September 24, 2009
For the first time ever, the Arabian Horse Association (AHA) will combine the National Endurance Ride and National Competitive Trail Ride into one week of exciting competition for the National Distance Championship set for October 27-31 at Lake Carl Blackwell in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Competition begins Tuesday, October 27, with the AHA National Championship 100-Mile Endurance Ride, coupled with three coinciding American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) sanctioned rides. The AHA National Championship competitive trail ride (CTR) spans two days, October 28-29. The last two days of competition will feature the AHA National Championship 50-Mile Endurance Ride on October 30 with Open rides on October 31. The Ozark Country Endurance Riders (OCER) will host a Halloween special, Witch Way Ride, on October 31.
Distance riding combines stamina, endurance and athleticism in ways few other equine disciplines do. Endurance rides are best described as a cross-country contest of 50 or more miles. Horse and rider cover a measured course within a specified maximum time at any pace they choose. Near every 20-mile mark, horses are examined by a veterinarian who has the power to pull a horse from the competition or put a hold on a horse-and-rider team, allowing time for the horse to rest and recover. An endurance ride is won by the horse-and-rider team that crosses the finish line first, although an award is also awarded to the horse that is in the best condition after finishing, as determined by a veterinarian.
In contrast to endurance riding, a competitive trail ride (CTR) is usually shorter, normally 25-50 miles. Riders are required to complete the ride within a certain window of time based on a speed of 6-8 mph and adjusted for difficult terrain and weather conditions. Riders who do not complete the ride within the time window will be either disqualified or penalized. The horse deemed winner is one that completed the course in the allotted time, while also maintaining the best condition, as determined by a post-ride exam.
The National Distance Championship is free and open to the public. Spectators are invited to base camp where the veterinarian check point is located and horses and riders transition from one leg of the race to the next.
The dates of the National Distance Championships coincide with that of the U.S. Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma, about an hour and half away, giving horse lovers in Oklahoma plenty to watch in October. Arabians, Half-Arabians and Anglo-Arabians, known for their versatility and athleticism will be on display at the National Distance Championships and U.S. Nationals for the public to enjoy everything from the grueling 100-mile endurance ride to the glitz and glamour of English pleasure and the excitement of working cow classes.
For more information visit ArabianHorses.org/competitions or call (303) 696-4500.
AHA is a major equine association serving 35,000 members across North America. It registers and maintains a database of more than one million Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses and administers approximately $3 million in annual prize money. AHA produces championship events, recognizes close to 600 Arabian horse shows and distance rides and provides activities and programs that promote breeding and ownership. For information about Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses, call 303-696-4500, e-mail info@ArabianHorses.org or visit www.ArabianHorses.org.