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!

Red and White Flags

Clearly marking your Working Equitation course is essential.  A Best Flag (2)great source for Red is Right and White is Left flags is Store Supply Warehouse.   They offer Red and White Pennant Strings (24 of each color)  for only $10 plus shipping.  The individual pennants can be cut from the 105 foot string and  attached to slalom poles or other course markers  in a variety of ways.  Very convenient and made from a heavy  poly material.



How We Became Cowboys Part I

The introduction to all Working Equitation rules state the discipline has “the objective of enhancing the equestrian techniques developed in countries whose riders use horses in different aspects of work in the field ( ranching)”. The aim is not only to preserve and perpetuate each country’s type of equitation, but also their various traditions, the dress, and tack comprising each nation’s unique cultural equestrian heritage.  Very few North Americans actually know our own unique cultural equestrian heritage as it relates to ranching.  Until recently movies and television portrayed cowboys inaccurately, and those images are what most people carry with them today.   With all of this in mind we have assembled this informative series.

This article is meant to provide a brief overview about the very early history of those who became the great American icon, The Cowboy. As Working Equitation riders, we have a responsibility to perpetuate and honor our unique traditions, methods, and customs involving the tack and attire of our ranching forefathers. North America, from Mexico to Canada is unique in our way of ranching and livestock work. You may be surprised to learn of the long forgotten souls behind our most charismatic of American icon .

Spanish Conquistadors become Mexican Ranchers

1494 –  Isabella, Queen of Castile, Spain recognized the importance of quickly establishing a presence in the New World. Less than two years after Columbus first spied the Americas, Isabella funded his return to the new world. Columbus, along with 1200 Spanish settlers, 24 stallions (for riding and breeding), 10 mares for breeding, and an unknown number of cattle, landed just off the

austurias horse
The Austurias, a handsome, compact breed exist yet today.

Island known as Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic). King Ferdinand (husband of Isabella) decreed that the horses brought on this second voyage should be “the finest war horses available”.   Each soldier was provided a stipend for the purchase of their personal “war horse”, and it appears they did this, and rode those horses in the celebrations held prior to leaving for the “New World”.   But, those horses were probably sold and “lesser” horses purchased for the voyage.

The ships held a collection of common stock breeds, mainly Sorraia, Spanish Jennet, Asturian and Garrano, all important Spanish breeds, but surely not the majestic steeds in the decree. Continue reading How We Became Cowboys Part I

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