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These different lengths of races are divided into five categories: pleasure rides (10–20 miles), non-competitive trail rides (21–27 miles), competitive trail rides (20–45 miles), progressive trail rides (25–60 miles), and endurance rides (40–100 miles in one day, up to 250 miles (400 km) in multiple days).

Because each race is very long, trails of natural terrain are generally used.

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Contemporary organized endurance racing began in California around 1955, and the first race marked the beginning of the Tevis Cup This race was a one-hundred-mile, one-day-long ride starting in Squaw Valley, Placer County, and ending in Auburn.

Founded in 1972, the American Endurance Ride Conference was the United States' first national endurance riding association.

Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC and were important in the other Panhellenic Games.

This was despite the fact that chariot racing was often dangerous to both driver and horse as they frequently suffered serious injury and even death.

Light cold blood horses, such as Finnhorses and Scandinavian coldblood trotter are also used in harness racing within their respective geographical areas.

There also are races for ponies: both flat and jump Flat racing is the most common form of racing seen worldwide.

While horses are sometimes raced purely for sport, a major part of horse racing's interest and economic importance lies in the gambling associated with it, Horse racing has a long and distinguished history and has been practised in civilisations across the world since ancient times.

Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in Ancient Greece, Babylon, Syria, and Egypt.

In the most prestigious races, horses are generally allocated the same weight to carry for fairness, with allowances given to younger horses and female horses running against males.

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