Working Equitation

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Working Equitation

Postby blob » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:09 pm

Anyone here have some resources related to or experiences with Working Equitation?

I'd like to introduce the ease of handling/speed test portions of it to my mare as a way to cross train. She gets bored easily and also tends to be very practical and focused on what needs to be done (why bother with the lead change, when it's perfectly easy to just keep cc-ing). I think working equitation obstacles might be a good way to continue to train towards our dressage goals and improve our balance, handling, and collection in a fun way. I'm thinking it might help keep her mind occupied and also create some purpose (in order to execute this correctly, sit and collection are necessary).

But, I really don't know much about working equitation or where to start. I haven't been able to identify any trainers in the area, so that's not an easy option. Would love other people's thoughts/experiences/advice on how and where to get started!

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musical comedy
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Re: Working Equitation

Postby musical comedy » Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:23 pm

Are you on COTH? If so, send a PM to poster Pluvinel. She seems to know a lot about it and might be able to get you some contacts.

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Re: Working Equitation

Postby Sue B » Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:47 pm

I think Flight might do something similar as well (on this board) and I know Straightforward has dabbled in it with her mare, Annabelle.

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Re: Working Equitation

Postby StraightForward » Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:12 am

Nope that is not me, though I'd like to do it someday.
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Re: Working Equitation

Postby blob » Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:51 am

Thank you MC and Sue B. I'll reach out to Pluvinel and Flight via PM!

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Re: Working Equitation

Postby Flight » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:57 am

Hi Blob, are you in USA? Each country seems to have multiple clubs with slightly different rules. The best way is to find a clinic and go with your horse, its easier to see it demonstrated and then have a go.
I'm in Australia and it's fairly new in the area I am. I like it for the reasons you are looking for. You have to have all the dressage qualities, but above all it's looking at harmony and relaxation - not the big expressive paces that competition dressage is looking for.
Getting your horse comfortable with the obstacles is the start, then building up the dressage as you go through the levels.

Some Aussies go to America to ride/clinic though WE United http://www.weunited.us
If you can find a rule book, it will guide you in how you ride the obstacles. For example, figure 8 barrels - simple sounding to ride around 2 barrels, but your circles must be the same, a certain diameter, your bend/flexion even, your change through the middle must be exactly in the middle and a straight departure.

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Re: Working Equitation

Postby blob » Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:45 am

Flight wrote:Hi Blob, are you in USA? Each country seems to have multiple clubs with slightly different rules. The best way is to find a clinic and go with your horse, its easier to see it demonstrated and then have a go.
I'm in Australia and it's fairly new in the area I am. I like it for the reasons you are looking for. You have to have all the dressage qualities, but above all it's looking at harmony and relaxation - not the big expressive paces that competition dressage is looking for.
Getting your horse comfortable with the obstacles is the start, then building up the dressage as you go through the levels.

Some Aussies go to America to ride/clinic though WE United http://www.weunited.us
If you can find a rule book, it will guide you in how you ride the obstacles. For example, figure 8 barrels - simple sounding to ride around 2 barrels, but your circles must be the same, a certain diameter, your bend/flexion even, your change through the middle must be exactly in the middle and a straight departure.



Thank you! This is helpful! Yes, I'm in the US. I'll keep an eye out for clinics near me. I'll also look at the rule book and see if I can start practicing some obstacles. I think even the idea of having to do the barrels and then go over a jump and then rein back in an L (or whatever order) would be great for my horse--keep her interested

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Re: Working Equitation

Postby Hayburner » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:51 pm

Check out Patrick King Classical Dressage he does some of this and also the garroucho work. He does travel around and do clinics. Has lots of videos on YouTube and is also on Facebook.

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Re: Working Equitation

Postby Baroque » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:42 pm

The WE single and double slalom obstacles would be good ones for practicing the flying changes. Those and the cloverleaf around the barrels. Start everything in walk then when the horse is confident move to trot and finally canter.

Just remember that the ease of handling test should be considered as "Dressage with Obstacles" and you won't go wrong. They are looking for even loops in things like the serpentines and figure 8s around barrels etc, so that you show the horse's beauty in movement, nice relaxed work and above all have fun!

Get used to riding with the reins in one hand - usually the left is used for the horses reins and the right is used for the obstacles. Using a mullen mouth bit makes one handed riding a lot easier. I ride with the reins like the Doma Vaquera riders - bring the right rein in between the little finger and ring finger and the left one under the little finger, both reins go out the top of the hand with the thumb held firmly on top. Small wiggles with the fingers combined with seat and leg aids should tell the horse to move left or right.

You'll need to get the horse used to picking up the garrocha pole from the drum and spearing the ring with it.
Start these types of obstacles in teeny tiny steps - hold and carry a small stick, rinse & repeat until the horse is used to seeing the stick moved around over its body and head.

Move to a bigger stick over time, drag it around and wave it over the horses head and along each side of the body, take your time with this so the horse isn't worried about anything to do with the stick. Ride beside the thing you hang the ring on and get the horse used to going past it before you even think of spearing the ring. When you start picking up the ring hold your thumb out when holding the garrocha so that you can catch the ring with it as it comes down the pole. When going at speed use 2 point position otherwise when you are sitting on the saddle the end of the garrocha will go up and down by as much as half a metre! Look at the tip of the garrocha and nowhere else if you want to get a ring on it.

Zeus's first ridden work with the garrocha pole!
garrocha.jpg
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lance.jpg
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I inhanded him with it for a while then hopped on and had a play with it dragging the end and waving it over his head etc. I started with a broomstick then moved to this one which is about 3m.

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Re: Working Equitation

Postby Ryeissa » Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:07 pm

This looks really fun! I am looking into it as well, more of the obstacle course stuff.

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Re: Working Equitation

Postby Baroque » Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:10 pm

Ryeissa wrote:This looks really fun! I am looking into it as well, more of the obstacle course stuff.


Apart from the normal Working Equitation obstacles just think up lots of interesting challenges for your horse and have a play.

I have lots of road cones in my arena which mark out the archery shooting lane, and I often pick one up while riding and move it somewhere else while still mounted. It's good to be able to carry something on your horse if you need to.

You can make up lots of simple and interesting things for them with basic items. 8-)

I saw this course while in Spain, they used some road markers, straw bales, poles and a cage of roosters in the middle! :lol:
spanishwecourse2.jpg
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Re: Working Equitation

Postby Tuddy » Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:32 pm

Working equitation is great for the dressage horse. Your horse has to be on the aids, it helps with straightness, lateral work, bending, all that good stuff. I find it a nice change, mentally, for both horse and rider as, (I find), with dressage, you work on a movement to achieve a certain feel, a certain engagement, etc., repeatedly in the dressage ring, and it can get frustrating kinda fast. (This is my opinion, please, I am not trying to offend anyone.)

I've heard dressage horses/riders come off the course and be all proud of themselves because they opened a gate, or went through the noodles, or over a bridge, all by giving the exact same aids/cues that they use in the dressage ring. Lots of light bulb moments, just because of change of scenery. I also think the horses have the same type of experience.

My silly little opinion, take it how you like! :)

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Re: Working Equitation

Postby blob » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:57 am

Tuddy wrote:Working equitation is great for the dressage horse. Your horse has to be on the aids, it helps with straightness, lateral work, bending, all that good stuff. I find it a nice change, mentally, for both horse and rider as, (I find), with dressage, you work on a movement to achieve a certain feel, a certain engagement, etc., repeatedly in the dressage ring, and it can get frustrating kinda fast. (This is my opinion, please, I am not trying to offend anyone.)

I've heard dressage horses/riders come off the course and be all proud of themselves because they opened a gate, or went through the noodles, or over a bridge, all by giving the exact same aids/cues that they use in the dressage ring. Lots of light bulb moments, just because of change of scenery. I also think the horses have the same type of experience.

My silly little opinion, take it how you like! :)


This is a big part of why I'm so eager to do this with my mare. She gets bored easily, so the same aids and movements in a different way would be great for her. She's also very purpose-driven, always wanting the "why" behind the work and obstacles really provide that.

We've had so much rain that I haven't been able to set anything up.


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