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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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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.
 

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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 ;)
 

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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.
 

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I ride an arabian and my friend rides a standardbred cross, and that horse wears my arabian out.
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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.
 

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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.
 

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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!!!!

Nancy
 

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Arabians, Akhal Teke and any desert bred horse for going distances on limited resources is a good bet. Not all are wonderful, but you have better chances. I, personally, ride and Arab cross, and I will always ride a cross because I love what the *colder* breeds bring to the equation in terms of willingness to eat, drink, and personally 'rate' better than many PB Arabs in a racing situation (you may not be racing, but many times your horse THINKS you are and that can be tough). But I love the Arab blood in her that makes her FORWARD and pulse down like a rock. Crosses don't often get the best of both worlds, but sometimes you get lucky. But you can also ride gaited breeds, too, if that's your passion. I know Rockys and Pasos that do quite well. A lot of it depends on the individual horse - some love it and have the genetic predisposition to be good. Some have one or the other, and sometimes that just isn't enough if your goal is winning. My horse has some things about her that will prevent her from ever winning an Endurance race, but so bit it. She's awesome and she does well enough for me.

That all being said, the horse you HAVE in your pasture RIGHT NOW is the best to start endurance with. Go to some rides, learn about conditioning and rating and all the gobblydygook with your pal. IF you decide you want to go big and be a top ten rider, then consider buying a new mount if your horse isn't cutting it, but it is best and easiest to learn the ropes with the horse you have, and then move on when you are ready to move up. What breed you choose depends on how you want to ride.
 

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I plan on doing my first endurance ride in April. I will be riding my gaited saddle racking horse. He was rescued as a 2 year old currently 10ish. He has been extensively trail ridden in the Tennessee mountains and will go all day long at a fast gait. While our other TWH usually don't drink often, he will every time. He also leaves them in the dust:)
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I have actually done a paper on this and it was really interesting researching! Findings were that of course the Arab is still excelling at the sport along with Anglo-Arabs that are the perfect mix of Arab (for endurance) and TB (for speed). Most surprisingly was that Welsh Cobs do really well in lower level endurance races, they have a choppy gait but they have the stamina to do well :)
 

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i personally prefer arabians for endurance...i have two that i am training for it..my little 14.2hh mare is stocky and yet small and sure footed,she can go on forever if you let her lol...my gelding is 15.2 ...loooong legs...slender and long neck..yet i wont be taking him on any races over 50 miles due to the fact he is a bit larger and it will take longer for him to cool down at vet checks..not to mention i fret over his old healed low bow in his left front leg..dispite the fact he is sound..i dont plan on pushing it...another breed i could possibly see doing it would be morgans...as i have known some morgans to do endurance quite successfully.
 

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Shagya is one i've never heard of, so I googled it--oh my, major WANT! love how that horse is built. wow.

I have an odd situation--I take in yearlings for a fella, and do the ground work for him. these are TB's used in chuckwagon racing, and some track racking. some are half breeds with friesians too.

last summer he was going to europe and called as he had an orphan. the mare just woudln't take her, he'd forced the mare for the first 2 weeks then gave up and went to a bottle. since he wasn't going to be around, he brought her to me at 6 weeks, and I finished raising her on goat milk, i weaned her at 5.5 months. then the owner gifted her to me, and now is getting me her papers!

her brother is top wheel horse in canada, and i am told her sire (or grand sire?) still has records on the track.

does this little girl have any chance to being a LD horse? of course i won't really know for 4 more years!
 

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TBs have a lot more endurance to them than most people give them credit for, my first 2 horses in LDs were OTTBs. I'm starting back this year with a project OTSTB trotter who has a lovely rack/singlefoot and thinks 7 miles is a warm up.
 
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I have quite a few very close friends who do endurance...100 mile races. i asked this to them. they all said Arabians and Thoroughbreds are the best picks. They said that Thoroughbreds are getting more and more popular, and are actually doing better then the arabians now! i used to live right next door next to an endurance barn (EVERYONE there does enduance racing) and most were arabians, but the people said that they will be getting a thoroughbred for their next endurance horse. same with my friend in TN. she does endurance with one of her arabs and she just recently bought a TB. I plan on doing some endurance with my boy who is a TB, but i dont think he would do so good, because he a big big boy. so maybe the shorter ones, and for the longer ones i would make sure he conditioned for it and will take it easy. i dont care about being one of the fastest. just do it for fun.
 

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Over here in Australia, arabians definitely dominate, but there are quite a few standardbreds out competing along side them. Haven't heard of any TB over here doing well (over 80km)

We don't really have any exotic breeds, the ones that do exist go out and clean up in the hack rings.
 

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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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Not endurance racing, but day-in day-out riding of 15-20 miles a day... I have two of these little barrel-shaped trains/mares and they are also unstoppable.

Maybe pregnant-looking and short is the way to go...
 

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I ride a thoroughbred who was bred for racing but turned out too small. She's a cracker of a mare though hard as nails we're competing for Ireland this year. She just doesn't know the meaning of tired!! I've competed ex-racehorses too some of them take to it some of them don't. You can get some fab ex-racers for cheap if you have the time and experience to retrain them but in my experience they're a pleasure to own and work with.
 
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