The sport of 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 working cattle on horseback do on a daily basis. It is now a competitive sport with levels ranging from Novice to Advanced. Its fundamental purpose is to promote the traditional styles of cattle work riding used in various countries while displaying a high degree of training and unity between horse and rider.
Working Equitation began as a competition in 1996 when the 4 founding countries of France, Spain, Italy and Portugal created the World Association of Working Equitation (WAWE) and held the first European Championship. It is now a recognized sport in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, England, Holland, Mexico, Brazil, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, USA and now Australia. The sport is governed worldwide by WAWE.
Working Equitation gives horse riders from all countries an opportunity to test the skills and abilities of both the horse and rider for the qualities needed in a country environment. It is a mixture of the classical way of riding (dressage) combined with the likes of trail, gymkhana and cattle work. It promotes good horsemanship and stockmanship.
Competitors in Working Equitation are encouraged to display the culture of their country or geographic region by using the traditional saddle, tack and dress of their heritage. The traditional atticre of each area along with the unique styles of riding is what makes it fun and interesting for the riders and spectators alike.
Working Equitation competitions have four phases. The first three are Working Dressage, Ease of Handling and Speed are included in all competitions. The fourth phase of ‘cattle work’ is only included at Championship shows. Local competitions are open to everyone regardless of skill level, riding style or breed or training of horse.
This clip is of the world's leading Working Equitation rider: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ8d9ByD5L4&feature=fvwp For more information take a look at the Working Equitation Australasia website at http://workingequitationaustralia.com.
Working Equitation was introduced into Australia by Gill Kennerley in 2008. It was introduced into the Tweed Valley region by Dianne Baxter in 2013 when she organized a clinic with Gill Kennerley as instructor. A large range of obstacles has been constructed and Dianne has become an accredited Working Equitation trainer and judge.
The second Working Equitation clinic in the Tweed Valley took place in 2014 and the instructor was the exciting Portuguese Working Equitation Champion, Pedro Neves.
Jose Mendez is multi talented and he has twice stayed for an extra day after his regular 3 day Classical Dressage clinic to give one day Working Equitation clinics. They were both great successes.