Distance Riding, Michigan’s Best Equine SportYou may wonder, “why would anyone ride a horse the same distance that would make you feel tired while riding in a car?” Because we might wonder if we can do it; if it’s a challenge we can overcome. (We, as this is a team sport involving both you and your horse).

Michigan is a beautiful vacation destination for many, with its abundance of deep, shady wooded forest areas, and an abundance of lakes, rivers, and streams. With Canada’s blessing of cool winds, many will travel north to Michigan to find a reprieve from the heat and humidity, Some riders come because they appreciate the aesthetics this state has to offer. Some come because they are in love with meeting other like-minded people who appreciate equines with the same enthusiasm. They gather at ride camps–sometimes rustic, sometimes well-planned campgrounds. Arenas will not due for this breed of equestrian, for they are confining and constricting. At this level of sport, these kindred trail warriors are laid-back but just as spirited as the magnificent beasts they ride. This is an equestrian sport where the rewards outweigh the awards; riches are defined in the efficaciousness of others who encourage us and care for both rider and horse. In the past, organized distance riding began over 40 years ago, Riders were born into it or had to dive head first into the sport, showing up and feeling their way through the rules and trade secrets of horsemanship.

It’s not an ideal way to learn, so distance-riding clinics were born.

It is our hope to guide you through the beginning steps of what to expect, “why did that happen?” and where to go next. Clinics are held by seasoned veterans with thousands of miles of competition, years (decades, even) of camping with horses, and chock-full of guidance for new teams. For beginning riders to prosper in this dynamic sport, Great Lakes Distance Riding Association (GLDRA) is going to help by adding valuable incentives for clinic students. Upon completion of a clinic, you will receive a one-year membership to our club, a discount on introductory rides–and once that ride is completed, a significant discount to your first real competition. Come join us!

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