English/Endurance-No Irons -What Gives?

       The Horse Forum > Horse Tack > Horse Tack and Equipment

English/Endurance-No Irons -What Gives?

This is a discussion on English/Endurance-No Irons -What Gives? within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category
  • English endurance tack
  • Do endurance riders use english leathers and irons?

LinkBack Thread Tools
    07-29-2010, 03:07 PM
English/Endurance-No Irons -What Gives?

So I've become curious about endurance trail riding and I've started to research appropriate tack. I have more questions than answers.

Why are most "endurance" saddles of the English variety? Is it because the people who compete in endurance come from the other English disciplines? Or maybe it's because the saddles are lighter and create less burden for the horse? Surely it's not because they are more comfortable for the rider over the long haul.

I'm also wondering why endurance saddles, and English saddles in general, are often sold without irons/stirrups. Are irons a really personal choice in English riding?

I'm really surprised by how little information is available about endurance trail riding. Doesn't seem to have the following that other disciplines (English or western) have. Not very many good websites devoted to it.

Sponsored Links
    07-29-2010, 03:24 PM
Blink, true endurance saddles are generally English in style because they're lighter in weight and easier on the horse.

Endurance riding is not for the occasional rider, or someone who just wants to trail ride. Heck, I've done CTRs and LDRs, and I'm nowhere near qualified to ride endurance.

Endurance is an extreme sport, and riders and horses have to be in top shape in order to compete. The catchphrase for endurance is, "To finish is to win", because so many horse/rider teams get disqualified for not being physically fit enough to continue.

It's a grueling sport, and its groups are very tight knit. Not to say you can't break into endurance, it's just finding a club in your area. They're few and far between. The closest one to me is in Fort Valley, which isn't close at all.

All English tack is sold separately. When you buy a saddle that's what you get, a saddle. No girth, no irons, no leathers.

Stirrup leathers, irons and girths are personal choice items, because they come in different sizes, makes, types, and fabrics/leather and no one size fits all.

For instance, I buy 4.75" irons, because I use jointed. When I used hard irons, I used 4.5". For someone else, 5" in hard irons might be necessary.

I prefer neoprene girths with elastic on both ends. Someone else might prefer a leather or felt girth, with no elastic. I generally use 42" or 44" girths. Someone else might need bigger or smaller, depending on their saddle and size of their horse.

Stirrup leathers come in synthetic or leather, and are of varying lengths. What I take in a leather might be too short or long for someone else.

The only reason Western saddles come with stirrups is because they're already attached. Everything else comes separately, just like English tack.
    07-29-2010, 04:22 PM
Thanks for clarifying that. It doesn't make the shopping experience any easier on me - I was hoping to have to make one decision instead of three or four. At least I won't make a fool out of myself for getting bent out of shape because all the parts aren't there!

And I appreciate the caveat on endurance trail riding. Note that I said I'm curious and doing research. I have no delusions that I'll be joining any rides any time soon.

I've found a couple of clubs within a short drive of my home, so I have some options. My plan is to attend an event as a spectator/gawker. That should give me a clearer sense of the demands of the sport, the people who participate, and whether I can stomach either one.

By the way, I don't want to give the impression that I'm going all Hidalgo here - the clubs I'm looking at do rides that are 6 to 10 miles. So, while I'm sure it's still demanding, it may not be the level of competition/endurance you're thinking of.

As always, I do appreciate your unbiased, level-headed input.

    07-29-2010, 04:27 PM
Originally Posted by blink    
I've found a couple of clubs within a short drive of my home, so I have some options. My plan is to attend an event as a spectator/gawker. That should give me a clearer sense of the demands of the sport, the people who participate, and whether I can stomach either one.
Ask to pit crew or work with the vet scribes, P/R group or timer. That is where you will hear the nitty gritty.
    07-29-2010, 04:33 PM
I was once told that English saddles are what they are because they are the perfect middle ground between rider security and freedom of movement for the disciplines ridden in such tack (jumping particularly). Any more rider-securing features, and the horse's freedom of movement would suffer; any more freedom of movement allowed for the horse, and the rider's stability would suffer, particularly over jumps or at high speed.

There are some western-style endurance-trail saddles out there. Most don't have a horn, that way the rider isn't going up a mountain with the saddle horn digging between ribs, but there are a lot of more specialized trail/endurance saddles with fenders and western-type stirrups.

Endurance Saddles
    07-29-2010, 04:35 PM
Blink, 6 to 10 mile rides aren't even considered LDRs, they're just trail rides. I like to ride at least 10 miles, sometimes more, when I trail ride.

A LDR (limited distance ride) is usually 25-45 miles. Anything over 50 is generally considered endurance. I've done LDRs up to 35 miles, but I'd hardly consider myself anywhere close to being an endurance rider.

Endurance is so tough and the terrain so difficult in some places, that there are horses and sometimes riders who lose their lives. At the Tevis Cup, usually at least one horse dies every year by falling off a cliff or down a ravine.

I think going as a spectator is a splendid idea. You'll at least get a feel for what the club is all about, and whether or not it's something you want to do.

As far as the tack purchases, we were all noobs at one point and that stuff can be confusing. It can and does get frustrating if you're not sure what you need, and sales people start garbling words at you and throwing stuff on a pile!
    07-29-2010, 04:45 PM
Yeah, SR, I went back to the sites that I found the 6 to 10 mile rides on and they make no pretense of being "endurance."

I added that inaccurate descriptor myself because I confused my "googles."

I will definitely attend one as a spectator first. And I like the advice from mls to volunteer. Hadn't considered that, but it would certainly give me an up-close vantage point and a great deal more interaction with participants.

The tack thing really is confusing. I see that so many of the trail/endurance saddles are tree-less, and yet I read so many conflicting reports on the impact these have on the horse.

And I thought buying my first bass boat was confusing!

    07-29-2010, 04:53 PM
Originally Posted by blink    
The tack thing really is confusing. I see that so many of the trail/endurance saddles are tree-less, and yet I read so many conflicting reports on the impact these have on the horse.
One huge point of advice - do not purchase anything new and use it for the first time at an actual event. Condition in or with it first! You don't need to find out 8 miles out that your horse is sore from the new cinch or you are allergic to your socks.
    07-29-2010, 05:16 PM
Good advice, mls.
Very little danger of that happening since I don't see myself participating in any events in the near future, but do hope to spend some hard earned money on tack over the next few weeks.

    07-29-2010, 07:23 PM
Don't go with fads - Get something you are comfortable in and that fits your horse. If you aren't doing huge distances then weight isn't such an issue.

Generally endurance gear is designed for comfort, durability, ease of use and weight.

You can get padded stirrups, bridles that have bits that unclip to turn into halters, etc.

Quick Reply
Please help keep the Horse Forum enjoyable by reporting rude posts.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What irons do you use? And jointed irons question QHDragon Horse Tack and Equipment 11 05-20-2010 01:59 PM
English stlye endurance saddle for trade or sale ExquisiteEquines Tack and Equipment Classifieds 40 04-20-2010 12:51 PM
good english trail/endurance saddle sheephorse Horse Tack and Equipment 0 04-18-2010 01:15 AM
Desperate for a pair of English stirrup irons.. ShannonSevenfold Tack and Equipment Classifieds 3 08-08-2009 12:04 AM
English and Endurance Saddles Juptier Horse Training 7 07-19-2007 12:04 PM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:37 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0