Endurance is controlled long-distance races. It is one of the international competitions recognized by the FEI. In an endurance ride, the winning horse is the first one to cross the finish line.  Competitors are required to stop periodically to pass a veterinary check that deems the animal in good health and fit to continue. Winning riders, at the highest level, complete 100-mile (160 km) rides in 10-12 hours. Any breed can compete, but the Arabian generally dominates the top levels because of the breed's stamina and natural endurance abilities.

Endurance riders usually use a specialized saddle that is designed to be lightweight yet comfortable to horse and rider for long hours of riding. At the highest levels, it is usually a variation on the English saddle in shape. At lower levels, lightweight endurance designs based on western saddles are popular. Regardless of design, endurance saddles are very light to ensure the horse does not have to carry unnecessary weight. Many endurance saddles have extra metal rings for the attachment of equipment.

Bridles for the horses may use a wide variety of bits or hackamores, and are usually made of a synthetic material, for easy care.  Riders also often add a breastplate to keep the saddle in place while traveling over rough terrain. Protective boots may be used on a horse's legs, though boots also cause problems in some types of terrain, so use varies by the type of ride and the rider's preferences.