Category Archives: Performing Obstacles in Competition

Side Step the Pole II

In our second installment on Side Step the Pole, Working Equitation Competitor, Trainer and Clinician Amy Star offers additional insight into how to train your horse to side pass cleanly.

Coaches Corner

By Amy Star

This seemingly simple obstacle has quite a bit of depth and challenge to it in the working equitation. There can be several variations from easiest to most challenging: single pole, two poles laid out separately, two poles to form an “L” or three poles connected to create a “Z” or “step shape”.Log layout 2

The judge will be looking for a good walking rhythm being maintained during the obstacle, with adequate crossing of both the front and hind legs. The body of the horse does not have to be perpendicular to the ground pole and in fact allowing the horse’s forehand to be a bit advanced from the hind will help the horse in crossing over and maintaining a good rhythm. Continue reading Side Step the Pole II

Rider Levels – Ease of Handling

These are generalized skill expectations  for riders in Ease of Handling per WEIAUSA and USFWE.   Effective January 2015.

  Don’t be too concerned about which organization lets you do what at any particular level.  This is for guidance purposes until you are actually entered in an accredited show.  What is really important is getting both legs over your horse and riding!  You will soon have a really good idea of your strengths and those areas that need work.

  • USFWE Level 1 = Introductory Level in WEIAUSA
  • USFWE Level  2 = Novice in WEIAUSA
  • USFWE Level 3 = about Intermediate in WEIAUSA
  • USFWE Level 4 &5 = appx.  Advanced in WEIAUS
  • USFWE Level  6 =  Masters in WEIAUSA

The following list is a generalization as well.  Again, don’t be too concerned about when you can trot and when you have to canter.   Every rider is welcome to ride in clinics and fun shows to the best of their ability!  Without any arduous requirements.  When you reach Level 5 (Advanced) and plan to take a shot at a national championship you can start taking all this a little more seriously.

  • Level 1 riders will travel between obstacles at the trot
  • Level 2  will travel between obstacles at the trot or canter.
  • Level 3 up will travel between obstacles at the canter.
  • Levels 6 and Masters do all work one handed at the canter.

This is a list of the obstacles  and rider expectations as generally accepted by all groups.    As the training of the horse progresses, the obstacle expectations may change as well.  The following is for Ease of Handling only.  Green text indicates we have an article about the obstacle.

Cross Bridge

  • All levels.
  • Performed at a Walk

Figure 8 

  • Level 1 at  Walk or Trot.
  • Level 2 and 3 at Trot or Canter with simple change.
  • Level 4 up at Canter with flying change.
  • Level 1 – 4, circles can be any size but must be uniform .
  • Level 5 & 6 circles are 10 feet.

Continue reading Rider Levels – Ease of Handling

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.