The ideal endurance horse
What do you look for in a horse for endurance? Conformation? Personality? Experience? What about if you're looking to start a horse in endurance??
wouldn't it all depend on how serious you take the sport??
if your like me who is just doing it for fun any horse will do and i focus more on personality and conformation... don't want a crazy horse or a poorly deformed horse
if your doing for the competition aspect seriously then i would assume you want everything, good confo, personality, stamina, etc...
I look for confo, comfort of gaits, and attitude.
If my horse doesn't have good confo, how is it going to make it in the long run? Will all the long distance hurt because of poor conformation?
I need a horse that is comfortable to ride. This is why I am never going back from gaited. I tried to ride a quarter horse the other day, granted I love their lope and how powerful they are, but not for that long of a distance. Uh uh no wayyy!
Attitude: If my horse is going to spook willy nilly at the most random stupid crap ever while riding, it is a no go. I don't care if they are bred out of a horse that won the Tevis cup every year for 5 years in a row, if my horse can't relax on a ride, I can't relax on a ride, and that just takes the fun out of it. If it's just a "woohoo! We're out on a ride and this is fun and my grain was good this morning and it's chilly out!!!!" spook, that is fine. But having to be constantly watching the horse to make sure everything is ok gets really tiring, really fast. I only had one horse like that and really do not want one again.
I look for the one that is outside in my pasture, then add lots and lots of wet saddle pads.
I agree with Joe4d. But I would add that it helps if you have a horse that likes the trail and isn't lazy. My mare was fat when I got her, she's metabolic, but she loves to go all day on trails and is curious and enjoys the work. She'll probably never win a ride, but she loves it. And she isn't cuckoo.
Attitude i would say is definitely number one. Obviously good confirmation is a bonus and certainly desirable but I can use Joe as a good exception to this rule. He's wonky, cow hocked. He rotates his hips and turns his fetlocks out but this hasn't stopped him winning numerous race rides and qualifying for our country's development squad. From there, it's down to you. Training, condition and general health / happiness will all affect his performance. x
The Ideal Endurance Horse
There is a lot of very honest feedback here. We all know that a horse that is willing, safe and compatible with it's rider is a must. Nearly any horse can do endurance given enough time, conditioning and management. However, if you don't currently have a horse and want to start looking more at the conformation side of things this may help. Please note - this is what we look for in Australia for our hot and humid conditions, your conditions may vary the type of horse you are after.
Arabians and part Arabians are often sought after, as well as the hardy Brumby or Mustang types. Appaloosa's also tend to have lower heart rates.
- The lower the resting heart rate the easier it will be for you to strap your horse back to below the parameters. Unlike humans, horses resting heart rate does not get significantly lower the fitter they become.
- Good solid feet are a must. The bigger the load bearing surface the better. No hoof = no horse.
- Wide nostrils for oxygen uptake and cooling.
- A Wide chest for organs - lungs and heart.
- Height can be an indicator for a longer stride = easier ride & less strides is economical.
- Solid well formed legs.
I hope that helps a little,
I have always been told that a horse's chest should be shaped in a V for endurance not a U like some stock horses.
Attitude has to play a large part.
a horse that likes to go and go is a plus. Shalom
Heart. The horse has to want to. Yes - they need to be fit and built to withstand the miles but if they don't have the heart to want to do the miles with you - it will be no fun for either one of you.
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