Working Equitation - Overview

This course of videos looks at each of the obstacles for the Style and Speed Phases of Working Equitation.

Working Equitation Obstacles:

The purpose of these videos is to teach you the various patterns that you will need to know to ride the obstacle phases of a Working Equitation competition.

Remember, Working Equitation is all about collection and lateral work – a bit like Dressage with obstacles!

You can find all of the various elements necessary to teach your horse the obstacles (side-pass, shoulder control, hindquarter control, flying changes and so on) in other lessons on the Club site. Beneath each of the videos you will find a description of what the judge is looking for and the Kandoo Club lessons necessary to master the obstacles in such a way as to maximize your scores.

Discipline Notes:

  1. It is a very good idea to introduce your horse to the obstacles and lead them over and around them, practice carrying the garrocha and familiarise your horse with the more challenging elements of the course, such as the bull.
  2. Try to break each obstacle down for the horse as much as you can. This will often mean approaching the obstacle on the ground before attempting to ride it.
  3. Like Dressage, Working Equitation has various levels of competition. At the entry level the obstacles can be ridden at walk and trot whereas at the advanced level the course is ridden at walk and canter with the reins in one hand.

ISES Training Principles:

  1. Release the pressure immediately when the horse responds. The obstacles are simply patterns that you are teaching the horse so remember to release any leg, rein or seat pressure when he responds correctly.
  2. Use signals that the horse can differentiate. Riding obstacles is all about precision so be sure that your signals/cues are clear. Can your horse, for example, tell the difference between 'move your hindquarters left' and 'move the whole horse left'?
  3. Train and initiate responses one at a time (shaping). Most of the obstacles require the horse to be able to do several different things at the same time, for example, move his shoulders and hindquarters together in side-pass. Be sure to break this down for the horse into its basic elements to teach the maneuver. Each of these lessons can be found on the Kandoo Club site.
  4. Train habitual responses using consistency and repetition. Be sure to ask your horse in the same way each time you tackle an obstacle. This way the horse learns the pattern and forms the habit of doing the obstacle in that way.
  5. Train only one response per signal. You don't want one signal meaning two different things or your horse will have to choose how to respond when he receives the cue. Leg in one position can mean engage your hindquarters and in another position it could mean move shoulders and hindquarters to the right.
  6. Avoid fear during training. As with all training, this is of paramount importance. Once the horse is afraid of an obstacle or a movement you will have a difficult job on your hands. Avoid this altogether by breaking the movement down and being sure that the horse learns each step before progressing. See the individual lessons, such as hindquarter control or habituating your horse to the garrocha, for details on how to best do this.
  7. Train persistence of responses. Aim to train your horse to maintain the behaviour requested, be it collected canter around the arena with the garrocha or side-pass across a pole. You do not want your horse to be under constant rein or leg pressure or he will simply become habituated to that and you will require increasing amounts of pressure to maintain the response.
  8. Check for relaxation. Be aware of your horse's emotional level and remember the more relaxed he is the better he will learn and the better his performance will be. If you feel that he is not relaxed, immediately try to discover why and remedy the situation, in order to maximize training outcomes.