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Post by Aon-Adharcach on Apr 23, 2018 11:35:34 GMT
Working Equitation as a competitive discipline is fairly young, is was recognised as a sport 1996. It derives from traditional use of horses to work with cattle in countries of Southern and South-Western Europe, mainly Portugal, France, and Italy. Currently, it is gaining popularity especially throughout Europe and South America.
WE puts to test horse's training and temperament, rider's skills, and a relationship between the two. The discipline is open to any horse breed, although Lusitanos seem to be most popular on the highest levels. There's no restriction as to rider's age, but horses can't be younger than 6 years.
A full WE competition consists of three trials (four on International level only):
It's a freestyle test, takes place in a 20 m x 40 m arena. The pair needs to perform a set of required movements within set time. Some movements differ from what we can see in standalone dressage competitions, e.g. rein back or pirouette in walk. More advanced riders should hold reins in one hand only (no swapping allowed). No leg protection for horses allowed in this trial.
Ease of Handling (Maneability) trial
It's a gymkhana style event, in which the pair needs to counter obstacles similar to what can be found in the field while working with cattle. An arena should be at least 30 m x 70 m, with distance between each obstacle no less than 10 m. Obstacles have to be performed as precise as possible, in a given sequence. Obstacles are performed in walk or collected trot, with canter used to move between them. More advanced riders should keep their dominant hand rein free all the time. Leg protection for horses allowed with exception of bell boots.
It's performed on the same arena and with the same sequence as the previous trial, only against the clock. There are time penalties for faulty performed obstacles.
This trial is performed only on It's performed by a group of 3 or 4 pairs. Each pair has to separate a chosen cow from the herd and get it to marked area to complete the trial within 3 minutes. In the meantime, other riders keep the rest of herd in the containment zone. The arena should be at least 20 m x 60 m, but not bigger than 30 m x 80 m. This trial is part of International competitions only.
Tack and attire
General rule says to use the tack and attire traditional for given country. This applies mainly to the countries where the discipline originated from - Portugal, France or Italy. Other countries, especially those where WE has been introduced fairly recently, generally base on other disciplines popular in their country.
WEC allows any style of tack and attire, as long as it's suitable for work (plain and simple, no bling parts), kept in muted, neutral colours, and consistent style-wise. Saddle should provide good contact with horse body, therefore show jumping saddles in English-style are not allowed.
Below, you'll find examples of acceptable tack and attire.