Category Archives: Show & Competition

The New Rules are Out

The United States Rules for Working Equitation, a new rule book used by all three Working Equitation Organizations have been finalized and are available in complete PDF Versions on each organization website.

Each organization had to make some concessions for this rule set, so you as an individual may not be 100% happy with everything contained here, but keep in mind another rider who has performed under an earlier version or another organization may have some displeasure with the changes as well.  That’s the thing about change, it is inevitable, and not everyone is happy about it, but if everybody is just a little unhappy, then this committee did a great job.  Having quite a lot of familiarity with all three prior rule books I am surprised how well the committee managed to keep synchronicity with the prior books and coordinate those attributes within the new set. WEIA

The most immediate change evident for WEIAUSA and WE United riders are the change in the Performance Levels descriptions.  There are now seven performance levels plus Children.  The introduction of the new levels was to permit a smoother transition opportunity for horses that are being developed in the canter changes.  There are also a few new obstacles that are Western in nature, these are only ridden in Levels 1-5.

The levels are now called: Children, Level 1 (Intro), Level 2 (Novice A), Level 3 (Novice B), Level 4 (Intermediate A), Level 5 (Intermediate B), Level 6 (Advanced) and Level 7 (Masters/International) 

Classes up to Level 5 may ride with one or two hands.  Level 6 and Level 7 are one hand only.  Class Levels 1- Level 6 may be offered as Youth, Amateur and Open, and a young horse division is permitted for Level 1, 2 and 3.

Here are overviews of the requirements at each level.  Consult the rule book for more detailed information prior to a competition.  

Children classes are Walk/Trot classes in both Dressage and EOH, either a Sitting or Rising Trot are permitted. During EOH Children are permitted to Walk or Trot between obstacles, Riders are permitted to walk when involved in the Pole Pickup, catching the Ring and Pole deposit.  Riders are permitted to halt to Pick up the Sack and then walk while carrying the sack to the destination.  Excluded obstacles are the Jump, Side Stepping Rails, Backing in the L, Rounding Posts, Riding through a Water filled Ditch, Bank Jump, Drag Item and Herding Animals.  There is no Speed or Cattle Trial.  A very nice Dressage Test has been written for riders at this Level, a test reader may be used.  This class may be offered as Youth, Amateur and Open.

Level 1 is a Walk/Trot class in both Dressage and EOH, either a Sitting or Rising Trot are permitted. Riders are required to Trot between obstacles but are permitted to walk when involved in the Pole Pickup, catching the Ring and Pole deposit.  Riders are permitted to halt to Pick up the Sack and then walk while carrying the sack to the destination.   Excluded obstacles are the Jump, Side Stepping Rails, Backing in the L, Rounding Posts, Riding through a Water filled Ditch, Bank Jump, Drag Item and Herding Animals.  There is no Speed or Cattle Trial.  A very nice Dressage Test has been written for riders at this Level, a test reader may be used.  This class may be offered as Youth, Amateur and Open.USFWEA

Level 2 requires 20 meter Working Canter in the Dressage test, but the test has no lead changes. Sitting or Rising Trot is permitted. During EOH the Canter is required between obstacles but trotting is permitted on the circles and serpentine obstacles.  If Canter lead changes are performed they are permitted through the trot.  All obstacles are required, with several corridor obstacles offering walk-in or trot-in entry options, such as Bell at the End of the Corridor.  The jump is required but may be performed at the Trot.  Riders are permitted to halt to Pick up the Sack and then may move the Sack at the Walk or Trot.  Level 2 is permitted to Walk or Trot in the Livestock Pen.  This level and all higher levels includes the Speed Test and Cattle Trial.  A very nice Dressage Test has been written for riders at this Level and a test reader may be used.  This class may be offered as Youth, Amateur and Open.

Level 3 and all higher levels requires the trot to be ridden while sitting.  Level 3 has 15 meter canters with a change through the trot in the Dressage test.  This level and all higher require the canter to be performed between each obstacle.   Canter is required on all the serpentine and circle obstacles with all canter transitions through the Trot.  Walk or trot is permitted in the Pen and Walk-in or Trot-in entry is permitted on obstacles such as Switching a Glass from one Pole to another and other corridor obstacles. The move a Sack obstacle may be performed at the Trot or Canter but halting to pick up the sack is not permitted.    An excellent Dressage Test has been written for this Level and a test reader may be used. This class may be offered as Youth, Amateur and Open.

Level 4 introduces the rider to a Dressage Test divided with the first half at Walk and Trot including Leg Yields at the Collected Trot.  The second half of the test is performed in the Medium and Collected Canter with 15 and 20 Meter circles. All changes of lead are performed with a simple change (through the walk). This is the only Level with Simple Changes.  All circle and serpentine obstacles are performed with Simple Changes.  The Pen may be performed at a Walk or Canter, and the entry to obstacles like the Backing up in the L may be entered at the Walk or Canter. The Move a Sack is required at the Canter and it must be picked up without a halt.  The Dressage Test must be performed from memory.  This class may be offered as Youth, Amateur and Open.

Level 5 introduces the rider to an excellent Dressage Test divided by Walk, Trot and Canter sections. As to be expected, riders at this level and up are required to employ flying changes during all parts of the Dressage Test and EOH.  The Pen is permitted at the walk or canter, as are the entries into the Bell Corridor and the Backing up in an L.  The entry to Rounding Several objects is required at the canter. The Move a Sack is required at the canter and riders are not permitted to halt to pick up the sack.  This class may be offered as Youth, Amateur and Open.weunitedlogo_hr_rast

Level 6 introduces the requirement to ride one handed at all times. The Dressage test contains nineteen movements, with the first half of the test at the Walk and Trot,  the remainder of the test is in Extended, Medium and Collected Canters describing circles of 20, 15, and 10 meters respectively as well as other movements.  Half pirouettes at the canter are required in both directions. EOH requirements are identical to Level 5.  The Additional Non-WAWE (Move Sack, Drag Item etc.) obstacles are not a requirement at this Level.  This class may be offered as Youth, Amateur and Open.

Level 7, Masters (International Level) The published Dressage Test is the WAWE International 2015 test.  This contains the 18 required Masters Level elements.  All WAWE requirements are mandated at this class level.

Please return soon for more details about the United States Rules for Working Equitation

Working Equitation Course Ideas

By Amy Star

These Working Equitation Course ideas can have a positive impact on your next competition.  Riding in competitions is so much fun that getting volunteers to help during a competition can be a challenge.  Show how much you appreciate your helpers by reducing the amount they need to walk while they are resetting obstacles. Here are few tips that can keep your helpers fresh and happy.

  • When possible place items that need to be reset in relative proximity to each other, not on opposite ends of the arena. This will reduce the personnel needed to reset multiple obstacles.
    • Obstacles that need attention with every rider are: returning the  Lance used to Pick up the Ring or to Knock a Ball. The Switch a Cup and Throw a Rope.
    • Other obstacles that frequently need attention are those that can accidentally get knocked over such as the Jump, any Backing Corridors and Side Step the Poles.  The Drag an Item (log or sack)  obstacle can also require attention as does the Move a Sack.
  • When practical, use one barrel to both pick up and to deposit the lance.  Make the ring stand target (the bull) relatively close to the lance barrel rather than the other end of the arena.   That doesn’t mean the rider only travels a short distance and replaces the lance. In fact the rider should travel a reasonable distance or may  carry the lance while performing other obstacles, then the rider will replace the lance to the original drum which isn’t too far from the ring stand. When set up in this way the helper doesn’t have to run all the way across the arena to retrieve the lance and then replace the ring on the target.
    • Consider having a few spare rings at the show, this could be helpful if a ring becomes damaged or  lost in the footing and saves the helper from barrel diving after each competitor.  If you have spent much time diving into the bottom of barrels retrieving rings you know how much fun that is!
  • Switch a Cup needs resetting with every competitor, so placing it near the ring stand also makes sense.
  • Set the barrel containing the lance in the half of the arena closest to the in gate and start line; this will reduce the amount of time for the competitor to enter and arrange the pole before being ready to ride.  While it seems minor, if it takes a rider two minutes to ride to the other end of the arena to check or set their lance and then ride back to the starting area, and you have twenty riders doing this you’ve added 40 minutes to the length of just the EOH phase!
  • When setting up the Drag an Item, return the log or sack to the starting location if possible.
  • Similarly Pick-up the Sack and Return the Sack to the same place makes that a self-setting obstacle, only needing attention if not properly completed.

Good course design can reduce the helpers needed to maintain the course during a show, speed up the competition and keep your volunteers coming back!

Sierra Nevada Lusitanos Promo Video

Thank you Sierra Nevada Lusitanos for creating this excellent Working Equitation promotional video.

This video captures the essence of Working Equitation for those who are not yet uninitiated,  offering footage of horses from many breeds and riders in both traditional US Western and other international tack and attire.  A great share for your friends who may be interested in our sport.  To know more about Sierra Nevada Lusitanos visit their site at http://www.sierranevadalusitanos.com/index.php