Lexington, Ky. – Since 2020, the USEF Endurance Sport Committee has worked on building an accessible, sustainable endurance program to bridge the gap between grassroots endurance rides to the FEI level. The committee has released its five-point plan known as Endurance for Tomorrow, which establishes the following five programs:
- New national endurance zones
- Annual Zone Qualification Championships
- A biennial Zone Team Challenge
- A USEF Endurance National Championship
- USEF year-end and career awards, achievement programs, and revised ranking programs.
The goal of the USA Endurance program is to develop opportunities for participation at all levels of the sport, an increased number of events across zones, and collaboration with grassroots organizations and individuals. The program aims to promote a cooperative working relationship between US Equestrian and other national, regional, and breed organizations that have developed and supported American endurance riding for decades.
New USA Endurance Zones and Zone Championships
The proposed new National Endurance Zones consist of a northern and southern region within each of the four time zones in the continental U.S.
Zone team events will provide more accessible opportunities for endurance athletes to have team experience. These events will create more opportunities to enjoy the sport and facilitate more riders entering the pathway toward potential future U.S. Endurance Team selection. Additionally, annual Zone Qualification Championships will be a points-based program in which riders can earn points for US Equestrian year-end awards and potential long listing for team selection.
Zone Team Challenge and USEF Endurance National Championship
The Zone Team Challenge is proposed as a biennial event with divisions for Seniors and Young Riders/Junior Riders, at the 160 km and 120 km distances, respectively. Athletes will have the opportunity to represent their Zone on a team with three to five riders.
The newly revised USEF Endurance National Championship will welcome competitors who qualify at a Zone Qualifying Championship or completing an FEI-recognized ride at the same or greater distance.
Both of these proposed championships will also include team competition opportunities at shorter distances to promote inclusivity and grassroots participation.
New Year-End and Achievement Awards
A series of new achievement awards will recognize athletes and horses for their accomplishments in the preceding season and over their careers. The proposed awards include the following:
- Career Horse Mileage Recognition
- Career Rider Mileage Recognition
- Career Horse/Rider Combination Recognition
- International Achievement Recognition
- Top Three National-Ranked Senior Riders
- Top Three National-Ranked Junior Riders
- Endurance Horse of the Year Award
- Endurance Rider of the Year Award
- Endurance Best Condition Season Award
- Endurance Iron Horse Award
- Top Five Endurance Lite Riders
- Top Five National Riders