To celebrate the 2023 edition of Australia’s premier endurance race, The Tom Quilty Gold Cup Endurance Ride, to be held later this month, we take a look at the most gruelling and technical endurance races available around the globe.
Where: Mary Valley, Queensland, Australia
How Far: 100 miles (160km) through Australia’s rugged Outback
What do you win? Just like the Tevis Cup those who complete the race, with horses that pass the final vetting receive a buckle, while the overall winner gets to host the rather fabulous Tom Quilty Gold Cup for one year.
What makes it so special? Inspired by the Tevis Cup, the Tm Quilty has it all, history, action, incredible terrain, and a success rate that makes even the toughest 3* rider anxious.
As Australia’s premier international endurance race, the Tom Quilty attracts the nation’s finest riders, plus many top three-star competitors around the globe. The race starts with several hundred riders setting out at midnight, riding out into the pitch black Outback to navigate their way through impressive hills, valleys bogs and rocks.
The race offers vet checks every 40km, will those that pass awarded one hour rest, before continuing along the course.
Where: Salt Lake City, Utah, to Sacramento to California in the USA
How Far: 100 miles
What do you win? There are three champion cups, plus everyone who successfully completes the ride with a horse, ‘fit to continue’ wins a silver buckle.
The Tevis Cup trophy is awarded to the person who completes the 100-Mile One-Day course in the shortest amount of time and whose horse is in sound condition and “fit to continue.”
The other major trophy, the Haggin Cup, is awarded to the rider whose horse is in the “most superior physical condition” of the first ten horses to cross the finish line.
The Josephine Stedem Scripps Foundation Trophy was established in 1994 to award Junior Riders for their special achievement.
What makes it so special? Firstly, it’s considered the oldest endurance ride, having been held since 1955.
Riders must complete the 100 miles (160km) (with 4500 metres of vertical climb) within 24 hours cross incredibly tough mountainous and rough terrain with river crossings, rubble covered climbs and deep pine forest.
How to Qualify: To qualify for the Tevis Cup, riders must have completed at least 300 cumulative lifetime miles of competition in events of 35 miles or more sanctioned by AERC, NATRC, or other recognised distance riding organizations, or have completed The Tevis Cup Ride.
What: The Mongol Derby
How Far: 1000km on semi-wild nomad-owned horses- changing every 40km.
What do you win? The prestige of knowing you won the world’s longest and toughest horse race.
What makes it so special? In this challenge, you don’t ride your own horse, or even a horse you have ever met! Instead, the rider swaps semi wild ponies over 40km, with the aim to get to the changing stations as soon as possible to have the pick of the equine-options.
There’s no defined route, just 25 changing stations where you vet-check your steed, get provisions and swap ponies. As if that we’re not tough enough, you are then expected to sleep where you find yourself at nightfall and fend for you and your horse throughout the trip. Expect high passes, huge valleys, wooded hills, river crossings, wetland, dunes and of course open steppe.
How Far: 750km over 15 days on a single Criollo mare
What do you win? Breeding rites for your champion mare (and of course significant bragging rights too, we imagine!)
What makes it so special? A race like no other, to ultimately find the true super-mares of the Criollo breed. Firstly, to make it as fair as possible, the mares are confined together for 20 days before the event, eating only the same basic grass and water.
Once the race begins, there are set distances and speeds for each day, building up to 60km. And once it’s all done, the best finishers are then chosen to join the Criollo breeding programme.
Equitrans is a proud supporter of the sport of endurance and has transported horses to and from many of the world’s biggest events, including; numerous Endurance World Championships, Junior Rider World Championships, the Tom Quilty Gold Cup, Windsor Endurance Races, and many of the high profile UAE endurance festivals including the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Festival, the Crown Prince Endurance Festival to name a few.