An Endurance Ride is a competition against the clock to test the speed and endurance of the horse. It requires extensive preparation and a deep knowledge and understanding between horse and rider. Even though the rides are timed, the emphasis is on finishing in good condition rather than coming in first.
Endurance Riding began as a necessity rather than a sport. Horseback riding was the main transportation means for centuries and reliable horses that could travel long distances while remaining healthy were much sought after. Endurance became a competitive sport in the 1950s. In 1983, the FEI approved Endurance as an official discipline.
Modern competitions consist of a number of phases. At the end of each phase, in principle at least every 40 km, there is a compulsory halt for veterinary inspection, called a vetgate. Each horse must be presented for inspection within a set time of reaching the vetgate.