Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

World Equestrian Games: Sand, sea and saddles

updated 11:12 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games is taking place in Normandy, France. The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games is taking place in Normandy, France.
Normandy challenge
Endurance test
Horsing around
Normandy challenge
Normandy challenge
Normandy challenge
  • The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are taking place in France
  • Games are held every four years and last two weeks
  • Endurance race over beaches and countryside is 160km in distance
  • UAE won gold in individual event, Spain won team title

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- What more could a horse enthusiast ask for than a beautiful ride along the sea shore?

One of the world's toughest horse races took place on Thursday at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games -- the venue for the event known as an 'equine marathon.'

Held over a distance of 160 kilometers with just 10% of the course made up of road, riders race along beaches and countryside in a bid to win one of the most prestigious titles at the Games.

The Normandy shore played host to the race as crowds flocked to watch the riders.

Four years ago, Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton needed just over seven and a half hours to complete the course on her horse, Nobby.

World Equestrian Games kicks off
French show jumping star targets more success

This time around, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates won gold on his mare Yamamah in a time of 8:08:28.

The race, which started in the town of Sartilly, Manche, looped around a UNESCO World Heritage site with the Bay of Mont Saint Michel providing a stunning backdrop for the event.

While the scenery was something to behold, the weather was not, as rain hampered the riders throughout.

In the team race, Spain retained the title it won four years ago in convincing fashion.

Its three riders finished in a combined time of 28:56:02.

Read: World Equestrian Games: 10 things to watch

Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:02 AM EST, Mon November 10, 2014
If you thought dressage was all starched shirts, hair buns and tailcoats then Clémence Faivre is about to change your perceptions.
updated 11:24 AM EST, Tue November 4, 2014
'Don't come back too quickly,' her friends said following the birth of her first child, Mia. But Zara Phillips was chomping at the bit.
updated 6:56 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
Horse with microphone
"Wireless microphones on anything that moves, in any competition whatsoever, is the future." Is this the sound of sport getting better?
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan attend Day 3 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 19, 2014 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Princess Haya of Jordan has dragged equestrian into the modern age and secured its immediate Olympic future. But now the royal is moving on.
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Following her World Equestrian Games success, Britain's Charlotte Dujardin is the first rider to hold all of the major dressage titles at one time.
updated 1:14 PM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
The World Equestrian Games is over for another four years, with the sport's stars having set new standards of excellence in France.
updated 8:55 AM EDT, Thu September 4, 2014
Joao Victor Marcari Oliva on the podium. Photo: Wander Roberto/Inovafoto
When your mum is a Brazilian basketball legend, it can't hurt to try something different. How about dancing with a horse?
updated 6:25 AM EDT, Fri August 1, 2014
When you're buying new shoes, wouldn't it be nice to find a pair made for your feet alone? These horses know that luxury.
updated 3:26 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Horse under solarium lamps
Lasers, lights and luxury -- it's not easy keeping a 500 kg sports star in shape.
updated 11:34 AM EDT, Tue May 20, 2014
Take one dentist, a catsuit, a horse and a barrel, and you have a world champion.
updated 7:29 AM EDT, Thu May 22, 2014
Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro
For Charlotte Dujardin, the price of success was almost losing the thing she cherished most.
updated 1:39 PM EDT, Thu August 9, 2012
CNN's guide to the Olympic equestrian disciplines of dressage and showjumping.
updated 8:55 AM EDT, Tue May 6, 2014
Do you know reining from vaulting? Click through this pictorial guide to equestrian disciplines.