Category Archives: Competition

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

Course Ideas for Small Arenas and Informal Shows


By Amy Star

These WE course design ideas can have a BIG impact on your show in a small arena.  If you are designing a course for a smaller arena using these ideas can offer better riding opportunities.

Know what obstacles can be close together without hindering each other, this will allow better use of space in small arenas.   For instance, the table and pitcher could be close to the outside of the livestock pen or near a jump standard rather than standing alone in the arena.

Use a variation of the same obstacle to increase the difficulty of the course without needing to add obstacles.   i.e. – The Pole Corridor with Cup, can be done as a walk through for the lowest level, a straight back through at a middle level, and with a serpentine back through for high level contestants.

Have a ‘safe zone’ for the judge to stand, where the competitors are unlikely to cross, but the judge can see all of the course. You could even set chairs or a barricade around the judges area.

Offer riding space between obstacles, meaning don’t have consecutive obstacles right next to each other.   Leave enough space between obstacles for the competitor to have some choice of route from one obstacle to the next providing an opportunity to transition to canter and demonstrate a good canter rhythm.

Be fair to all riders.  If the sun or heat are an issue for helpers, be sure to add the umbrella or shade zone before a class has started, not in the middle of a class! Some horses may react to the visual of the umbrella in an unpredictable way.  If helpers are on the course during the competition, instruct them to stand in the same location during the entire class.

If the competition is a local or fun show, it isn’t imperative the jump height is the height of a bale of hay.  A lower natural object may be used,

A simple color scheme using only 1, 2 or 3 colors is preferable on a course.   Vegetation, either real or synthetic is a nice addition. Red flowers should be avoided because they can create confusion with the red flags.

Minimize the amount of course re-setting that is required between rider levels.  This reduces the amount of man-power required and speeds up the whole competition.  For example if your course will include Side Stepping over Poles, Jumping over Bales, or other obstacles that are not part of the criteria for lower level riders, place those challenges near the end of the course.  This eliminates re-numbering the entire course for riders at the upper levels.  This is a time saver and eliminates the chance of creating a course error.  During the walk down instruct the lower level riders their ride will end at a certain obstacle number, and upper level riders are instructed to continue on through the rest of the course.

Scoring with a Rider Withdrawal

Nothing can taint the fun of a competition like an error in scoring!  And because Working Equitation has so many scores to tabulate there are simply more opportunities to make an error, so it is very important that your show tabulators have a good handle on this subject.

This is how to properly score when one or more contestants  withdraw from a competition.

As the photo shows, one rider decides he cannot continue after the Dressage Trial.  As the score tabulator what do you do?

Even though there are less riders in the remaining trials, continue to place riders with the same scoring values  as they received in the initial trials.

For Example: During the Dressage Trail there were originally four riders:  first place would receive five points, second place three points, third place two points and fourth place one point.

Now one rider withdraws after dressage.  Even though there are now three riders in the remaining trials the scoring continues with the original values from Dressage: first place would receive five points, second place three points, third place two points and there is no fourth place because the rider has withdrawn from the competition.

The reason is, if the original trial values are not maintained it may be impossible for a rider who finished second or third in the Dressage Trial to catch or surpass the leading rider if the remaining Trials are not accorded the original set of values. This occurs all the way down the placing with the point values. The easy way to remember this is to simplify the problem.  If riders drop from a competition, just mark them the same AS IF THEY HAD DISQUALIFIED during each succeeding events.  This will keep the placement values proper so all the  riders are awarded the proper overall points! And everybody is happy!

Thank you Bruce Menke for offering guidance on this subject and incorporating this  important rule clarification in the 2016 WEIAUSA rules.  WEIA

For more on scoring see WEIAUSA rules page 28, section 3.1.C.5.

Don’t DQ by Passing Through!

If you are getting your Working Equitation education through videos and reading the rules you might be really disappointed if a judge disqualifies your due to this seemingly insignificant rule!

When riding in EOH or the Speed test, you may not pass between any elements of another obstacle unless you have already completed that obstacle.

Here is an example that could catch you off guard and cause a DQ.

Arizona Course Map

You can click this art (any art on our site) to see a full size version.

In our example the course map calls for these  elements to be performed in the following order.

4. Garrocha Pick Up

5. Skewer the Ring

6. Return the Garrocha

7. Switch a Cup

During the course walk down you plan your path of travel for elements 4, 5 and 6  and you decide on your return trip to drop off the garrocha you will travel between the Single Slalom Poles, Continue reading Don’t DQ by Passing Through!

The Working Equitation Gate

 The Working Equitation Gate.

During Ease of Handling the Working Equitation Gate is approached at a canter (or trot at earlier levels) until in close proximity to the gate.  Transition down to a walk and approach the gate directly facing the gate.   The horse is positioned step by step to the side of the gate (to the left or right, depending on the direction in which it opens.)  The rider may use either hand to lift the latch, open the gate, and go through the entrance without letting go of the gate (or losing control if the gate is made with wood uprights) .  When the horse has exited the other side of the gate, the rider may back up one or two steps to close the gate.  The rider will then put the latch in place to complete the obstacle.  The obstacle may be required in both directions in levels 4 through 6.

Judging Assessment criteria for Ease of Handling.

The judge will evaluate the horse’s action which should be fluid and without any hesitation.  The horse should pay attention to and participate in the opening an closing movements without showing and signs of insecurity or disobedience.  The riders action should be easy, precise, and free from hesitation.  A negative score will be given if the rider lets go of the gate (or loses control in the event of a solid gate where the hand cannot slide across the top of the gate during the maneuver) or if there is any sign of insecurity by the horse or rider or lack of continuity (fluidity) of the action.

NOTE! During the EOH obstacle called Herding Cattle from Gate to Gate, the same assessment criteria apply as in this article.