The Working Equitation Speed Test is exciting to watch, and ride as well!
If there is to be a phase of WE that entices the general public to attend a WE competition or horse show it will likely be the Speed Phase.
The Speed phase is designed to provide evidence of the rider’s coordination and anticipation, and the horse’s qualities of submission, speed, attention, and finesse. The obstacles should be performed as quickly as possible, without any concern for style. The test is judged solely on the time taken to complete the course plus any time adjustments that may accrue.
The arena requirements are the same for this phase as for Ease of Handling
There must be entrance and exit flags within the boundary of the arena. Timekeepers (or automatic timers) are located at the entrance and exit flags.
The Speed course at each level will include some or all of the obstacles used in the Ease of
Handling test. Obstacles or portions of obstacles will not be included that would unnecessarily slow a horse’s speed (e.g., half-pass over a pole in two different directions), or that could be difficult to judge in a speed event (e.g., raising a water jug above the rider’s head). A rope gate is used in lieu of a wooden gate in this phase.
Walking the Course
If the Speed phase course is appreciably different than the Ease of Handling course, competitors at all levels may be allowed to walk inside the riding arena to examine the obstacles prior to the start of the first test. The same rules apply as for walking the course in the Ease of Handling phase (refer to section 4.5).
Competitors enter the course in accordance with the defined order of go (refer to section 8.4).
The judge indicates the official start of each test by ringing a bell. After the bell has rung, competitors have 60 seconds to start the test. The competitor must salute the judge outside the entrance flags before entering the course. When the course is completed, the rider goes out through the exit flags and turns to face the judge for a final salute.
Feature photo; courtesy of Leslie Martien , Haras Cup 2014