Three Day Race

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The Three Day Race is a gruelling endurance race between single riders, each with five horses.

The objective of the sport is to be the first to cross the full distance between two points, usually at least four or five days' normal ride apart. The higher the level of competition, the longer and/or harder the distance that is required to be covered. Thus, a Three Day Race in the Ala Tau mountains or the Pamirs will cover much less ground than one out on the Batpaq Dala steppe, but the physical challenge of the ride is no less intense for all that. Riders must navigate the distance themselves, including selecting their own path; there is no marked route laid out for the competitors to follow.

Men and women compete in the Three Day Race on more or less equal footing. The number of professional female Three Dayers is small, but they almost always do just as well as the men, the average smaller weight of a female rider compensating for the greater strength of a male.

The idea behind the five horses is that it allows the rider to cross the huge distance faster; by cycling the horses, he (or she) can give the horses more rest time while still making progress. The multiple horses do add an element of livestock management into the challenge, and top Three Dayers must show rapport with their horses, select good horses to start with, be able to select a route, navigate and orienteer, as well as the purely physical challenge of riding all-out for three days over rough terrain.

The Three Day Race is one of the events of the Central Asian Games. In the Games' Three Day Race competition, riders are scored individually based on their time to complete the Race, and these individual scores are then averaged to give a national team score. The individual and national team competition winners each receive separate trophies.