“A real test of the horses temperament and training, the riders skill and ability and of course the relationship between horse and rider”
Working Equitation started in Europe in 1998, with just four countries participating – Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. The World governing body (WAWE) was formed in 2004 and now more than 17 countries worldwide are now working under the same rules to develop the sport.
It is the ultimate outcome of the development of the horse as a working animal. Horses were originally domesticated for farming and herding purposes, work which required them to respond to their rider whatever the terrain and difficulties they may face. The sport is a highly refined and sophisticated demonstration of these skills with the added requirement of elegance and speed of execution.
Competitions are split into different phases, similar to Eventing; Dressage, Ease of handling, Speed and at International level, cattle penning .
The dressage phase is much like that of a normal dressage test although some of the movements are performed slightly differently. At the highest level it involves some Grand Prix movements being performed with the use of just one hand.
The ease of handling test consists of a course of obstacles, replicating those that may be found when working in the countryside. For example, a gate, a bridge and a jump. There are also other more technical obstacles such as the parallel slalom, straight slalom and barrels all of which at Advanced level require the horse and rider to perform flying changes in specific places in order to perform the obstacle correctly. Riders are given a mark out of ten for precision, submission and ease of movement for each obstacle.
The speed test involves some or all of the same obstacles tackled in the ease of handling test but is purely marked on the time it takes for the horse and rider to complete to course. Time faults and bonuses can occur according to specific obstacles
British Working Equitation Champion Holly Barber explains the sport and demonstrates how to use obstacles to train flatwork, bringing variety and focus to your training.