Category Archives: National News

More from WE-US

Perhaps the most important contribution the rules committee implemented in the new consolidated US-WE rulebook is a new way of looking at the way a competition championship tie is resolved.  This is a cause that WET has long championed.USFWEA

In the past, if riders were tied for a class  Championship in a competition, the highest score in Dressage prevailed.  But WE is not about Dressage horses “doing other things”, it is about horse and rider teams who exhibit the ability to perform well under a variety of circumstances.   Under the old system, if two children, (who would only have two trials, Dressage and EOH) were tied for the championship at a show, the child with the higher Dressage score prevailed, without regard to how much better the other child had performed in EOH.

At the request of High Country Working Equitation Club in Colorado, Tarrin Warren had occasion to ask the President of WAWE his opinion on the tie resolution method you will see below.  He agreed, this is acceptable.  So here it is, implemented in WE-US, page 23.

In the event of a tie for champion at a given level, the competitor who earned the highest average of the combined Dressage and EOH score will be placed higher. If there is still a tie, the competitor with the highest score in EOH will be placed higher. If there is still a tie the fastest time in the Speed trial will place higher.

Other opportunities for Resolving Ties have been addressed as well.

Dressage ties are resolved using the higher Collective Marks.  If these are equal the tie remains.

If a tie occurs in the EOH trial, the rider who incurred a 0 will be placed lower than the rider who did not. If the tie remains, the collective marks are used to break the tie. If these marks are equal, the entries remain tied and each will be awarded the points associated with the placing for which they are tied.

The Speed Trial is still placed in order of lowest time.  In the event of a tie, the tie is resolved by the least number of time penalties placing higher  If these marks are equal, the entries remain tied.

The EOH tie rule was implemented because of another  rule improvement.  The implementation of scoring riders in the kids and Level 1,2 & 3 classes with a 0 for unsuccessfully performing an obstacle.  In the past, the rider was disqualified and took the “walk of shame” out of the arena.  Now those riders continue on the course, learning as they compete, and enjoying the show the experience. As in the past, experienced riders in Level 4 up must perform the obstacle correctly, or they will be disqualified from the EOH Trial as in the past.WEIA

Here are some applications of the Zero rule.

Under Section 6.8 Course Errors  Refuses an obstacle (e.g., the horse stops, steps backwards, or circles before entering the obstacle). Children, Introductory (L1), and Novice A/B (L2/L3) riders are allowed three refusals; each refusal is penalized. If the third try is unsuccessful, the rider can, with the authorization of the Judge, move on to the next obstacle and a score of 0 is given for the obstacle not completed.

Here are applications of the Zero rule from execution criteria for the various obstacles such as:weunitedlogo_hr_rast

Earthenware Jug  If the jug is dropped, a member of the ground crew will hand the jug to the riders  competing at Children and Introductory (L1) levels.  Novice (L2/L3) level riders must dismount, retrieve the jug, remount and replace the jug on the table.  Failure to dismount, retrieve the jug and remount will result in a 0 for the obstacle.

 However : Intermediate (L4) through Masters (L7) riders must dismount, retrieve the jug, remount (with jug in hand), and replace the jug; failure to do so will result in disqualification.

Here is how the Zero rule applies to the Pole Obstacles If the pole is dropped, a member of the ground crew will hand the pole to the riders competing at Children and Introductory (L1) levels.  Novice (L2/L3) level riders must dismount, retrieve the pole, and remount with the pole in hand or receive a 0 for the obstacle.

Essentially, whatever you drop, you can only place after you have remounted with the dropped item in your hand.

Level 2&3 Riders, be aware!  If you receive three 0s during your EOH Trial, you are not eligible to participate in the Speed Trial! US-WE page 34.

Riders at all levels can still be disqualified from an EOH or Speed Trial in a number of other ways.  The position has remained firm on riding obstacles out of order.  All riders, even the kids will be disqualified from an EOH (or Speed trial) for riding the course out of order.  US-WE Page 36

All rider at all levels will be disqualified for incorrectly or incompletely performing an obstacle.   The same rules apply as in the past, if you perform any obstacle incorrectly, or incompletely, you can fix it, provided you do not start performing the next obstacle, including passing through the markers for the next obstacle.

Understanding US-WE page 36 is fundamental to your success in Working Equation, download the rules and spend some time becoming familiar, your success will surely depend on it.

Here are links to the complete rule sets from your favorite national organization.

WEIAUS          USFWEO       WE United

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

What WAWE Wants!

Recently I had an opportunity to discuss with some of the early enthusiast of WE just how we got where we are with respect to the “national” groups and some of the perceived divisions.  At this point it appears to almost be like the legendary Hatfield and McCoy’s, a feud that has gone on so long that nobody really remembers what caused it or why!

What came out of the discussion was a marvelous letter from the President of WAWE to all of the “players” in the U.S.  This letter is from 2013 and gives us some insight into who was involved at the time and what the expectation of WAWE would be with respect to the much coveted “protocol”.   Many of the original “players” have since disappeared, but several are still among us, and continue to have an interest and involvement in WE.

What is the “protocol”?  The elusive protocol is simply the authorization from WAWE for a country to send a team of riders to international championships.  For that to happen certain criteria are required to be met.  In recent months leadership from more than one of our national organizations have met with and appealed to the President of WAWE, asking that the protocol be made available to their organization.  He has held his ground, we do not meet the criteria so U.S. riders will not be accorded the opportunity to compete.   Good on you Joao!  Ultimately we will be better off, though it would be a shame if our first generation of riders all miss the opportunity to compete on the international stage.

These are the KEY elements needed by the U.S. in the 2013 letter (which is attached to the end of this article), and they are the same today as then.

  1. An agreement is requited between WAWE and those entities compromising ALL of the United States Working Equitation organization(s). WAWE does not require there to be one organization alone representing WE in the United States, provided the various organizations in some form of association agree with each other.
  2. Identifies each entity approving the agreement. An entity is not an individual.
  3. Contains a single set of rules and regulations that govern the discipline.  Again, there can be more than one organization, however each organization must agree to every part of the singular set of rules and regulations.   We currently have three or four sets of rules.
  4. WAWE requires an ASSOCIATION of participants.   This can be worked out.  The USFWE was originally intended to be an association of other organizations.  The USFWE is willing to be an equal alongside WEIAUSA and WE United if that is what it takes to move forward.
  5. Identifies who (by personal name or organization name is not clear) is responsible for the future relationship with WAWE.
  6. Must define as objectives, the number of competitions, regional and national that will take place annually.
  7. Identify training courses for riders.
  8. Identify training courses for judges.
  9. Identify the national costume.
  10. Include guidance and rules for the youth teams (program).
  11. Must offer some type of financial support to WAWE.

Many of these objectives have already been met by one or more of our national organizations.  All that is lacking is one rulebook and cooperation agreements between the interested parties.    We can do that!

The letter is a bit hard to understand (due to translation), but  you can compare what was stated above to verify  I have not embellished in any way.    You may have to click on this link again in the new window.   wawe-protocol-letter

Please get behind  the effort asking for cooperation among the national organizations.

The 800 Pound Gorilla

The old quiz that asks, “What do you do when you are in a room with an 800 pound Gorilla?     Answer, “Whatever he wants!”

Let’s start with a little fiction and then move on to reality, and you will see the reason for this odd introduction.

Let’s pretend the year is 2020, the setting is the International Working Equitation Championships somewhere in Europe. For the first time the United States is represented in an international competition with a team of riders and their mounts, all flown from the US.  With a US team at the game the title  World Association of Working Equitation  has some meaning.

Day One: Dressage. While not typically attended with large crowds there is an increase in attendance during the trials. Every competitor not preparing their mount is viewing the Americans. The general response is, “yes they are ok, and trying, but they don’t really Look1have the horse”. The US team finishes the day with all their riders in about the middle of the standings. The team is in about the same place.  Surprisingly the tone and demeanor of the riders is very positive. A US rider comments, “Yes, we are very happy with our scores and our rides, this is exactly where we expected to be.”

Day Two: Precision. The American Team walks the course and develops a riding strategy for the day. The WAWE officials beam with excitement as they now have the beloved “Cowboy”, well actually Cowgirls, among the international competitors.   In the warm up arena the training and athletic ability of the US horses does not go unnoticed. The calm professional demeanor of the horses and their acceptance of the new environment has the admiration of most of the international 09WorldGate_smriders. “These horses have shown” is heard more than once.  The precision of the riders is impressive as well.  The Europeans love the American Team, they are charming, affable and proud to wear a cowboy hat.   Spectators came expecting to see Cowboys first hand, for the first time, but the ladies do not disappoint. In competition the horses are un-phased by every challenge and negotiate the course with minimal faults. The horses and riders are obviously very seasoned in the competition environment. The European riders expresses some level of respect, even disbelief that these riders, wholly unknown to them can command such an impressive performance. At the end of the day the US riders all place in the top 25% of the scores, moving the team into third or fourth place. Again, the riders comment, “Yes, this is going really well, we didn’t make any bonehead mistakes and the judges recognized we came well prepared. ”  The Team is placed right where they expected. Continue reading The 800 Pound Gorilla