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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

January 22, 2012


In one of the older books I was reading about endurance riding, there was mention of an Endurance Horse Registry back in the day.  I'm curious as to what happened to that organization, certainly it met an untimely death, but the idea behind it made sense.  Cross breeding "proven" horses in endurance back when the competing animals were more diverse than they are today with the highest percentage of horses being Arabian, or Half Arabian.  These horses more or less rule at the sport.  But this led me to wonder something else.  What would happen to the sport if BREED DIVISIONS were opened up.  Breed divisions that would attract riders of all breeds of horses.

 Now someone will ask why?  Why should we consider this ridiculous idea of breed divisions?  To excel at the sport as it stands, for the most part you need an arabian, and you need an arabian suitable (athletic, racing bred, endurance bred, well conditioned, and/  or just darned genetically lucky) to the sport, plus all that follows that goes into that.  Those horses compete against their own kind, they excel, they pretty well do it best, or there wouldn't be so many of them in the sport.  So again, why breed divisions?  Because it would attract ALL BREEDS TO THE SPORT.      It would not dummy down the sport, and it would not change the sport.  What it would do is open the door for greater numbers to participate as they could choose to ride against their own breed for regional / National mileage or points.  A plethora of Breeds would compete against there own to prove who had the best of the breed.    Imagine going to a local club, or regional club and saying we have a platform of competition for you!  Bring your best Paint Horses, Quarter Horses, Paso Finos, Appaloosa,  Tennessee Walker, etc.  and see how he stacks up as a distance horse against all those other horses of the same breed across the country.  We have a venue for YOU.  It wouldn't even be a bubble on ride managements radar as breed information is attached to your horse's record.  It would not effect any other aspect of the sport except for being inclusive of those who prefer to ride "their kind of horse" against "their kind of horse for some breed recognition at the end of season."

Now someone will say that should be up to the breed registry or club.  Folks, the breed clubs don't give a rat's petunia about our kind of rider for the most part.  A few have a distance program, but mostly they do not.  They want to prove those horses in the show ring, and register lots of offspring.  It is your serious trail riders who might find this an exciting new venue for their horse.

See what happens when I get iced in?  My mind starts chomping like a bear trap.


La la la, la la la.

I vacuumed the bedroom today.

La la la, la la la.
☺~ E.G.


  1. That's an interesting idea! I did attend a ride with Dazzby (Prineville Ride in Oregon) where they gave an award to the top horse of each breed to complete- I thought it was really cool.
    There were two TBs that completed so the fastest (not me and my horse!) got an award.
    Its fun to see what breeds are out there competeing too!
    It would definately have to come from the endurance organization for my breed, it would be a cold day before the Jocky Club would want to keep stats on endurance horses- there's no $$$$ in that:)

  2. EG- I always enjoy reading your blog, so there is an award for you over at Wren Loop Tbs. Karen

  3. I SO get where you are coming from (it would be great for people to feel included, etc)...

    But... there are horses competing internationally that aren't arabs - then the non-arabs would still need to compete against them.

    I'm from Australia, so my examples are Aussie-centric.

    Example One: Penny Toft's horse Don is a New Zealand stationbred. See (scroll down for the picture of him). Don went to WEG 2008 and 2010.

    Example Two (you will love this one!): Another Toft horse- Electra BBP Murdoch is Appaloosa/Arab. See

    Their competition results within Australia are (respectively): and

    Also... what division are you in when you have unknown breeding (or stationbred)?

    I do like the idea :) Just thinking it through ;)

  4. I did get a major kick out of that. Lil Ol Appy can be seen here:

    You see...I want to compete against the Appy's and I can't unless I get Journey spade. Then she could be registered with the organization that has the distance program. Not going to have surgery on my horse so I can do that... I guess we will just have to be satisfied being whipped by those ARABS!

    But it is an interesting concept, and very fascinating to see that other breeds are elite enough to compete on the international level.

  5. The Endurance Horse Registry was something that Karen Zontelli in CA had going for awhile, but I think it faded due to lack of interest, and these things do take time, and a bit of money to keep going, even it it was just certificates she used to send out.

    That being said, who would pay for these awards for the breeds? AERC? Many say they have to many awards already. Ride managers? They try to keep costs down as it is, which keeps entries down.

    If one wants a way to recognize their breed, then keep after the breeds registry with stories, photos etc. of what they achieve with that breed, and then ask to have programs, awards etc. set up.

    The Appaloosa club does offer ROM in distance. Have to do 50's or Open NATRC rides...

  6. Journey's hardship registration won't qualify her for any of the Appy distance programs unless she is spayed and registered then through them.

    On awards. I look at awards a little differently. I think that a photo/recognition in the year end publication would be enough, or a nice certificate with your horse's photo. Awards don't have to be expensive jackets/ blankets,trophies etc. I guess it depends on who you are and what you are satisfied by.

    There is always "talk" on building membership, and being inclusive would open up the door for all breeds to really participate in the sport on a level playing field. I know nobody is going to take that ball and start rolling it, but it could potentially generate new membership out of the various breed organizations.

    Part of the problem I suspect in getting "new" membership is that endurance/ distance riding is a niche, and the niche is only "so big". Adding new membership, and growing an organization may take some outside the box thinking at some point.

    I don't claim to be the box. ~ E.G.