What is Distance Riding?

Distance Riding is a competition to test the rider's ability to safely manage the stamina and fitness of their horse throughout the event against the climate, the terrain and the clock.

At Distance Riding NZ we offer two different types of events, Ride to Time (RTT) and Enduro.

Ride to Time (RTT)

Ride to Time is where riders follow a marked trail with the goal of completing the course as close to the optimum time as possible.

Upon returning to base and crossing the finish line, cooling your horse (if needed) then presenting to the vet where the heart rate is taken, a veterinary inspection is completed and a second heart rate (CRI) is taken. The two heart rates, along with the time taken between crossing the finish line and presenting to the vet (otherwise known as "recovery time") are used to help determine the winner of the event.

Time faults are issued depending on how close you are to the optimum time. For every minute you are over the optimum time you will receive 1 penalty point. For every minute you are under the optimum time you will receive 2 penalty points. These time faults are then added to the heart rates and recovery time to establish who the winner of the event is. The rider/horse combo with the lower score is the winner.

At a Ride to Time event riders start in either small groups or pairs at 2-5 minute intervals. The optimum times are set between 8-12 kms per hour depending on the class entered at the event.


Enduro is where riders follow a marked trail in a race where the first across the finish line (providing they pass the final vet check) are the winners. While Enduro events are a race, the majority of riders aim is just to complete the course. Enduro can be as competitive (or not) as you and your horse feel comfortable with.

Unlike Ride to Time, Enduro events do not have an optimum time, instead they have a maximum time set.

Enduro events start at 40kms and go right through to 160kms per day or even multi-day events reaching 240kms.

Horses and riders must complete a number of qualifying Ride to Time rides before being eligible to enter Enduro events. DRNZ will also recognise horse and rider qualifications from other distance/endurance/CTR organisations upon proof of these qualifications to the DRNZ Committee prior to entering an event.

The most prestigious award at any Enduro and/or Multi-day event is the Best Managed Award. This award is based on recovery times and veterinary inspection scores.