umm not quite, Under AERC rules, which sanctions actual "Endurance" An Endurance race is 50 mile or longer. LD's are 25-35 miles usually. They are also every bit a Race.
RACE : a contest of speed, as in running, riding, driving, or sailing.
You start at one point and RACE to another. He who comes in first with a horse fit to continue is the winner. The winner is based soley on time. As long as your horse isnt pulled by the vet. There are some other sports that have other scoring systems that arnt races, these are not properly refereed to as endurance, they are competitive trail. Courses are grueling and even finishing is an accomplishment. SOrta like a marathon. Many are entered for the challenge of just finishing, sorta like me. But they are still timed contests of speed.
There is a side event after the race. The top 10 finishers can stand for best conditioned. This is a formula that takes into account rider weight and condition of the horse at finnish as judged by the vets.
You generally need to maintain 6mph average to finish on time. 5mph will cut it to close on pulse down time. Winners may be doing 15 mph average. That's flat getting it over a 50 mile course.
Joe4d is technically correct. However, there is a little more to it. There are two types of riders: those that compete to win, and those that compete for miles. YOU have to decide what kind of rider you're going to be - more miles completed or more wins? These are rarely the same rider.
Here's how the "winners" are decided: Placing
: All riders are placed based upon the order they complete the race AND are deemed "fit to continue" and are therefore are awarded a "completion" and palced. If you are pulled (deemed not "fit to continue"), even if you "complete" the race, you are not awarded a "completion" and are therefore not placed or awarded. So yes, there is technically first place. Best Condition
: This is arguably the most coveted award. If you come in 1-10th place, you are allowed to "stand for Best Condition" - you are NOT automatically considered for this award. In addition to "completing", you have to complete a CRI (cardiac recovery index) within 10 minutes of finishing the race, then go clean up and come back an hour later for an additional CRI. Your vet scores, weight, and completion time are then put into a formula to determine the "Best Conditioned horse" High Vet Score
: You have to be in the top 10 and stand for best conditioned to receive this award. It is simply the horse with the overall highest scores from the vet. AERC does not give points for this award, however. It's still nice though. Turtle
: I'm not sure if this is a regional thing, but the rides around here all award Turtle for the last place rider within the time limit. I compete for this award - and it can get very competitive! I am building my collection of cute turtles I've gotten for this award
I personally think AERC endurance rides should be viewed like a marathon (FEI is very different) - there is technically a "winner", but many race to simply complete the race without regard to their placing. I LOVE competing for turtle because I stop and take lots of pictures and just enjoy the beautiful scenery I'm riding through
AND, my horse gets to take it easier as well, so I don't really worry about getting pulled! However, you still have to keep a decent average pace, so I still do serious conditioning - I just got back from my last ride and got 2nd in the LD and Turtle in the 50
, so he's in good shape and capable of going faster, but that's just how I like to ride!