What is working equitation?

Working equitation showcases the skills and riding techniques developed in countries around the world to work cattle and perform other ranch chores. The sport originally emerged from Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy.Working equitation involves four phases—working dressage; ease of handling with obstacles; speed with obstacles; and, in the highest-level events, cattle handling.


Each level has its own dressage test where each movement is given a numerical score, and collective marks are given for the horse’s impulsion, submission, and quality of gaits, as well as for the rider’s position and effective use of aids.

Ease of Handling

In this trial, horse and rider negotiate a series of obstacles, receiving a 0-10 score for the quality with which they perform each one. As with the Dressage trial, the judges also award collective marks for horse’s impulsion, submission, quality of the transitions, rider’s effectiveness, etc.


This trial uses many of the same obstacles as are used for Ease of Handling, but rather than being judged on the quality and smoothness of the performance, the event is timed, with the faster times placing higher. For any penalties incurred over the course, time is added to the competitor’s final time. Additionally, if the obstacle “Retrieve a Pole, Skewer a Ring” is included on the course, the competitor can earn a bonus of 10 seconds subtracted from their final time for successfully skewering the ring.



For more information about Working Equitation, check out WE UNITED.