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This is a discussion on Breeds?? within the Endurance Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Which breeds of horse have slow twitch muscles
  • Good endurance horse breed

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    01-20-2014, 02:55 PM

Are there any breeds that would excel in endurance riding than other breeds? Or would it just depend on the horse?
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    01-20-2014, 03:03 PM
Often times you will hear someone say "breed doesn't matter" but here, it kind of does. Well, to a degree. You won't see many Clydesdales in endurance or Shires but you will see Arabians, Saddlebreds, Thoroughbreds etc... You will see mixes as well but usually the lighter framed, breeds that are bred for it. Think about what a horse was originally bred to do.
    01-20-2014, 03:23 PM
Endurance is a little bit different in that there is one particular breed that everyone seems to use... Arabians. They were bred for endurance in the desert, so really most of what we do in terms of endurance is a piece of cake to them ;)
    01-20-2014, 03:40 PM
I you look for a breed that excels in endurance: Arabians, no doubt about it. It also depends on the horse, not ALL arabians are good in endurance.

Then, you have many other breeds that do well: arabian crosses, gaited horses, stb, mustangs, some QH, even mules, etc.

If you're looking to have fun with your horse, no matter what breed, I believe any breed can do some distance riding with basic conditioning.
phantomhorse13 likes this.
    01-20-2014, 09:59 PM
I ride an arabian and my friend rides a standardbred cross, and that horse wears my arabian out.
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    01-20-2014, 10:13 PM
Green Broke
Mostly Arabians and half Arabians. But you'll find a "freak" every once in a while. I have a SSH who destroys my Arabian endurance wise. That SSH pulses down on par with well conditioned Arabs, and is a force of nature on the CTR circuit. She doesn't look like an endurance horse; she's big (15.2 at least), bulky compared to most Arabs, round barreled...

All in all, Arabians are a safe choice. But there are individuals out there of many breeds that can take a trail like a machine. (I know a couple fox trotters/fox trotter crosses who are particularly noteworthy.)

Unfortunately, you don't know how far your horse can go until you condition it and see how far you can make it.
    01-20-2014, 10:17 PM
The standardbred my friend rides is short and very round, she looks pregnant. But she is like a train, just chugging along.
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Idrivetrotters likes this.
    01-20-2014, 10:21 PM
This is the mare, her name is Victoria
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Idrivetrotters likes this.
    01-21-2014, 03:10 AM
I did not see Shagya mentioned on the thread and while they have a lot of Arabian blood, they have been bred to be bigger than pure Arabians.
The requirements for breeding are quite convoluted and because the breed is much younger (than Arabian) the rules are very strict. A major one is no more than 9 purebred Arabians in the fourth generation of a Shagya.

I have looked at the Tevis results from past years and am a bit surprised not to see almost any Shagya horses there (1-2 per year), but maybe they are just not that popular in North America.

Another breed that makes good endurance horses and not mentioned so far is the Trakehner. Also quite a lot of Arabian blood in there.
KigerQueen likes this.
    01-21-2014, 09:14 AM
Generally speaking, the larger the horse, the longer it takes to pulse down. In cool climates, this is not as critical as hot, humid climates.

You know how some horses work a little bit, and you can see a lot of their veins pop up? That is a good indicator of how the horse cools itself, and therefore lowers its pulse.

Different breeds also have different types of muscles. QH have "fast twitch" muscle type, good for bursts of speed, but not long distances, without a lot of conditioning. Those muscles are usually bigger, and hold heat.

Arabians have "slow twitch" muscles, which are good for long distances, and the muscles are smaller and stringier, so they do not hold as much heat.

Endurance as a sport is really all about the human being able to READ the horse, and adjust the goals on the fly for the benefit of the animal. You may start out wanting to WIN, but adjust because the horse is hot, thirsty, hungry.... You may start out saying, " I am staying at the back of the pack, going slow", and the horse just keeps trucking along, and ends up first!!!!


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