What is Working Equitation?
While Working Equitation is a well-known discipline in Europe, it is growing popularity in the United States. Working Equitation was founded in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy, but quickly expanded to Sweden, Germany, the UK and Brazil. The discipline of Working Equitation was created to promote the different types of equitation techniques developed in countries that used the riding horse to work on farms, ranches and with livestock.
American horsemen of all disciplines are embracing the new sport of Working Equitation. Horsemen riding every breed of horse and any discipline from Classical Dressage to Western Cow Horses are trying their hand at the precision and unity of horse and rider needed to excel at Working Equitation.
Working Equitation is comprised of four phases (Trials), including Working Dressage, Ease of Handling with obstacles, Speed obstacles and Cattle handling. Working Equitation is a sport steeped in history, as the goal is to preserve and carry on the cultural traditions of each country and its horses. At the International level, the advanced riders must ride with the reins only in one hand but at the lower levels may ride with both hands. This discipline is based on horses working on the ranch, with cattle and in the fields--so the rider will need the other hand to manipulate equipment.
Apart from the foundation dressage training needed, the horses also need to be agile and bold – horses that you could use in the field for opening gates, crossing over bridges and herding cattle. This competition allows the outdoor country atmosphere into the confines of an arena, which makes it a very popular spectator as well as rider sport.
No matter what your riding discipline or breed of horse, we hope you join us in Working Equitation!
Pictures by Carmen Franco