Working Equitation is a real test of the horse’s temperament and training, the rider’s skill and ability and of course the relationship between horse and rider. Horses were originally domesticated and trained for farming and herding purposes, work which required them to respond to their rider whatever the terrain and difficulties they may face. The sport is a highly refined and sophisticated demonstration of these activities, but with the added required quality of elegance and speed of execution.
It comprises three phases:
Ease of Handling
and at International level a fourth phase,
The ease of handling test consists of a course of obstacles, replicating those that may be found when working in the countryside. For example, a gate, a bridge and a jump. There are also other more technical obstacles such as the parallel slalom, straight slalom and barrels. Riders are given a mark out of ten for precision, submission and ease of movement for each obstacle.
The speed test involves some or all of the same obstacles tackled in the ease of handling test but is purely marked on the time it takes for the horse and rider to complete to course. The Association of British Working Equitation is the governing body of the sport in the UK.