Endurance riding is an extremely strenuous form of horse racing, requiring the horse to complete, at the top levels, for up to 160 km. Winning riders complete these 160km rides in 10-12 hours. Any breed can compete, but Arabians generally dominate the top levels because of their incredible stamina and natural endurance.
Endurance racing consists of varied terrain through a course in the desert. There are mandatory check points where all horses must pass a veterinary inspection, including tests for heart rate, respiratory abilities and dehydration. A horse must pass the inspection to continue on to the next checkpoint, including a final inspection at the end of the race to clock an official time. Any horse that does not pass a test in the checkpoint, or is considered lame, is eliminated from the race. Riders must have knowledge on their horse’s condition and watch for signs of tiring.
In some countries, the winner is determined by a combination of speed and the recovery rate of the horse. In other countries, no places are given and awards are presented to any horse and rider that achieved a required standard.
Endurance riding was introduced to the Asian Games for the very first time in Doha Asian Games 2006.
Endurance Races in Qatar are held in Juniors and Seniors categories. Juniors usually compete in 60km and 80km races, while Seniors compete in 80km, 100km and 160km.