Who are ILDRA? and what is Endurance Riding?
ILDRA (Irish Long Distance Riding Association) is the governing body for Endurance Riding in Ireland and is affiliated to Horse Sport Ireland (HSI).
It organises a series of rides throughout Ireland. Most rides involve a Pleasure Ride for members and non-members, normally of about 8 miles, and a series of CTRs (Competitive Trail Rides) over a number of distances starting from 20 miles for members. Some events also feature ERs (Endurance Races) - these normally start at 50 miles and are for experiences horses and riders only.
So what is Endurance Riding - Perhaps it is useful to say what Endurance Riding isn't. It isn't a long pony trek, ambling through lanes, it isn't for the faint hearted, and it isn't for the rider who doesn't actually enjoy being in the saddle for long.
So what is it? It is a unique competitive challenge and a supreme sport for learning about equine fitness. Veterinary checks before and after competitive rides - and in the middle too for longer distances - ensures the best possible care is taken of your horse. Any problems can be picked up earlier rather than later.
You, the rider, learn more about the way your horse functions, with the importance of regulating your riding to suit conditions which will affect the way your horse behaves and how he presents to the vet Key factors include:
The terrain: is it hilly or flat, sandy or hard ground?
The weather: is it cold, wet, foggy, or hot and sunny?
The route: does it look to be difficult to follow on the map, or a more simple circular course?