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an endurance rideThe sport of endurance involves horse and rider crossing long-distances at a set speed in a competitive environment. The rides vary in length and terrain, which allows a wide range of horse types and riding abilities to take part.

Ensuring the horses’ welfare is at the heart of endurance riding with horses having to pass vet checks during and at the end of rides. Vets can prevent a horse from continuing a ride if they are not happy with the horse’s condition. A rider whose horse does not recover sufficiently in a set time at the end of an endurance ride will be eliminated.

Unfortunately the sport has been tarnished at international level by the actions of some riders, who appear to have a “win at all costs” mentality, rather than putting their horse’s welfare first. A number of horses have died as a result. The use of prohibited substances in the sport is another cause of concern.

The FEI has taken action to tighten up the rules around the sport, but there is still considerable concern surrounding the sport at the highest level.