Are there any that would be better suited for 50's or even up to 100's than others? Obviously, it would take proper conditioning for any horse, but I wouldn't take my super-muscled QH on anything longer than a 50 (if that), just because his body isn't built for it (heavily muscled overheat easier from what I understand). So, if I was looking for a horse that I could use for serious endurance riding, what would you recommend?
I would *guess* most of the North American gaited breeds would have a fair shot at endurance but I don't know that first hand. I know they are used extensively for trail riding and competitive trail riding.
You're best bet is going to be a TWH or a fox trotter.
Some TWH have a leaner build and are pretty athletic. A horse that does a true, easy running walk is best. That gait is very energy efficent.
Fox trotters seem to do well in distance as well. The fox trot is also a very good gait for the long run.
Make sure you avoid a horse that has a lot of action and short, flashy steps. Action is a waste of energy. A lot of horses that do a true rack don't do well because that gait takes so much out of them. (Saddle rackers not so much, depending again on their action.)
You may want a horse with multiple gears. There are advanges and disadvantages, but with more than one gait, you can switch from one to another when your horse gets tired. Uses different muscle groups. Several friends of mine have gaited horses that walk/step pace/rack/trot/canter, or horses that fox trot and hard trot.
Shawneefarms breeds 100 mile winners mostly the newer style thin bodied walkers. Mine started that way and is getting big shoulder muscles. He is 15 hands and I am 220, so far we have done 25's. He can hold 8 mph for 24 miles non stop, we will be doing our first 50 in may. My friend just came in 15th out of 85 at the foxcatcher 50 in Md on a small bodied TWH.
Joe--are you talking about Keith? I have read his posts about his rides.
Jillybean--I think the site is Shawnee Sunrise Farm and Keith and his wife do endurance rides (50s and 100s) on Walkers and Fox Trotters. He's a very descriptive writer and tells a good story. Check him out.