is the prize. 

To finish the ride, you have to be tuned into your horse and be able to maintain a steady pace over long distances. The health and welfare of your horse should always be your top priority, with checks made by judges and qualified veterinarians before, during and after every ride. 

What are the different levels of endurance riding in the UK?

There are three levels of endurance riding in the UK: pleasure, graded and competitive.


These fun and often sponsored rides take place around the country and typically cover between 10km to 30km per day. There’s no time limit to complete the ride, so you can enjoy yourself and take as long as you like.


This type of ride is more technical and your horse must pass veterinary checks before and after the event. At the end of the ride, you will be given a grading of between one and four, with one being the best. This is calculated based on your speed and your horse’s recovery rate.


In a competitive endurance ride, all the riders start together and race over distances of between 80km to 160km per day to see who can cross the finishing line first. There are periodic veterinary checks throughout the race to make sure your horse is fit and healthy. 

What equipment do you need for endurance riding?

There’s a common misconception that only Arabian horses are suitable for endurance riding, but that’s not the case. Other muscular horses such as draft crosses, cobs and robust ponies are all capable of completing endurance rides, but you should not push them to travel too quickly.  

As well as a suitable horse, you’ll also need some essential equipment, including:

  • Saddle – You need a saddle that’s comfortable and fits the horse and rider well. You may choose to buy a custom-made endurance or trail saddle if you stick with the sport. You’ll also need a saddle pad or blanket and at least one girth. 
  • Bridle – You can take your choice of bridle. Bitless bridles make it easier for the horse to eat and drink while synthetic bridles are easier to clean.
  • Halter and lead rope – You may choose to use a halter and rope at vet stops but it’s not mandatory.  
  • Feed – Take hay, grain and supplements to keep your horse well-nourished during the ride. Water and electrolytes are also essential to avoid dehydration. 
  • Weather protection – Rain sheets, blankets, sponges, buckets and coolers are all necessary to keep your horse cool when it’s hot or warm in colder weather. Riders should also take plenty of layers that they can add/remove throughout the day.   
  • Hoof protection – It’s also important to take some hoof boots for protection unless you know the trail will be soft footing.  

British Equestrian has put together a podcast on Endurance Riding if you want to learn more. 

Endurance riding tracks

Endurance riding is very demanding for your horse, so it must be well trained. It can take 12 months or longer to train your horse for a 50-mile endurance ride and even several years to compete over 100 miles plus. That’s why endurance training tracks can be such a benefit. 

Those with access to endurance riding tracks have a distinct advantage during endurance fitness training. Our equestrian division spends the winter months creating stables, gallops and endurance riding tracks across the southeast, and we can create a riding surface to match all budgets and disciplines.

Call 01284 or email office@ojneilcontracting.co.uk if you would like to discuss your endurance track requirements with our team. 


We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. View more
Cookies settings
Privacy & Cookie policy
Privacy & Cookies policy
Cookie name Active

Who we are

Our website address is: https://ojneilcontracting.co.uk.

What personal data we collect and why we collect it


When visitors leave comments on the site we collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection.

An anonymized string created from your email address (also called a hash) may be provided to the Gravatar service to see if you are using it. The Gravatar service privacy policy is available here: https://automattic.com/privacy/. After approval of your comment, your profile picture is visible to the public in the context of your comment.


If you upload images to the website, you should avoid uploading images with embedded location data (EXIF GPS) included. Visitors to the website can download and extract any location data from images on the website.

Contact forms


If you leave a comment on our site you may opt-in to saving your name, email address and website in cookies. These are for your convenience so that you do not have to fill in your details again when you leave another comment. These cookies will last for one year.

If you visit our login page, we will set a temporary cookie to determine if your browser accepts cookies. This cookie contains no personal data and is discarded when you close your browser.

When you log in, we will also set up several cookies to save your login information and your screen display choices. Login cookies last for two days, and screen options cookies last for a year. If you select "Remember Me", your login will persist for two weeks. If you log out of your account, the login cookies will be removed.

If you edit or publish an article, an additional cookie will be saved in your browser. This cookie includes no personal data and simply indicates the post ID of the article you just edited. It expires after 1 day.

Embedded content from other websites

Articles on this site may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the exact same way as if the visitor has visited the other website.

These websites may collect data about you, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with that embedded content, including tracking your interaction with the embedded content if you have an account and are logged in to that website.


Who we share your data with

If you request a password reset, your IP address will be included in the reset email.

How long we retain your data

If you leave a comment, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely. This is so we can recognize and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue.

For users that register on our website (if any), we also store the personal information they provide in their user profile. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time (except they cannot change their username). Website administrators can also see and edit that information.

What rights you have over your data

If you have an account on this site, or have left comments, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.

Where we send your data

Visitor comments may be checked through an automated spam detection service.

Your contact information

Additional information

How we protect your data

What data breach procedures we have in place

What third parties we receive data from

What automated decision making and/or profiling we do with user data

Industry regulatory disclosure requirements

Save settings
Cookies settings