Dubai: The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) has developed a new format and measures that will both test the riders and also improve the welfare of endurance horses when the marathon event takes place on Thursday.

Held over 160km, the endurance ride is one of the biggest events at the World Equestrian Games, which are currently taking place in Normandy, France.

More than 1,000 riders and horses from over 70 countries are competing at the two-week extravaganza including first-timers from Peru, Palestine and Kazakhstan.

The endurance competition, which is the biggest in the history of the event, is attracting a lot of attention.

A total of 260 riders representing 49 countries will be seen in action, among them past winners, new riders, old horses and new horses.

The format, which for the first time in the event’s history, will feature five loops as opposed to six in previous competitions.

It is designed as a seriously test of the riders’ control over time and effort exerted on his horse, so that the distance is completed in the fastest time possible while keeping the welfare of the horse in mind.

Vets will be at hand at each of the five gates to ensure that the horse is in perfect physical condition to continue the ride.

Each team can enter up to five rider/horse pairings while the times clocked by the best three riders from each country will be counted for the team ranking. If a country does not enter a minimum of three riders, it will not be eligible to participate in the team event.

The endurance venue spans 12 hectares and features 80 temporary accommodation cabins for 320 grooms, 240 boxes, 1,800m of temporary structures for the horses to rest, a 1,000m exhibitors’ village and a hospitality village spanning 6,000m.