What is Working Equitation?

Working Equitation  was created with the objective of enhancing the equestrian techniques developed in countries whose riders use horses in different aspects of fieldwork. Working Equitation therefore provides an occasion for the simultaneous comparison of sporting and cultural considerations.

The Working Equitation discipline aims at promoting competition between different ways of riding used in fieldwork in various horse disciplines and various countries. It was developed out of the traditions of classical horsemanship and traditional ranch work which combines the formality, detail and rigor of gymnastic arena work, with the practical and utility work of negotiating obstacles inspired by what would be found around a working ranch/farm. Riders are outfitted according to the tradition in which they train:
dressage, western, or native Spanish, Portuguese attire, or in SA case, Boer /Traditional farmer etc.

This is one of its special features and constitutes a prime example of an ethnographic and cultural showcase , maintaining the traditional costumes and saddlery of each country.

Working Equitation broadens a horses scope and teaches your horse to be a good partner in any equine sport you care to pursue. The obstacle course is not only fun, but it hones your aids. For instance, you learn the basics of bending, leg yields , transitions, side passing and in higher levels doing flying changes around the poles and giving your horse a visual reference for timing and purpose of change. The rider must enjoy a challenge and be open to trying different things, The horse will learn to have a good mind and a willing attitude and become balanced. At higher levels, riders need the ability to lighten the forehand and achieve true collection. The speed phase require impulsion, straightness and accuracy and hence be adjustable both physically and mentally.

A competent WE rider is always in balance with his horse, giving the impression of a harmonious cooperation, by maintaining a correct position, with commanding but relaxed presence, the rider is able to direct the horse with nearly invisible aids. In WE you don’t have to abandon everything you know and start at the bottom, you bring your horse (No specific breed required) and tack and training you already have and simply add another layer of your expertise.

The sport tests the horse and riders partnership and ability to manoeuvre obstacles. There are four different levels (level 0 lead rein) Level 1 Novice, Level 2 Intermediate Level 3 Junior
Level 4 Advanced. At advanced level the rider must ride with just one hand, most commonly there left hand, on the reins.

Competition events may be individual or for teams and are in three or four parts. In SA will probably only be three, as fourth is cattle handling.

Dressage, the horse and rider preform obligatory movements in a freestyle dressage test to music within a specified time scale .PS lower level music not required. The WE dressage test, has more emphasis on agility and handiness verses the highly expressive gaits of competitive dressage.

Ease Of Handling Trail, A gymkhana-type event in which horse must overcome obstacles similar to those likely to appear in the field, such as bridges and gates. Collection and balance is required to canter around a very tight set of cloverleaf barrels. The obstacle course is designed to show the partnership between horse and rider and is judged for etiquette and not speed. The judges give a score of 0 to 10 for negotiating each obstacle as wells as for the quality of riding between the obstacles. There are also collective marks for agility style, manoeuverability and harmony.

The Speed Phase, solely a timed event, without any concern for style. It tests the riders coordination and anticipation and horses qualities of submission, speed, attention and fitness.

For more about Working Equitation, click HERE