By its very definition endurance is:
1. The act, quality, or power of withstanding hardship or stress.
2. The state or fact of persevering: Through hard work taking a project to completion.
3. Continuing existence; duration.
The sport of endurance riding can very well fit into this concise definition for most of the endurance riding crowd. We withstand hardship and stress in the conditioning, preparation, and care of our horses to meet the demands that will be placed upon them. The horse undertakes stress and hard work to become tough enough to continue on under the demands of competition. When we finish with a horse that is fit to continue after 25, 50, or 100 miles we have taken a project to completion. Each testing of horse and rider team is the actual race itself.
People casually looking at us from the outside see a herd of hyped up horses, riders pressing them into near
exhaustion, seemingly beyond their limits. They do not see the hundreds of hours of dedicated conditioning that precedes an endurance ride, the careful nutrition, hoof care, and myriad aspects of thoughtful consideration applied to safe guarding the well-being of the horse. The public including the horse owning general public are often extremely ill informed concerning what the sport of endurance is. They need an education.
What attracted me to endurance in the first place was the challenge. Though seasoned riders or naturally talented horses might make the sport look easy, my personal pulse rate goes up when I see others succeed on a horse that is marginal. The person who takes the horse they have, whatever breed it may happen to be, takes up the challenge and climbs through the levels. There you find the real and human aspect of what endurance riding was in the past, and continues to be today.
I challenge you, to set your sights on an endurance ride of any distance, and with the horse you have to climb the pinnacle to the highest distance you can reach. 25 miles-50 miles- 75 miles-100 miles. What kind of an equestrian are you? How fine can you hone the skills of your horsemanship. It isn't always about speed my friends. There is something inherently satisfying about enduring.