Working Equitation

Working Equitation is one of the fastest growing riding competitions and oldest riding disciplines in the world. Working Equitation is what horsemen in all countries with a tradition of handling cattle from horseback do on a daily basis.  It is now a competitive sport anyone can participate in, from beginner to advanced level riders. A multi-faceted equestrian sport whose fundamental purpose is to promote using the traditional styles of working cattle from horseback used in different countries while displaying a high degree of training and unity between horse and rider.

Working Equitation Competitions give horsemen from all countries an opportunity to test the skills and abilities of both the horse and rider for the qualities needed in a working environment. It promotes good horsemanship and stockmanship while allowing people to ride in the traditional tack and attire of their heritage. This makes it as fun to watch as it is to compete.

The main requirements for Working Equitation are obedience, agility, speed, and cattle handling ability. In order to test each one of the above qualities that make up a highly trained working horse, the competition has four corresponding phases the first three must be in ever event. Working Dressage ( arena flat work) Ease of Handling (obstacle course) Speed (timed obstacle course) The 4th stage of Cattle Handling is only included at the higher level competitions or championships so anyone no matter their skill level, riding style or the breed and training of their horse may compete locally and have fun!

WORKING DRESSAGE WORKING DRESSAGE

Objective

The objective of the Working Dressage phase is to prepare riders for the challenges presented by obstacles encountered in fieldwork. The goal is to develop the handiness of the horse, and to improve the regularity and correctness of the gaits.  Great consideration is given to lightness, energy, relaxation, and roundness of the topline.  The WE horse in this phase should appear calm, supple, confident, responsive, and keen, thus demonstrating empathy with and understanding of its rider.  These qualities are documented in the collective marks for each test.

Arena


Dressage tests are ridden in a 20- by 40-meter arena, which is measured from the inside of the fence.  A small fence no taller than 0.3 m (1 ft.) will surround the arena. The arena entrance is approximately 2m (6.5 ft) wide.
For levels L1 through L5 the arena is be marked with letters on the perimeter.  Letter designators are not used for the L6 test.
The surface must be flat, free from any stones, and appropriate for equitation purposes.  It may be grass, sand, dirt, or a specialized surface provided that it is not too hard or slippery.

Tests


Dressage tests for each level are included in Appendix A.  The L6 test is the one used in the WAWE Advanced competition.  A summary of the skill set required at each of the levels is presented in Table 3-1.
 

Table - Summary of Skills Required 

Skill/Maneuver

L1

L2

L3

L4

L5

L6

Halt from trot

v

v

v

v

 

 

Halt from canter

 

 

 

v

v

v

Halt from gallop

 

 

 

 

 

v

Working walk

v

v

v

v

v

v

Free walk

v

v

 

 

 

 

Working trot

v

v

v

v

v

v

Medium trot

 

 

 

 

v

v

Lengthened trot

 

 

 

v

v

 

Working canter

 

v

v

v

 

 

Medium canter

 

 

 

 

v

v

Collected canter

 

 

 

 

v

v

Lengthened/extended canter

 

 

 

v

v

v

Canter from trot

 

v

 

 

 

 

Canter from walk

 

 

v

v

 

 

Canter from rein back

 

 

 

 

v

v

20 meter circle (or half circle)

 

v

v

 

v

v

15 meter circle (or half circle)

 

 

v

v

v

v

10 meter circle (or half circle)

v

v

v

v

v

v

Rein back 3 to 5 steps

 

v

v

 

 

v

Rein back 6 to 10 steps

 

 

 

v

v

v

Lead change thru walk

 

 

v

v

 

 

Flying change of lead

 

 

 

 

v

v

Leg yield at walk

 

 

v

 

 

 

Leg yield at trot

 

 

 

v

v

v

Half pass, walk

 

 

 

 

v

v

Half turn

 

 

v

v

v

v

Half pirouette, walk

 

 

 

 

v

v

Full pirouette, walk

 

 

 

 

 

v

Serpentine, 3 loop at trot

v

v

 

 

 

v

Serpentine, 3 loop at canter

 

 

 

v

v

 

Serpentine, 4 loop at canter

 

 

 

 

 

v

Figure 8 at canter

 

 

 

 

v

v

Ride with 2 hands or 1 hand

v

v

v

v

v

 

Ride with 1 hand

 

 

 

 

 

v


Test Execution

The order of go is determined by a draw (refer to section 8.4).  The judge indicates the official start of each test by ringing a bell.  After the bell has rung, the horse and rider must enter the arena within 60 seconds.  The test begins and ends with a salute to the judge.
Competitors in L1 thru L3 may have a person positioned outside the arena to read the dressage test aloud.  This is not allowed at L4 thru L6.
At levels L1 and L2, competitors ride with two hands throughout the test unless the bridle being used requires the use of one hand. L3 thru L5 competitors have a choice of using one or two hands.  L6 competitors ride with one hand only.
An error or a failure to perform any element of the test does not immediately disqualify the rider.  In the tests for L1 thru L5, 2 points are subtracted for the first error, 4 for the second; in the L6 test, 5 points are deducted for each error.  The third error in any level test results in disqualification.  In the event of a course error, the judge may ring the bell and notify the competitor of the error.  An error is defined as a change in the sequence of movement that alters the course of the test.  An omission is scored 0 for that movement.
After each test, when the judge has completed the collective marks, the score sheets are delivered to the Secretary/Scorer to apply the corresponding coefficients and tally the score. 

Scoring
Dressage tests are scored on a scale of 10 (highest) to 0 to enable correct and logical placement of the competitors in each class.   Marks can be generally interpreted as follows: 

10

9

8

Excellent

Very Good

Good

Extra quality shown in basics, on top of correctly fulfilling criteria of movement.

7

6

Fairly Good

Satisfactory

On the right track with both basics and criteria.

5

Sufficient

Marginal

4

Insufficient

At least one major problem in basics or criteria.

3

2

1

Poor

Bad

Very Bad

Serious or multiple problems with performance in basics, criteria, or both.

0

Not executed

 


Collective marks are given for:

a.   Paces:  Correctness, freedom, and regularity.
b.   Impulsion:  Willingness to move forward; elasticity of steps; suppleness of the back; engagement of the hindquarters.
c.   Submission:  Attention and obedience; harmony; lightness and ease of the movements; acceptance of contact.
d.   Rider:  Position; effective use of aids.


Grounds for Disqualification

Competitors committing the following faults in Working Dressage will be disqualified:

a.   Overstepping the sides of the arena with all four feet.
b.   Refusal to move forward for a period of more than 10 seconds.
c.   Third course error.

EASE OF HANDLING EASE OF HANDLING

Objective
This phase presents obstacles representing difficulties that could normally be encountered in the open countryside.  The objective is to show both the rider’s and horse’s capacity for calmness, precision, style, and regularity in performing the obstacles, providing evidence of empathy between the horse and rider.  The style of riding resembles closely the form used in Working Dressage.  This phase is not timed.

Arena
The riding arena is a rectangle with an ideal minimum dimension of 70 meters by 40 meters.  It should be flat and free of stones or objects that could endanger the competitor or horse.  Footing must not be hard or slippery.
There is no minimum distance required between obstacles but ideally they are no less than 15 meters (50 ft) apart.
The optimum distance from the public is no less than 5 meters (15 ft).
Course entrance and exit flags will be set up inside the perimeter of the arena.  Entrance/exits will be approximately 3m (10 ft) wide.

Obstacles
Table 4-1 contains a list of the obstacles, and a summary of the basic requirements for each level.  Obstacles 1 thru 18 are those that are accepted by WAWE and used in international tests.   Obstacles 19 thru ­­­24 are additional obstacles that are representative of traditional cattle handling methods in the United States.
Any reference to gait to be used is for EOH phase only; any gait is acceptable during the Speed phase. 
Refer to Appendix B for descriptions of each obstacle, as well as EOH execution requirements and assessment criteria.

Summary of Obstacles and Level Requirements

 

Obstacle

L1

(8 max)

L2

(8 max)

L3

(10 max)

L4

(12 max)

L5

(12 max)

L6

(15 max)

1.     Bridge

W

W

W

W

W

W

2.     Figure 8

T

C, SC

C, SC

C, FC

C, FC

C, FC

Circles can be any size but must be uniform.

3m (10 ft) circles

 

 

May be required to rein back.

3.     Livestock Pen

W

W or C

W or C

W or C

 C

C

4.     Water Jug

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.     Corridor Bell

W

No RB

W or C

W or C

C

C

C

6.     Remove Pole

T

C

C

C

C

C

7.     Skewer Ring

W or T

W or C

W or C

C

C

C

8.     Knock Ball

W or T

W or C

W or C

C

C

C

9.     Replace Pole

T

C

C

C

C

C

10.  Switch Cup

W

No RB

W or C

W or C

C

C

C

11.  Single Pole Slalom

T

C, SC

C, SC

C, FC

C, FC

C, FC

12.  Double Pole Slalom

T

C, SC

C, SC

C, FC

C, FC

C, FC

13.  Gate

 

 

 

May be required in both directions.

14.  Jump

 

C

C

C

C

C

15.  Side Step over Pole

 

W

W

W

W

W

16.  Water Ditch

 

W

W

W

W

W

17.  Bank Jump

 

W

W or C

C

C

C

18.  Cloverleaf

 

 

C. SC

C, FC

C, FC

C, FC

 

 

           

Note: 

1. Obstacle numbers in table are for reference only; they are not intended to indicate sequential order.
2. W = walk; T = trot; C = canter; RB = rein back; SC = simple change of lead; FC = flying change of lead.
3. Any reference to gait (e.g., walk on the bridge) relates to Ease of Handling phase only.  There is no restriction on gait for any obstacle in the Speed phase.

Course Design

There will be a maximum of 8 obstacles in level L1 and L2, 10 obstacles in level L3, and 12 obstacles in the L4 and L5 levels, and 15 obstacles for L6.  Some obstacles can be combined in a series and count as one obstacle (e.g., removing the lance from a barrel, skewering a ring, and replacing the lance).
Obstacles will be numbered, indicating the order in which they are to be encountered.  The number is placed on the right-hand side of the entrance to the obstacle. It may be required to perform an obstacle more than once, in the opposite direction.
All obstacles will be marked with red and white flags (red on the right, white on the left) to indicate proper direction through the obstacle.  Some obstacles may have exit flags as well.  The flags also indicate the transition to/from walk, if applicable to that obstacle.
A course map will be posted no less than 2 hours prior to the class. 

Walking the Course

Before the start of this phase, competitors at all levels may walk inside the riding arena to examine the obstacles.   Judges will walk the course with the exhibitors and the course designer, if available, to answer any questions.  Trainers may accompany L1 riders and children on the walk through.  The arena will be open for a period of 20 minutes.  The judge will signal the arena’s opening and closing.
No competitor may remain in the arena after the closing signal has been given.  The classes will begin no less than 20 minutes later. No changes will be made to the course following the walk through.

Test Execution
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; competitors who fail to comply with the time limit will be disqualified.  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.
At levels L1 and L2, competitors ride with two hands throughout the test, except when one hand is required for a specific obstacle (e.g., gate), or the bridle being used requires the use of one hand.  L3, L4, and L5 competitors have a choice of using one or two hands.  L6 competitors ride with one hand only.

Competitors may use either the right or left hand in negotiating obstacles in this phase; however, the same hand must be used consistently throughout. 

In order for an obstacle to be successfully performed, a rider must:

- Ride between the obstacle’s entrance flags in the correct direction
- Perform the technical movement required by the obstacle
- Exit the obstacle zone by the exit flags (if applicable).

Riders cannot cross any obstacle that has not been performed.

The compulsory gait between obstacles is canter; trotting between obstacles is penalized.  For L1 competitors, trot is allowed between obstacles.

Course Errors

All course errors will be penalized.  A course error can occur in the manner of approach to an obstacle, misperforming an obstacle, or approaching an obstacle out of sequence.  Course errors include:

- Starting to perform obstacle X+1 without having completed obstacle X.
- Approaching one of the obstacle’s components without passing between the start flags or without having approached a previous component.
- Knocking down any part of an obstacle during the performance of that obstacle or knocking down any previously performed obstacle. 
- Refusing an obstacle (e.g., the horse stops, steps backwards, or circles before entering the obstacle).  The rider can try for a second time; each refusal will be penalized. If the second try is unsuccessful, the rider can move on to the next obstacle to avoid a third refusal and disqualification.  A score of 0 is given for an obstacle not completed.
- Dropping any part of the obstacle that is required to complete the obstacle (e.g., cup, water jug). (See Note)

Note: L5 and L6 competitors must dismount, retrieve the item, remount, and continue on to complete the obstacle.  Dropping an obstacle item will be penalized.  Failure to retrieve a dropped item is grounds for disqualification.

Scoring
The judge uses a score sheet as shown in Appendix C.  Each obstacle within the Ease of Handling Phase is scored on a scale of 10 (highest) to 0 to enable correct and logical placement of the competitors in each class. Marks can be generally interpreted as follows:

10

9

8

Excellent

Very Good

Good

Extra quality shown in basics, on top of correctly fulfilling criteria of movement.

7

6

Fairly Good

Satisfactory

On the right track with both basics and criteria.

5

Sufficient

Marginal

4

Insufficient

At least one major problem in basics or criteria.

3

2

1

Poor

Bad

Very Bad

Serious or multiple problems with performance in basics, criteria, or both.

0

Not executed

 

 

For each obstacle, judges will score the horse on the basis of the following:

a.   Paces:  Correctness, freedom, and regularity.
b.   Impulsion:  Willingness to move forward; elasticity of steps; suppleness of the back; engagement of the hindquarters.
c.   Submission:  Attention and obedience; harmony; lightness and ease of the movements; acceptance of contact.
d.   Transitions:  Crisp accurate transitions between gaits.

Judges will score the rider on the basis of the following:

a.   Position and seat of the rider.
b.   Effectiveness and discretion in use of the aids.
c.   Exclusive use of single hand (when applicable).

Grounds for Disqualification  

Competitors committing the following faults in this phase will be disqualified: 

a.   Failure to enter the obstacle through the flags, going through an obstacle in the wrong direction, or not passing through the exit flags (if applicable).
b.   Not riding the course in the sequential order.
c.   Using alternating hands in performing obstacles.  The rider must consistently use the same hand for each obstacle.
d.   Three refusals at one given obstacle.
e.   Crossing any obstacle that has not been performed.
f.    Knocking down any part of any obstacle that has not been performed.
g.   Failure to retrieve a dropped item (L5 and L6 competitors only).

APPENDIX B.   OBSTACLES 

1. Bridge

a.   Description.  The bridge is made of wood, at least 4-m (13-ft long), 1.5-m (5-ft) wide, and at least 20-cm (8-in.) in height at the center.  The floor must not be slippery.  The obstacle should be built with solid materials so that it is not a danger for the horse or rider.  The bridge may be arched and may or may not have side rails.  If there are side rails, they should be removable in case of an accident.
b.   Execution.  The bridge must be crossed at a walk in the Ease of Handling phase.  In the Speed phase, the bridge may be crossed at any speed, with or without touching it.  The bridge may be crossed in both directions.
c.   Assessment Criteria (EOH).  The judge will evaluate the transition to the walk, the quality and regularity of the walk, the straightness of the horse going over the bridge, and the confidence of the horse and rider in dealing with this obstacle. Points will be deducted if a horse shows any awkwardness, hesitation, or irregularity.  Any gait other than walk will receive a negative mark (less than 5).

2. Figure 8

a.   Description.  Two barrels (or similar upright items) are placed 3m (10 ft) apart on center. 
b.   Execution. The horse passes between the barrels and performs a circle around the barrel to the right, passing back between the barrels with a change of direction to perform a complete circle around the left barrel.  Upon completing the circle on the left hand side, it will pass halfway between the barrels and exit the obstacle. The circles must be uniform in size with the change of lead and direction on-center between the barrels.  L1 thru L4:  circles can be any size. L5 and L6:  circles are 3m (10 ft) in diameter.  The obstacle may also be performed in rein back.
c.   Assessment Criteria (EOH). The judge will evaluate the straightness of the approach to the obstacle, correctness of the horse’s posture during the change of canter, the passage half way between the barrels, the shape and symmetry of the circles, the horse’s response to the aids, and the quality of the change of lead.  A negative mark will be given if the rider fails to perform the change of lead.  At L5 and L6, the judge will assign a negative mark if the rider fails to coincide the change of lead with the midpoint between the barrels.

3. Livestock Pen
a.   Description.  This obstacle consists of a round enclosure approximately 7.5 m (25 ft) in diameter, with an entrance a minimum of 1.5-m (5-ft) wide.   Inside the round enclosure is a smaller round fenced enclosure a minimum of 3 m (10 ft) in diameter meant to simulate a livestock pen.  The corridor around the livestock pen should be 1.5-m wide.
b.   Execution.  The horse should enter the obstacle at a walk or canter, proceed around either to the right or the left, exit and perform a full turn, and re-enter the obstacle going in the opposite direction.  
c.   Assessment Criteria (EOH).  The judge will evaluate the horse’s serenity and confidence, and the rider’s serenity and use of aids in performing the obstacle. 

4. Water Jug
a.   Description. A jug sits on top of a small table that is 1-m (3-ft) high.
b.   Execution. The rider approaches the table and halts with the rider’s leg even with the table, lifts the jug and raises it above his/her head, and replaces the jug in its original place.
c.   Assessment Criteria (EOH).  The judge will evaluate the manner in which the horse approaches and remains immobile next to the table without showing any fear and trusting the rider’s use of aids.  The jug, when placed on the table, must remain upright.  Any jarring movement against the table will result in a lower score.  A higher score will be awarded for approaching the table at canter rather than walk.  If the jug is dropped, the score is 0 for L1 thru L4 competitors; L5 and L6 riders must dismount and retrieve the jug. 

5. Corridor Bell
a.   Description.  A corridor is made from two parallel poles approximately 4-m (13-ft) long, which are held up by supports approximately 0.3-m (1-ft) to 0.6-m (2-ft) high (the higher the support, the more difficult the obstacle).  The supports are not set in the ground.  The corridor is 1.5-m (5-ft) wide.  A bell is placed at the end of the corridor, on the right side, 2-m (6.5-ft) high.  The corridor may also take the form of an “L” or a “Z.”
b.   Execution.  The horse and rider enter the corridor at a walk or canter and halt at the end of the corridor.  The rider rings the bell and, depending on the level, either moves the horse forward out of the obstacle (L1) or reins back through the corridor.
c.   Assessment Criteria (EOH).  The judge will evaluate the horse’s attitude, straightness, and collection; the immobility of the horse at the bell; the rider’s use of aids; and the fluidity, continuity, and quality of the performance.  A higher score will be awarded for performing the obstacle at canter rather than at walk.  Failure of the horse to remain still will be penalized. Failure to ring the bell or knocking over any part of the obstacle will result in a negative score. 

6. Remove Pole

a.   Description.  This obstacle consists of a barrel and a pole 3 to 4 m in length (10 to 13 ft). 
b.   Execution.  The rider should approach the barrel and retrieve the pole without stopping and without the horse appearing to take any notice. The horse should advance at a steady gait and not demonstrate any unusual reaction to the appearance of the barrel or the rider’s removal of the pole.  The rider may circle the barrel one revolution before picking up the pole.
c.   Assessment Criteria (EOH).  The judge will evaluate the manner in which the horse approaches the obstacle, its reaction to the movement of the pole, and the relaxed manner in which the rider uses the pole.  Any break or change of movement by the horse is penalized.  Picking up the pole in a straight line will earn a higher score than circling the barrel while picking up the pole.  Knocking down the barrel will result in a negative score. If the rider drops the pole, the score for the obstacle is 0 for L1 thru L4 competitors; L5 and L6 riders must dismount and retrieve the pole. 

7.  Skewer Ring
a.   Description.  The obstacle consists of a pole and a ring.  (If using multiple rings, the rings can be set at varying heights.)  The rings can be made out of wood, metal, or plastic and should be approximately 13-15 cm (5-6 in.) in diameter.
b.   Execution.  With the tip of the pole the competitor must skewer the ring(s).  The horse must maintain gait.
c.   Assessment Criteria (EOH).  The judge will evaluate the manner in which the horse approaches the obstacle, maintaining a good posture and not slowing down, and the fluidity with which the rider completes the exercise.  Any break in the horse’s movement with loss of fluidity will be penalized.  Striking any part of the obstacle will result in a lower score.  Skewering the ring is not nearly as important as the style/approach to the obstacle and the continuity of the horse and rider.  Dropping the ring after picking it up will result in a negative score.

8.  Knock Ball
a.   Description.  The obstacle consists of a pole and balls of various sizes set at different heights.  The balls should not be smaller than 15 cm (6 in.) in diameter.
b.   Execution.  The competitor must knock down the balls from a base using the tip of the pole.  The horse must maintain gait.
c.   Assessment Criteria (EOH).  The judge will evaluate the manner in which the horse approaches the obstacle, maintaining a good posture and not slowing down, and the fluidity with which the rider completes the exercise.  Any break in the horse’s movement with loss of fluidity will be penalized.  Striking any part of the obstacle or striking the ball with other than the tip of the pole will result in a lower score.

9.  Replace Pole
a.   Description.  The obstacle is a second barrel set some distance apart from the first barrel.
b.   Execution. The pole is deposited with the butt end down in the barrel. The rider may circle the barrel one revolution while depositing the pole.
c.   Assessment Criteria (EOH).  The judge will evaluate the manner in which the horse approaches the obstacle, its reaction to the movement of the pole, and the relaxed manner in which the rider uses the pole.  Any break or change of movement by the horse will be penalized.  Depositing the pole in a straight line will earn a higher score than circling the barrel.  Knocking down the barrel will result in a negative score. If the rider drops the pole or if the pole bounces out of the barrel, the score for the obstacle is 0 for L1 thru L4 competitors; L5 and L6 riders must dismount, retrieve the pole, remount and place it in the barrel.   

Note: Obstacles 6, 7, 8 and/or 9 can be combined as elements of one obstacle.

 

10. Switch Cup
a.   Description. This obstacle consists of two or more bending poles that are 2 m (6.5 ft) in height, with an exterior base not set in the ground. A drinking cup is placed on the tip of one of the poles.   The poles can be set in a variety of configurations.
b.   Execution
(1) Two poles are set 1.3m (5 ft) apart at the end of a corridor, or can stand alone as one obstacle, with the cup on the right hand pole.  The rider halts between the two poles, switches the cup from one pole to the other, and exits the obstacle. If a corridor is included, L2 thru L6 riders rein back through the corridor once the cup has been placed.
(2) Three to five poles are set 5 m (20 ft.) apart in a single slalom.  The rider picks up the cup from the first pole, weaves around the middle pole(s), and places the cup on the end pole.  Level L1 continues forward to the next obstacle; L2 thru L6 riders rein back through the middle pole(s) and exit the obstacle at the entrance.
(3)  Two columns of three poles is set in straight lines with a distance of 4.5m (15 ft) between each pole.  A cup is placed on the tip of the last pole on the right.  The rider goes through the corridor of poles and stops between the end poles to retrieve the cup.  The rider then reins back around a middle pole and stops between the entrance flags to deposit the cup on the tip of the right pole.          
c.   Assessment Criteria (EOH).  The judge will evaluate the fluency of the horse’s movements and its response to the use of the aids, enabling the route to be performed with maximum smoothness and accuracy. Touching any of the poles will result in a negative score.  If the rider drops the cup, the score for the obstacle is 0 for L1 thru L4 competitors; L5 and L6 riders must dismount and retrieve the cup.  If the pole that the cup is to be placed on is knocked down, the score for the obstacle is 0 for L1 thru L4 riders; L5 and L6 riders must dismount and re-set the pole.

11. Single Pole Slalom
a. Description.  This obstacle consists of a minimum of five bending poles in a straight line with a distance of 7 m (~24 ft) between each pole for L1 thru L4, 6 m (~20 ft) for L5 and L6.  The poles should be 2m (6.5 ft) in height, with an exterior base not set in the ground.
b. Execution.  The obstacle is entered at a canter.  A change of lead (flying change or simple change) is to be executed at each change of direction, on the line midway between the poles.  L1 riders trot through this obstacle.
c. Assessment Criteria.  The judge will evaluate the rider’s calm, precise action; fluid and continuous movement; overall manner in performing this obstacle; and the quality of the lead changes.  Failure to perform lead changes will result in a negative mark.

12. Double Pole Slalom
a. Description. This obstacle consists of a minimum of six 2-m (6.5-ft.) high poles, each fixed to an outside base that is not secured to the ground.  For L1 thru L4, the poles are laid out in two staggered parallel lines, with a distance of 7.5 m (~25 ft.) between the rows.  The poles on each parallel line are 7.5 m (25 ft.) apart.  For L5 and L6, the poles are 6 m apart.
b. Execution. The horse will perform half turns around the poles, in the order indicated by the number or letter on each pole and in the direction indicated by the flags.  Changes of lead are performed halfway between the poles. 
c. Assessment Criteria (EOH). The judge will evaluate the continuity of the action, harmony and precision of the horse’s movements, the rider’s use of aids, the way in which the changes of lead are performed, and the way in which the rider/horse maintain the prescribed configuration of the exercise. Knocking over poles or failure to complete lead changes will result in a negative mark.

13. Gate 
a. Description. The obstacle is a gate at least 1.2 m (4-ft) high and 2-m (6.5-ft) wide, supported by two weighted posts (jump standards) and two hinges.  The latch should be made of stiff wire or rope that can be easily operated from horseback.  The gate can be opened to the right or left depending on how the flags are set. A rope between two posts can be used instead of a solid gate.
b. Execution. The horse will canter up close to the gate and make its final approach at a walk.  The horse is positioned step by step to the side of the gate (to the left or right, depending on the direction in which it opens).  The rider may use either hand to lift the latch, open the gate, and go through the entrance without letting go of the gate.  When the horse has fully exited the other side of the gate, the rider may back up one or two steps to close the gate.  The rider will then put the latch in place to complete the obstacle.  The rider should not let go of the gate in performance of this exercise.  The obstacle may be required in both directions in levels L4 thru L6.
c. Assessment Criteria (EOH). The judge will evaluate the horse’s action which should be fluid and without any hesitation. The horse should pay attention to and participate in the opening and closing movements without showing any signs of insecurity or disobedience.  The rider’s action should be easy, precise, and free from hesitation. A negative score will be given if the rider lets go of the gate at any time during the execution of this obstacle, or if there is any sign of insecurity by the horse or rider or lack of continuity (fluidity) of the action.

 

14. Jump
a. Description. The obstacle consists of three or four bales of hay (or straw) placed between two upright jump standards.  The standards support one jump pole just above the top of the bales.  Any solid-looking natural object that does not exceed approximate hay bale size may be used (22 in. x 42 in. x 15 in.).   
b. Execution. The horse must arrive at the obstacle straight and with impulsion and jump the obstacle cleanly.  
c. Assessment Criteria (EOH).  The judge will evaluate the manner in which the horse approaches the obstacle, the smoothness of the route, and the bascule over the jump.  Knocking over any part of the obstacle will result in a negative score. 

15. Sidestep (Side Pass) over Pole
a.   Description. This obstacle consists of a 4-m (~ 12-ft) pole resting on supports approximately 10-cm (4-in.) high. To increase the degree of difficulty, a second or third pole can be added to form an “L”, a “Z”, or other configuration.   Two poles can be parallel to one another.
b.   Execution. The horse approaches perpendicular to the pole, either on the right or left side depending on course design, and walks in a lateral movement with the pole between the horse’s front and back legs.  
c.   Assessment Criteria (EOH). The judge will evaluate the horse’s calmness, capacity to perform the obstacle, crossing of the legs, and the fluidity and continuity of the action.  A bend in the direction of the movement will garner a higher score than if the horse is bent away from the movement.  A negative mark will be given for touching or knocking over the pole or if the pole gets between the horse’s front feet or back feet.

16. Water Ditch
a. Description. The ditch should be a minimum of 1.5 m (5 ft.) in the direction of travel (long), and a minimum of 2.4 m (8 ft.) wide.  The ditch may be flat to a depth of up to 15 cm (6 in.) or gently sloping to a maximum depth of 45 cm (18 in.).  The ditch should never be more than 2 ft. deep.
b. Execution. The horse should approach and maintain gait through the ditch naturally and without any hesitation.
c. Assessment Criteria (EOH).  The judge will evaluate the manner in which the horse approaches the ditch, its reaction when going through the water, and the consistency of gait throughout the exercise.

 

17. Bank Jump
a. Description.  The obstacle consists of a level plateau at least 2 m (6 to 8 ft.) wide leading to an embankment of natural substance positioned not more than 30 to 60 cm (1 to 2 ft.) above ground level, terminating in a ramp back to normal ground level.
b. Execution. The horse should approach and maintain the chosen gait through the obstacle naturally and without any hesitation. The obstacle can be executed in either direction.
c. Assessment Criteria (EOH).  The judge will evaluate the manner in which the horse approaches the bank, the smoothness of the jump, the consistency of gait throughout the exercise, and confidence in the rider’s instructions.

 

18. Cloverleaf
a. Description.  This obstacle consists of three barrels positioned at the three points of an equilateral triangle with 3 to 4-m. (10-13 ft) sides measured from the center of the barrels.
b. Execution.  The horse enters at a canter between barrels A & C and makes a full circle to the right around barrel A; proceeds to barrel B with a change of lead over the imaginary line between A & B and makes a left turn around barrel B; and then proceeds to barrel C with a change of lead along the imaginary line between B & C.  The horse makes a full circle to the right, around barrel C, and exits at the same point from which the exercise began.  Another version of this same obstacle is to reverse positions of barrels A and C, and perform the maneuver starting on a circle to the left around barrel A and finishing with a left-hand circle around barrel C.
The objective of this obstacle is to show ease-of-handling and the capacity to perform in tight areas while also maintaining impulsion and cadence in the canter.
c. Assessment Criteria.  The judge will evaluate the horse’s posture, effectiveness of the rider’s aids, cadence, continuity of action, fluidity of performance, and correctness of the lead changes.

SPEED SPEED

Objective

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 for errors.

 

Arena

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.

 

Course Design

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.

 

Test Execution

Competitors enter the course in accordance with the defined order of go.  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.

 

Competitors may use either the right or left hand in negotiating obstacles in this phase; however, the same hand must be used consistently throughout.

 

In order for an obstacle to be successfully performed, a rider must:

- Ride between the obstacle’s entrance flags in the correct direction
- Perform the technical movement required by the obstacle
- Exit the obstacle zone by the exit flags

 

Time Penalties/Bonus Time

Obstacle faults committed in this phase are penalized in seconds.  Time penalties are accrued as follows:

 

a.  5-second Penalties
- Touching/bumping by horse or rider any part of an obstacle but not knocking it down.
- Loss of any part of tack or attire, including hat/helmet.
- Using second hand on reins to steer at any time when riding one handed.
- Stroking or touching the horse on the neck in front of the reins, each occurrence, up to a maximum of two penalties. Riders will be disqualified if stroking or touching the horse three times.

 

b. 10-second Penalties
- Knocking over by horse or rider any part of an obstacle being performed or any previously performed obstacle.
- Misperforming an obstacle, e.g., bell not rung, missing ball or ring (each occurrence), failure to properly latch gate.
- Dropping an obstacle item (e.g., cup, pole).  This penalty applies to levels L1 to L4 only.

 

c.  Time Taken (L5 and L6 Riders Only).  If an L5 or L6 competitor drops any obstacle item (e.g., cup, water jug, etc.), the rider must dismount, retrieve the item, remount, and continue on to complete the obstacle.  There is no separate time penalty for this infraction   Failure to retrieve a dropped item is grounds for disqualification.
Spearing the ring in this phase earns a 5-second bonus (time taken off total elapsed time).

 

Scoring
The judge uses a score sheet shown in Appendix C to record the elapsed time of the test, penalty time (if any), and any comments. The class is placed in order of the lowest time score to the highest.
Time starts when the competitor passes through the entrance flags, and ends when the competitor passes through the exit flags.  A competitor’s official time will be the average of all properly executed manual times.  When timed with an electronic timer, a manual timer will be used as a backup but times will not be averaged.  The electronic timer will be the official time unless defective; in that event the manual timer will be the official time.

 

Grounds for Disqualification

Competitors committing the following faults in this phase will be disqualified:

a.   Failure to enter the obstacle through the flags, going through an obstacle in the wrong direction, or not passing through the exit flags (if applicable).
b.   Not riding the course in the sequential order.
c.   Using alternating hands in performance of any obstacle.  The rider must consistently use the same hand throughout the course of obstacles.
d.   Crossing an obstacle that has not been performed.
e.   Three refusals at any one obstacle.
f.    Knocking down any part of an obstacle that has not been performed.
g.   Failure to retrieve a dropped item (L5 and L6 only).

CATTLE HANDLING CATTLE HANDLING

CATTLE HANDLING PHASE

Objective
The Cattle Handling phase tests the ability of the horse and rider to work cattle individually and with teammates.  The test is performed with a team of 3 or 4 riders.  The objective is for each rider to move an assigned cow from the herd and put it in a designated pen, and for the team to demonstrate teamwork by herding/containing cattle efficiently and accurately.  This is a timed event.

Arena
A sample arena configuration is shown in the following diagram.  The recommended minimum size is 70m x 30m (230 ft. x 100 ft.).  It must have adequate, safe fencing to contain cattle.  A holding pen is set up at one end of the arena.  The exact size and position of the holding pen can vary; it can either be within the perimeter of the arena or set up as a separate pen.  At the opposite end of the arena is the herd zone, where the cattle are held prior to the start of the test.  The size of the herd zone should be approximately 20 to 30 percent of the arena. 
A foul line separates the herd zone from the sorting zone.  A chalk line or flags/cones at each side of the arena mark the boundary between the herd and sorting zones.
The arena surface must be flat and free of stones.  A sandy surface is recommended, but any natural surface will suffice as long as it is not slippery or too hard. 
Four cattle per team must be available for 4-member teams (or three cattle for 3-member teams); a number or color identifies each set. 
In addition to the head judge, a foul line judge is placed with an unobstructed view of the foul line.  All judges must have walkie-talkies.

 

Test Execution

The team captains will participate in a draw to determine which set of cattle their team will handle and the order of go.
Each team will enter and leave the arena at a walk; the riders may not be assisted through the gate by anyone on the ground.  The team is expected to salute the judge upon entering the arena.  Once the team is assembled in the sorting zone, the judge will ring a bell (or other audible signal) giving approval for the first rider to proceed.  The rider has 60 seconds to start the test.

The team works together to separate their assigned cows from the herd, one at a time, one cow per rider.  Each team member works individually to separate one of the assigned cows.  As soon as the cow has been separated and herded outside the herd zone, one or more members of the team may assist the rider in herding the cow to the holding pen.  The other members contain the remaining cattle in the herd zone, but may not cross the foul line.  Once the test is completed, the cow is free to return to the herd and the team prepares for the next rider’s test.

The time limit for separating a cow is 3 minutes.  Time starts when the rider crosses the foul line for the first time and stops when the selected cow is herded into the holding pen and all other cattle are in the herd zone. Any rider who fails to get his/her cow in the holding pen within the 3-minute time period does not get a time score, noted on the score sheet as NT for No Time.

 

Time Penalties

One course fault equals a 10-second penalty added to a team member’s total elapsed time.  Course faults will be assessed when:

- A cow other than the one being sorted oversteps the foul line (each occurrence)
- A team member other than the one currently performing the test crosses the foul line before the cow is in the sorting area (each occurrence)
- Loss of any part of tack or attire (including hat or helmet).

 

Scoring

Each rider is scored on the basis of time taken to perform the test plus any penalty time assessed for faults incurred.
The team score is calculated by adding the time scores of the top three members of the team.  Teams of four will use the best three scores; teams of three will use all three scores.
Placements will be based on the number of cattle penned (completed tests) and the time.  Teams with the highest number of completed tests (most cattle penned) will be ranked from the lowest aggregate time to the highest.  Subsequent placements based on the number of completed tests will use the same criteria.

 

Grounds for Disqualification


Competitors committing the following faults will be disqualified:

a.   Taking more than 60 seconds to begin a test once the judge has given permission to proceed.
b.   Crossing the foul line before the judge has given permission to proceed.
c.   Roughing:  Includes but is not limited to unnecessary or aggressive contact; running over, stepping on, or knocking down cattle while in pursuit; causing cattle to collide with holding pen panels; or horses biting cattle.
d.   Endangering any other rider or horse.