• Lo Elizabeth. Kentucky Rolex starts tomorrow. You know I'm gonna be on @USEFNetwork all day. 🐎😍🙌 Retweeted by USEFNetwork 4/23/2014 11:21:10 PM
  • USEF Network Ride times for tomorrow...anybody excited yet ;) #rk3de http://t.co/ZZv790e72E 4/23/2014 10:27:47 PM
  • Amanda Kornacki Yep I'm not going to be mentally in school for the rest of the week. Instead I'm going to be watching the @RolexKentucky on usef network😊 Retweeted by USEFNetwork 4/23/2014 9:39:01 PM
  • USEF Network 12 hours...#rk3de #eventinglive http://t.co/LSdqo5gDYc 4/23/2014 9:30:38 PM
  • USEF Network We're pretty stoked to have all-star voice @JohnKyleSpeaks as our #rk3de soundtrack this year. http://t.co/3VzcieAGzM #eventinglive 4/23/2014 7:45:45 PM
  • USEF Network Large Field Ready for Start of 2014 @RolexKentucky http://t.co/cQypMPitoH It's going to be a great one! #rk3de 4/23/2014 7:14:13 PM
  • John Kyle Lovely first day at #RK3DE. @USEFNetwork broadcast should be excellent, tune in every day. Gutted for connections of the 3 horses spun. Retweeted by USEFNetwork 4/23/2014 6:49:00 PM
  • Glorious Alliance Remember that @USEFNetwork is live streaming the Rolex Kentucky and the Del Mar National this weekend!!! Retweeted by USEFNetwork 4/23/2014 6:48:52 PM
  • Kentucky Reining Cup Competitors schooling at the @KyHorsePark today to prepare for this weekend! Get tickets at http://t.co/aWzDDyDMWT! http://t.co/ERxzulkHZP Retweeted by USEFNetwork 4/23/2014 5:07:50 PM
  • USEF Network Fun info graphic from @eventingnation about the riders at #rk3de http://t.co/PCsw0JKF1w 4/23/2014 5:03:11 PM

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Endurance

As its name implies, the discipline of endurance tests a horse’s fitness and stamina, and a rider’s horsemanship skills, in a long-distance competitive format where the condition of the horse is paramount. Recognized endurance competitions can be 50-, 75- or 100-miles long, and all are held in a 24-hour period. Courses are cross-country and can include natural obstacles such as ditches, creeks and thickly forested hillsides. Strict controls and rules are in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of competing horses. Competitions can be divided by weight divisions (rider plus tack) to ensure a level playing field, and veterinary check-points are placed at various locations throughout a course to ensure that the horses are sound and fit enough to continue to the next stage.

Since the primary objective of an endurance ride is its completion, all competitors crossing the finish line are awarded. Additional ranked placings are earned by the horse and rider teams finishing the course in the best times, and as well, there are usually awards given to the best conditioned horses. Endurance rides are held all over the United States and in exotic locales all across the world. The discipline gained international recognition by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) in 1978, and the first World Championship event was held in 1986.

Rather than celebrating its heritage by simply looking into the past, endurance riding in the United States routinely revisits its history with many of its competitions taking place on historic trails, such as the Pony Express Trail, the Outlaw Trail, the Chief Joseph Trail and the Lewis and Clark Trail. In addition to providing a challenging athletic endeavor for both recreational riders and those with international competitive aspirations, endurance rides promote the importance of open-space preservation for future generations and a continuing appreciation for our American heritage. To learn more about the discipline of endurance, visit the American Endurance Ride Conference at aerc.org.