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Founded in 1972, the American Endurance Ride Conference was the United States' first national endurance riding association.
For example, in a normal harness race, the horse's sire and dam must both be pure Standardbreds.
Short races are generally referred to as "sprints", while longer races are known as "routes" in the United States or "staying races" in Europe.
Although fast acceleration ("a turn of foot") is usually required to win either type of race, in general sprints are seen as a test of speed, while long distance races are seen as a test of stamina.
Fifteen to 20 riderless horses, originally imported from the Barbary Coast of North Africa, ran the length of the Via del Corso, a long, straight city street, in about 2½ minutes.
In later times, Thoroughbred racing became, and remains, popular with the aristocrats and royalty of British society, earning it the title "Sport of Kings".
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.
The word "steeplechasing" can also refer collectively to any type of jump race in certain racing jurisdictions, particularly in the United States.
Typically, horses progress to bigger obstacles and longer distances as they get older, so that a European jumps horse will tend to start in National Hunt flat races as a juvenile, move on to hurdling after a year or so, and then, if thought capable, move on to steeplechasing. Some are very short, only ten miles, while others can be up to one hundred miles.
Horse racing of all types evolved from impromptu competitions between riders or drivers.
The various forms of competition, requiring demanding and specialized skills from both horse and rider, resulted in the systematic development of specialized breeds and equipment for each sport.