Welcome to Endurance

Endurance is a long-distance competition against the clocktesting the speed and endurance of a horse and challenging the rider over their effective use of pace, thorough knowledge of their horse’s capabilities and ability to cross all kinds of terrain. Although the rides are timed, the emphasis is on finishing in good condition rather than coming in first.

Endurance started as a sport in the United States, where the US cavalry tested its horses on a five-day, 300-mile (483km) ride, with each horse carrying over 200lbs (91kg). It did not become a competitive sport until the 1950s, when Wendell Robie traced the Pony Express route from Nevada to California in under 24 hours.

Each rider must safely manage the stamina and fitness of their horse and each course is divided into phases – in principle at least every 40km – with a compulsory halt for a veterinary inspection, or ‘vet gate’, after each. Each horse must be presented for inspection within a set time of reaching each ‘vet gate’, which determines whether it is fit to continue.

Arabian horses dominate the Endurance discipline though the most successful rider to date is Spain’s Maria Alvarez Ponton on her French-born gelding Nobby.

The premier Endurance rides are the FEI World Equestrian Games™, staged every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle; the FEI World Endurance Championships, held in every Olympic year; and the biannual FEI European Endurance Championships.

Latest Department Updates

  • 27 Jan 2021
    Margaret Sleeper (USA) appointed Endurance Athlete Representative

    Dr Margaret (Meg) Sleeper (USA) has been appointed as the Endurance Athlete Representative to replace Tarek Taher (KSA). Dr Sleeper will be a member of both the Athletes and Endurance Committees until the next elections in 2022. She will also take on the role of Athlete Representative on the Endurance Calendar Task Force.
    Following the resignation of Tarek Taher in September 2020, the FEI Board agreed to wait until the election of the new Endurance Chair at the FEI General Assembly 2020 prior to reviewing the ad-interim appointment of the Endurance Athlete Representative.
    Subsequently, at its 19 January 2021 online meeting, and due to the lack of a replacement mechanism for Athletes Representatives in the FEI Rules & Regulations, the FEI Board appointed Dr Sleeper, the Candidate that received the second highest number of votes in the 2018 elections for the Endurance Athlete Representative.

  • 27 Jan 2021
    In Memoriam: FEI pays tribute to former Endurance Committee Chair Brian Sheahan (1951-2021)

    Dr Brian Sheahan (AUS), former Chair of the FEI Endurance Committee, passed away peacefully on 25 January in his hometown of Samford, Queensland in northeastern Australia. The FEI Honorary Board Member, who was a highly respected veterinarian and a well-loved figure in the international Endurance community, was 69.
    He joined the FEI Endurance Committee as a member in 2008, taking over the Chair in 2012 until 2018, during which time he was a member of the FEI Board. He was highly respected for his work with the Endurance Strategic Planning Group and the Endurance Task Force.
    The FEI extends its sincere condolences to Dr Sheahan’s wife Christeen, children and grandchildren, to the Australian Equestrian Federation and the global equestrian community.
    The FEI In Memoriam for Dr Sheahan can be read here.

  • 19 Nov 2020
    Endurance CEI 3* Officials Appointment

    As you are all aware, the full set of FEI Endurance Rules approved during the 2019 FEI General Assembly in Moscow (RUS) came into effect on 1 July 2020. This includes the new system in place for the appointment of FEI Endurance CEI3* Officials. For CEIs with 20 entries or less, the FEI will consult with the OC to appoint Officials. For CEIs with more than 20 entries, Officials will be appointed in accordance with the tables provided in Annex 6 of the FEI Endurance Rules.

    The selection process for FEI Officials at CEI3* events, together with the full list of concerned events, can all be found here.

    The list of events will be updated every time there is an addition, modification or cancellation in the FEI Calendar.



  • 30 Sep 2020
    UAE NF suspension Frequently Asked Questions

    The FEI Board’s decision on 24 September 2020 to suspend the United Arab Emirates National Federation for breaches of FEI Rules has resulted in a number of enquiries.

    In order to provide clarity to our community, we have created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) portal that provides guidance on the many practical consequences, not only for the UAE NF, but for other NFs, their Athletes, Owners, Trainers, Officials and Organisers. The FAQs also include an explanation on the status of UAE NF events as Unsanctioned Events.

  • 8 Aug 2020
    Endurance - 2021 Longines FEI Endurance World Championship - Qualification criteria

    Please find here after the qualification criteria for the 2021 Longines FEI Endurance World Championship, to be held in Pisa San Rossore (ITA).


    The qualification period has been amended, including the 9 months extension due to COVID-19 as agreed by an FEI Board resolution.  

  • 8 Jun 2020
    Endurance - Application of the new Endurance Rules. 11th Edition

    As previously advised (NF News, 6 May 2020), the FEI Board has approved the recommendation of the Endurance Temporary Committee not to extend the application of the Endurance Rules 10th Edition (“Transitional Rulebook”) and to go ahead with the implementation of the new Endurance Rules, 11th Edition, on 1 July 2020, as approved by the General Assembly 2019.
     In order to clarify some of the new regulations, an explanatory document (leaflet format) has been created and can be found here.

    The Endurance rule leaflet can be printed from our website and/or order to the FEI for your use and communication.

    To do so, and if you have questions please do not hesitate to contact Manuel Bandeira de Mello and/or Marc Chovelon from the FEI Endurance Department.

  • 21 Apr 2020
    Hyposensitivity Control System

    A Hyposensitivity Control System has been developed by the FEI in partnership with Dr Schambourg. This Control System has started to be implemented in 2020, in FEI Endurance rides. The objective of this Control System is to ensure the welfare of horses by protecting them from having severe injuries due to low sensitivity of their limbs. In 2019, the FEI has trained a pool of 12 FEI Official Veterinarians to perform the control. This explanatory video will give you an insight of the FEI Hyposensitivity Control System.

  • 31 Jan 2020
    Endurance - HH The President of UAE Cup 08.02.2020

    Important Information - HH The President of UAE Cup

    Dear National Federation

    Please see attached for your information a circular that has been published by the UAE NF regarding the entry criteria that will apply to the HH President Cup of the UAE which will be held as a CEN in Al Wathba on 8 February 2020. As you can see, entry is limited to eligible UAE riders and foreign riders with proof of residency in the UAE and who have the written permission of their National Federations (as per Article 119.6 of the FEI General Regulations). We urge you to ensure that any of your Athletes that intend to participate meet these criteria. The FEI will be carrying out its own checks to ensure these criteria are respected in order to ensure that the event is held in accordance with the FEI General Regulations, in particular Article 101.3.

  • 29 Jan 2020
    Endurance - 2020 FEI Championships - Qualification Criteria

    Please be informed that the 2020 FEI Endurance Championships Qualification Criteria are now published under each relevant Event: here

  • 18 Apr 2019
    FEI Sports Forum 2019

    Dear FEI Endurance community,

    Please find below the recap of all the Endurance sessions held at the FEI Spors Forum in Lausanne on 15-16 April 2019.

    Qualification of Horses and Athletes: reducing welfare risks

    Educating Officials and correct application of the rules

    Improvements and innovations to reshape Endurance

    Open Q&A and wrap-up by FEI Secretary General