Horse Power NEC Taupō NEC Christchurch

Beginners Guide

A Guide to competing in your first Endurance/CTR Ride

A Guide to competing in your first Endurance/CTR Ride

Where to Find Information

Find your local club, local event and  other information that will help you get started in Endurance and CTR

Rider gear

  • Approved & tagged helmet. To check if your helmet is an approved model  click here
  • Footwear with a heel of at least 12mm, or caged stirrups
  • Comfortable riding clothing

Horse gear

  • Your usual riding tack – you are allowed to ride in a bitted or bitless bridle, halter, bosal, or other riding apparatus
  • Horses do not have to be shod
  • Whips and spurs are not allowed

Club Membership

  • Not required for Endurance Intro Classes
  • Not required for CTR Novice Classes
  • Required for all other classes


  • Click the button below and you will see links to some charts and flowcharts. These will let you know what the registration requirements are for the various levels.

On the day

  • Park up, and settle your horse 
  • Go to the secretary’s caravan/office and fill in a club entry form and a day vet card (if your horse doesn’t have a logbook)
  • An official or the secretary will check you have filled the forms in correctly and give you a bib number and start time
  • Groom your horse and present to the vet ring untacked with your horses feet picked out – give the vet writer your logbook or your day vet card 
  • Your horses heartrate will be taken 
  • You will be asked to trot your horse out to a marker and back. You should trot on a loose rein with their head free
  • Attend the rider’s briefing when you hear someone call (essential)
  • Tack up and head to the start line. Your helmet will be checked to make sure it has a red ESNZ/PC approval sticker
  • You will be told at the rider’s briefing what types of markers have been used to make the course. You must leave gates as you find them.
  • Ride courteously, please be considerate of those on young or green horses; and have fun!

Competitive Trail Riding (CTR) Guidelines

After you have vetted and tacked up, head over to the start line just before your preallocated time.  You will generally ride out in pairs at five minute intervals. Hand your day vet card or logbook to the starter.  You must be mounted to cross the start and finish lines.

In CTR, the goal is to complete the marked course as close to the optimum time as possible.  One penalty point will be added to your score for every minute over the optimum time, and two penalty points for every minute under time.  You are not allowed to weave, zig zag, or halt to waste time and your horse must keep moving forward at all times unless they need a toilet stop, drink, or tack adjustment.  You may dismount on course, but must be mounted from the control area, which is generally a few hundred metres from the finish line.

When you cross the finish line, you will be asked to dismount and your horses’ heartrate will be taken immediately. Collect your day vet card or logbook (If it isn’t at the finish line then it will be given to you when you go to the vet ring.) You then have up to 30 minutes to untack, cool your horse down, and then present to the vet with your vet card where the horses heart rate (HR) will be taken again and you will have to trot them up to check for lameness.  If your horse’s heartrate is over 64 BPM, or you are late to the vet ring you will be eliminated.

Your across the line HR, final HR, and time penalties will be added together, with the lowest score winning.

Endurance Guidelines

After you have vetted and tacked up, head over to the start line just before your class pre-set start time (the starter will already have your day vet card).  The class will usually head out together when the starter says ‘go’; however if you prefer you are allowed to hang back and start up to 15 minutes later.

For novice horses, there is a minimum and maximum riding time set by the technical delegate, and you must come within those times or face elimination.  The time is generous and you should make it easily with a mix of walking and trotting, and perhaps the occasional canter.

You are allowed to stop and dismount on course whenever you want, however you must be mounted when you cross the start and finish lines.  Your riding time stops the moment you cross the finish line for single loop classes.

You then have up to 30 minutes to untack, cool your horse down, and then re-present to the vet where your horse’s heartrate must be 64 BPM or less.  If your horse’s heartrate drops quickly, you are allowed to call ‘time’ at the vet ring as soon as you wish as it doesn’t matter how low they go.  However if you take more than 30 minutes to call ‘time’ you will be eliminated.

There are no placings for novice horses and riders, but you will receive a qualification and certificate and possibly a qualification ribbon as well, and the satisfaction of successfully completing the ride, fit, healthy and happy.