|International endurance riding is today dominated by horses with Arabian blood, including three quarters of the current German endurance team. The Arabian's characteristics make him uniquely suited for this sport.|
He does not need huge rations to build his strength, and he can easily deal with changes in temperature and humidity. With his smaller and lighter body, coupled with sure-footedness and a love of running, he has everything the endurance rider could ask for.
| ||In addition, it has been proved that Arabians have a higher concentration of haemoglobin in their blood.|
This means they have a particularly efficient metabolism, resulting in the lower pulse and breathing rates.
| Physical and mental requirements|
An endurance horse has to meet very high requirements. Ideally, it has balanced con-formation with a short, strong back and good loins. The hindquarters should be well muscied and the shoulder long and well sloped to enable powerful and efficient movement; correct, healthy legs will show less wear. But the most perfect con-formation is useless without the most important characteristic: joy of running. Which brings us to the mental requirements. An endurance ride causes stress, which the horse has to deal with.
| ||The horses should be flexible, able to deal easily with changes of surroundings and conditions and to eat anywhere and anytime. They have to be able to relax even in the hectic atmosphere during a stop.|
A type head and an illustrious pedigree are of no importance for endurance riding, though many endurance horses have as much type as many show horses; their origin is unimportant. Polish and Russian Arabians are as capable as English, Spanish or Egyptian horses; purebreds are not necessarily superior to Shagya-Arabians, Anglos, or Partbreds. It is much more important that the horse has received good basic training and is not overused.
As the next Olympics draw closer, breeders are becoming more interested in this Sport. More and more stallions and mares are performance tested in endurance rides. For many years, the association BEDUIN has kept records for endurance Arabians in Germany.
Many breeding stallions have been successful in endurance riding, such as Anchor Hill Halim, Hazim El Arab, SchaZeMan, AI Azim, and Hamasa Gharbi, the German endurance driving champion.
| ||Nevertheless, many German riders look abroad for suitable horses. But there are recent examples of successful German-bred endurance horses. The purebred gelding Te Quiero, bred by the Schwarzwald-Baar-Stud and ridden by Sabrina Arnold, was German Endurance Champion in 2001 and won a bronze medal over 80 miles in the junior world championships.|
The recent success of German riders may have contributed to the growing popularity of endurance riding in Germany. The German team won the bronze medal in the world championships 2001, including the parlbred Arabian Russian Charmer with Bärbel Büchting and the purebred US-imports Schucks with Heike Ganster and Nonsuch Zahn with Dr. Gabriela Förster. Hopefully, this is only the beginning of a successful future for endurance riding in Germany. In stables all across the country, many potential Arabian endurance horses are waiting to be discovered.