Friday, June 23, 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

What to Expect

For those of our riders who might be attending a show for the first time this coming weekend, HCWE wanted to put together a little "what to do" and "what to expect" guideline/checklist for our competitors.

First, let's talk turnout. Turnout is both how you present your horse and how you present yourself.
  • Make sure your horse is clean and groomed. Take the time to braid if you are riding in an English discipline. Trim the bridle path (if you have one), legs or jawline if they are unruly (don't worry about muzzle or ears though). 
  • Clean your saddle, bridle and pad, at a minimum. 
  • Wear clean and neat clothes. Think about presentation. This is a time to look your best, so consider the overall picture you will be presenting. There was a blog post a couple of weeks ago about Presentation that will help with this if you feel lost. Go read it here - we'll wait.
Second, prepare for the show.
  • Make sure your tack and gear is properly packed in the trailer before you load your horse. There is nothing worse than getting to a show and having to borrow a saddle from a friend.
  • Bring feed for your horse as it will be standing at the trailer for several hours the day of the show. Include a bucket for water. Water will be available for use at the venue, but you will need a bucket to carry it in.
  • Give yourself plenty of time the morning of the show. There is nothing more frustrating than arriving forty-five minutes late because your horse decides today is the day they are not getting on the trailer.
Come prepared yourself.
  • Bring snacks to munch on in between rides. 
  • Bring water and other liquids to drink (non-alcoholic ones that is).
  • Bring a chair to relax in and watch the other competitors.
  • Bring money for lunch in case you decide the burgers on the grill smell better than the PB&J in your cooler.
  • Wear clothes that can get dirty until right before you start your warm up, since there is nothing worse than green slobber on your show shirt.
  • No sleeveless shirts. 
  • Bring an appropriate hat or helmet for the showring.
  • Bring fly spray and fly sheets. 
On the Day of the Show:
  • There will be designated parking when you arrive at the venue. Someone will direct competitors to the proper parking place for their vehicles. 
  • The Show Secretary will be located in the indoor arena in the northwest corner. She will have the packets ready for the competitors. Please present your Coggins to her.
  • The packet will include your competitor number which should be displayed on your horse before you start your warm up. It will have a raffle ticket for your pre-purchased lunch, if you did so. It will also have a copy of the EOH/Speed courses included. 
  • The first ride starts at 8:30 and will progress in the Order of Go. Due to aspects of our sport, there are not designated ride times for competitors. Competitors will need to pay attention to the Order of Go.
  • The Order of Go will remain in the same order as dressage for EOH on Saturday and for EOH/Speed on Sunday. 
  • HCWE show managers, Karen Burch and Chris Stanko, are available to answer questions. Please do not ask the judge or the show secretary for guidance. They have their own responsibilities to attend to. There will also be other HCWE members volunteering at the show who can help you if needed.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Order of Go for June 24th and 25th

First rider goes at 8:30 am. Riders be ready to enter the arena when it is your turn. Failure to do so will result in a disqualification for that phase. Looking forward to seeing you there!!

July Show at Circle Star Arena

Hi all,

First off, a reminder that No Dogs Allowed at any HCWE show. Leave them at home please.

Second, the cattle phase is optional as we are offering it as a demonstration/practice only. If you want to participate, complete the optional segment on the entry form. If you do not want to try cattle, leave that part of the form blank.

Teams are three riders. The teams can be mixed from all levels and should be listed on your entry form.

The cattle phase will be ribboned to third place (top three teams) but will not be included in the overall championship for the show.

The cattle phase does not count toward High Point Awards.

The cattle phase will be held on July 16, after the show has completed. We will do the Speed round for the Intermediate/Advanced riders, then clear the arena for the cattle. Intro riders who want to participate will need to return on the 16th to do the cattle phase. We will set a start time for cattle the week prior to the show.

Contact Chris Stanko or Karen Burch for additional information on the cattle phase.

Closing date on the show is July 7th, 2016 or when the show fills.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

And One More

There is one more disqualification I need to highlight, since it has effected HCWE riders in several shows, as I was reminded by several of our competitors.

Start and Finish line in the EOH course must be completed as marked on the course map. On the course map, the course designer will indicate which direction the rider should move through the start and finish line when beginning and ending their EOH course. Sometimes it is the same direction and at other times it is the opposite direction. The rider must start and finish in the direction indicated or it is considered a course error, and since it is at the start/finish of the course, there is no way to correct it. Below are things to consider about the start/finish line.
  • Crossing the start/finish line before completing the EOH course results in a disqualification. Plan your navigation of the course without crossing between those posts. At one of the arenas HCWE hosts their shows at, there is a fixed "gate" (natural obstacle) most frequently used as the start and finish line. Sometimes it would be easier to cross through there between obstacles. To do so would result in a disqualification. 
  • Saluting the judge before crossing the finish line will result in a disqualification. There is a lot to remember when walking the course prior to riding the EOH/Speed course. Be sure to envision crossing the finish line before saluting the judge. 
  • Crossing the start/finish line in the opposite direction of what is indicated on the course map is a disqualification. This has happened to several HCWE competitors. Be sure you understand when walking the course which direction the course finishes on.
Once again, HCWE strongly suggests all competitors read the rules and ask a WE trainer for clarification of any question you might have. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

DQ

. . . . that does not stand for Dressage Queen.

In our sport, DQ stands for disqualification. Disqualification can happen in many ways, at any level, on any given show day. WE United has run statistical analytics on the frequency of DQ's, which has shown that the DQ rate holds steady at about 30%. It tends to increase slightly at the higher levels. I think that has to do with the changes in the US Rules for Working Equitation, making it more difficult to DQ L1 through L3, where the majority of riders are showing. As prep for the upcoming schooling shows in June and July, plus the Rated show in August, let's review.

Remember, disqualifying on a phase does not mean disqualifying on the show. DQ's in the Dressage phase are difficult, but not unheard of. The rider can DQ for the following reasons:

  • Exiting the Dressage court with all four hooves. This occurs when the horse steps over the side of the dressage court with all four legs, or when the horse dodges out of the dressage court if the entrance to the court is left open. 
  • Going off course during the dressage test a total of three times. This occurs when the rider forgets their test, or confuses it with another test, during the course of the ride. They are allowed two corrections, however, they are disqualified at the third off-course movement.
  • Failure to advance for 20 seconds. This occurs when the horse refuses to step forward from a halt, or halts and refuses to move forward during the test.
One can see, in reviewing the rules for the dressage phase, that it is less likely that a small error or momentary lapse in attention can cause a disqualification. Although, one can never discount the possibility of a horse just flat out refusing to try.

For the Ease of Handling phase, things get more complicated, which is why more disqualifications occur during this phase. Let's review.
  • Showing the horse an obstacle in an overt manner. The rider and horse can enter the arena when the prior rider has completed their course, giving the next rider a few moments to settle their horse prior to the start of their ride. During this time, the rider may not overtly show their horse any of the obstacles, nor can they ride any of the obstacles. By overt, the rules mean walking your horse up to an obstacle and allowing them to sniff it, or to work around the outside of the obstacle in an obvious attempt to make the obstacle less frightening. Riding past the obstacle does not constitute overt.
  • Performing the obstacle incorrectly. This includes crossing through the entrance markers prior to doing the obstacle, when markers are provided, performing the technical movement correctly, and exiting the obstacle through the exit markers when provided. If the obstacle is not performed correctly, the rider does have the ability to go back and finish the obstacle prior to starting the next obstacle, such as exiting through the exit markers. If the next obstacle is started prior to completion of the obstacle in question, the rider is disqualified. It is considered a course error if the rider does not finish the obstacle correctly, realizes their mistake, makes the correction and then proceeds to the next obstacle. 
  • Crossing through an Obstacle before it has been performed, unless allowed on the course map/communicated by the judge. There are always obstacles that impede the path of the rider on any course map. This is what provides part of the challenge for the Ease of Handling course. The rider must decide the path they will ride between obstacles, as well as the approach to the obstacle in question, which should be part of the deliberation on the part of the rider during the course walk. The course designer will have considered the approaches and pathways between obstacles and deliberately created a course that will challenge the rider in these areas. Sometimes, the quickest path or best angle is through another obstacle, which is a disqualification. Sometimes, the course designer will set an obstacle near to the fence, where riding between the obstacle and the fence might be considered crossing through the obstacle. The rider, if contemplating that approach, should query the judge during the walkthrough as to the legality of riding that route. Do not assume.
  • Knocking down an obstacle or part of an obstacle that has not yet been performed. This might be more likely to happen during the Speed phase, where riders and horses are moving quickly and cutting corners around the obstacles. However, a rider could misjudge the distance they have when completing their technical movement and collide with part of a nearby obstacle. 
  • Refusing an obstacle three times. This is a penalty at the L1 - L3 divisions and when the horse has refused the judge will signal the rider to move on past the obstacle.When that happens at L1 - L3 the rider is given a zero for the obstacle and moves onto the next obstacle. The rider must wait for the judge to signal moving to the next obstacle. If the rider makes that decision without waiting for the judge to indicate they can move on, they will be disqualified.  In L2/3, if the horse refuses three obstacles during their EOH phase, the rider is not allowed to compete at Speed. At the L4 - L7 divisions, three refusals at the same obstacle result in a disqualification. 
  • Failure to advance for 15 seconds. This is when the horse is refusing to move forward, having planted themselves and refused to move at all.
Those are the general disqualifications for Ease of Handling. There are also specific ways to disqualify while performing the technical movements of many of the obstacles.


  • Mishandling the Gate, Garrocha, Cup or Pitcher. This specifically refers to dropping the named objects. Each group of letters has a different method/penalty of dealing with the issue.
  1. At L1, if the rider drops the rope for the gate, the garrocha, cup or pitcher, a grounds person will pick it up and hand it back to the rider, allowing them to complete the obstacle.
  2. At L2/3, if the rider drops any of the above, they must dismount, pick up the object and remount with the object in hand, then complete the obstacle. Failure to do so will result in a zero (0) being given for the obstacle.
  3. L4-L7, the rider must dismount, pick up the object, remount with the object in hand and complete the obstacle. Failure to do so will result in a disqualification.
  4. Failure to place the cup on the pole will result in disqualification.
  5. If a pole is knocked over, the rider must dismount, reset the pole, remount and complete the obstacle or be disqualified if the pole is necessary for the completion of the obstacle. 
  • Exiting the Front of an Obstacle before the Obstacle is performed. When a rider performs the Bell Corridor or the Rounding Several Poles or Objects, the horse cannot exit the front of the obstacle with all four feet. That results in a disqualification.
  • Ringing the Bell. Failure to ring the bell in the Corridor with a Bell will result in a disqualification.
  • Switching hands when working the Obstacles. The rider must make a decision before starting the course as to which hand they will use for working the obstacles. The course designer should have placed the pole and bull in such a way, that they could be ridden from either side. Once the rider has touched their first object with whatever hand they choose, they must complete all of the obstacles that require touching (pole, cup, gate, etc) with the same hand. To do otherwise, is a disqualification. Many course designers will position the bell on the left side so the majority of riders must reach across their body to ring the bell. During HCWE's shows, this is the main reason for disqualification.
The most consistent issues HCWE has seen at our shows is failure to use the same hand for handling objects throughout, followed by failure to complete the obstacle correctly. The two obstacles most commonly responsible for a rider disqualification is the Corridor with the Bell and not completing the pattern on the drums.

As with all things, this is not a complete list. For a complete list of disqualifications and penalties, please refer to the US Rules for Working Equitation. HCWE encourages their riders and membership to read and know the rules. You can find the most recent updated rules here:  https://www.confederationwe.us/rules/ 

You can also find the rules at http://www.weunited.us/working-equitation-dressage-tests/ , with the caveat that WE United will allow a bilaterally blind horse to compete at their licensed shows. HCWE does not allow bilaterally blind horses to compete at any of our shows due to liability issues.

We encourage everyone to read the rules and be aware of the established criteria.
As always, HCWE trainers are available for training, coaching or answering questions. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Spiffy Duds


On the new Working Equitation tests for 2017, Presentation is one of the categories included on the back page of both the Dressage Test and the Ease of Handling trial under collective marks. The new relaxed tack and attire standards made it necessary to add a mark for presentation on the Ease of Handling form. Often times, at the large shows, Dressage and Ease of Handling are performed on different days. Historically, riders are not using the exact same outfit for both their Dressage ride and Ease of Handling (because dirty). Starting in 2017, a collective mark for Presentation will be factored in to the Ease of Handling trial, as well as, the Dressage trial. This gives the competitor two opportunities to maximize their points for that section of the collective marks. Presentation, overall, is a fairly subjective category, based on the judge’s perception, but there are things a rider can do to bank those points.

 HCWE member Jo B on her horse, Holiday, at the B-Rated show in March
On the first day of the show, Jo sported this look for the Dressage trial. 
On the second day, she wore a dark pink shirt, which really accented nicely with her horse.


Presentation is the turn out of the horse, the tack being ridden in and the attire a rider chooses. The new rules released in December have lifted many of the restrictions on tack and attire that existed in the prior rules, such as allowing any legal bit to be ridden in any bridle. However, the rider is left with some general requirements. All horses must be outfitted in a saddle with stirrups, and a bridle or bosal. Riders must be in long pants, breeches or a riding skirt, long or short sleeved shirt with collar, and a hat or helmet. Footwear must be appropriate for showing (heeled) or mandated by a specific tradition. Any allowed bit can be used regardless of tradition or discipline. The same tack and attire must be used for all trials, even when the trials are held on different days.

 In order to help give our membership tips on how to maximize their presentation score, Tarrin Warren was asked to share her thoughts over the week of Expo. Her first response every time the topic came up was to say that the presentation score is very subjective. Her second response was to say that she looks at the horse and rider together, looking for all of the pieces to fit into a seamless whole. When that happens the rider disappears from her attention, so that she is focused on the horse and rider as a whole, not on the component parts. 

So what can a rider do?


First off, make sure your horse is clean and neat. Showing a horse that has green or yellow spots on it is an insult to both your horse and the judge, even at a schooling show.  Mane and tail should be neat and tidy, even if it is unbraided. Trim the long hair at the edges of their jaw. Trim the long hair on their legs (unless they are of a feathered breed), and around the tail dock of their tail, to present a neat and orderly appearance. If the tack chosen is part of the English discipline, braid their manes. It is no longer required, but if you want to maximize your score, take the time to do so. In Spain and Portugal, a WE rider is expected to show up to lessons with a clean and groomed horse, braided and in show attire for LESSONS. That standard should also apply to schooling shows.


Second, attend to the rider. According to the rules, the rider should be neat and orderly. Embellishments should be minimal, with no sequins, garish colors or flashy items. It should be of a consistent tradition. For example, the competitor is riding in a Western saddle with a western bridle. They should be in some type of western style pants, with a quiet, western style shirt, and cowboy boots. The western style vest, spurs, chaps or chinks and scarf are optional. For English, the competitor would be in a Dressage saddle, English boots or half chaps, breeches, shirt and jacket. Hats or helmets are mandatory for every discipline.


Taking into account that Tarrin wants the horse and rider to meld into one image, pieces of tack or attire that distract from that whole, will impact the presentation mark.


Tarrin's example: a dressage rider wearing a beautiful white shirt, breeches, tall black boots and black gloves, with a white saddle pad under a black saddle on a dark horse. Those choices were chosen to create a seamless look, however, the only thing Tarrin could see was the black gloves moving up and down across the front of the white shirt as the horse moved. They kept drawing her eye and distracting from the whole. 

Another example: a dressage rider with a mix of English styles and a dressage pad with piping that did not match anything. After receiving the Presentation score on their dressage test, the rider changed the dressage pad to a plain one that matched their attire. The Presentation score improved in their EOH ride.


An example: a western rider using slobber straps and Mecate reins. The ropes and straps dangle and swing under the horse’s neck, distracting from the flowing lines of the horse and rider. Tarrin also said that really long western reins are also problematic, since they dangle and swing along the side of the horse, sometimes touching the ground. She spent an entire dressage test worried that the horse would step on the trailing reins and hurt itself.

Another example: a western rider with a scarf that flaps and flutters outside of the rider’s shirt. It bounces and flutters as the rider moves. Instead it should be tucked into the rider's shirt or vest. A flapping scarf can be a real detriment, especially if it comes undone and falls off.


Suggestions for maximizing Presentation:


1. Matchy-matchy


There is a lot of leeway given to tack and attire, so think about the overall look created. The riders who scored the best picked colors and styles that would match and/or set off the color of their horse. Solid, plain saddle pads that match either the horse or the rider’s outfit scored higher over saddle pads with zig-zag lines or multi-colors. Non-required items, such as jackets, chinks and scarves, can help maximize the presentation score, but should not distract or negatively impact the overall look. Adding the extra touch - a somber pair of chinks, a shirt that is of a muted color, a plain, tucked in scarf or bandana – will help highlight the overall appearance of the pair.



 HCWE President Chris S on CO.
Chris and her horse match. The red hat and shirt set off the image very well. The solid black saddle, saddle pad and pants all combine to create one overall impression.



2. No danglies


Get rid of the stuff that dangles, swings or otherwise distracts the eye from the movement of the horse. Be aware of how your hands look in front of your outfit. Tuck in items that bounce or swing. Quiet, clean, utilitarian lines will draw the eye to the overall picture, rather than away from the whole. 

HCWE member Lauren G on Uno.
Yes, there are danglies here, but the overall impression of horse and rider is one of unity. The saddle pad is a solid color and the rider's attire sets off the dark points of her horse. The top color of her chinks matches the color of her saddle. The lines are clean and attractive.


3. Pop!


Use color to accent and highlight, but not to overwhelm. No sequins or flashy items. Be careful with scarves, since the flapping ends can really distract and the color should meld with the rest of the outfit.  A muted colored shirt that matches the horse and the tack will bring a little excitement to the overall look of the outfit. 

 HCWE member Kate S on Eddy.
In order to maximize the Presentation score, Kate might add a burnt orange shirt to her attire, matching it to Eddy and exchange her saddle pad for a solid black one. The saddle, pad and her leg would disappear into one another and the shirt would tie the image together.


4. Glam


If at all possible, have a saddle pad that is used only for the show, in order to keep it looking new and crisp. Saddle pads that are used all the time become sun faded and stained. Keep a solid colored pad just for the shows. Clean the tack before the show. It is a working rider sport, however, that doesn’t mean tack shouldn’t be cleaned and oiled before a show. Wipe the dust off your shoes once you are in the saddle. 



HCWE member Keith J on Boz
A solid working outfit. Clean and well presented. 
The image of the working cowboy.

In the end, the rider should approach their outfit with as much attention to detail as they do their dressage test. Since Working Equitation transcends so many traditions, each rider can choose an outfit that will help them make an impression on the judge while still highlighting the unique combination they and their horse present. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

High Country Show at Plane View Farms

The Show closes on 6/9/17 or when it fills. This show qualifies for HCWE's High Point!!

Entry Form:


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

US Rules for Working Equitation Revision

Hi all. The US Rules Committee has made a mid-year revision of the rules. It is mostly for clarification of a couple of items. There were changes made to the main body of rules and Appendix B.

Here is the summary of the changes. The rules and appendixes can be found at https://www.confederationwe.us/rules/


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tips For Speed





Working Equitation at most shows is a three phase event with a Dressage Trial, an Ease of Handling Trial and a Speed Trial. The Dressage Trial is based on the dressage tests, with specific movements at points in the dressage court, which are judged on a scale from one to ten. It is judged on accuracy of the movement, geometry, connection with the horse, collection and bend. The Ease of Handling Trial changes with each show and asks the competitor to apply the principles of dressage through a series of obstacles. EOH tests a competitor’s transitions, course navigation, and proper use of the aids while testing the horse’s submission, impulsion, engagement of the haunches and correctness of gait. Both of these trials are very precise and specific, with the principles of dressage applying to both.
The third trial, the Speed Trial, is a completely different beast and seems to be approached most frequently with fearful apprehension. Most of the time, competitors only ride the Speed Trial in competition since it is the one thing that trainers, judges and clinicians will tell you not to practice. Practicing the Speed Trial can contribute to a really eager horse at a time when the competitor is looking for the precision and manageability for EOH. This puts competitors at a disadvantage when it comes to the Speed Trial at a show.

Even though practicing the Speed Trial is not recommended, there are some things a rider can do to make their performance better without practicing Speed. 

1. Understand the difference between EOH and Speed
In the Speed Trial, the only rules that apply are the rules for disqualification. The competitor is not being judged on submission, impulsion or bend. It is strictly a timed event and the rider with the fastest time wins. A mistake on an obstacle will add penalty seconds to the ride time, so the competitor needs to evaluate their approach from a strategic perspective and plan their path in advance. The maxim of, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, applies here. Each extra stride the competitor adds to their course will add seconds. Walk the course twice, once while charting distances and approaches to the obstacles for EOH, but then walk it again, calculating the fastest approach. If you ride the same path for EOH and Speed, then you aren’t doing either on right.


2. Install a solid stop on your horse
You might think you have a solid stop on your horse, since they stop right at X or C without taking any extra steps, with a series of half halts to warn them it is coming. That’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about teaching your horse to stop on a dime, suddenly, completely and without hesitation. It should be as close to a sliding stop as your giant warmblood or TB can achieve without sliders on their hind feet. Cue it with your seat, your legs and your voice because the times when you are going to need it the most in the Speed round will likely occur with a garrocha in your dominant rein hand. Make it as much a part of your practice as your 20m circle or your leg yields. Not just so your horse knows how to stop, but also to ensure you can ride that stop when it happens. The last thing any competitor wants is to be thrown out of the saddle by their horse abruptly stopping. In the heat of competition, your horse could be hyper-responsive especially once they figure out the game.

The reason for a solid stop is it comes in handy on a multitude of obstacles. With a solid stop a rider can race to the switch a cup and be confident their horse will stop straight right between the poles without exiting the obstacle. It also helps with the gate, the bell corridor, the pitcher and the sidepass poles. 



3. Use voice commands
Unlike the Dressage or EOH Trials, there is no prohibition to the use of voice during the Speed Trial. Teach your horse voice commands for stopping, standing still and to calm down. One of the big challenges of the Speed Trial is the frantic haste of moving quickly from obstacle to obstacle, combined with the precision of working the obstacle correctly to avoid time penalties. All of the speed in the world isn’t going to matter if your horse will not settle next to the pitcher and in its excitement hits the barrel with its hips or knocks over a sidepass pole. Those can be costly mistakes.

During our final clinic at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo, Tarrin Warren demoed the Speed Trial and she used her voice, including the command “here” to indicate where her horse should turn. Work out the cues that work for you and your horse, but make them verbal as well as from your seat and legs.


4. Teach your horse to rollback like a reiner
The type of rollback I am talking about is the kind where the horse rocks back on their haunches and spins in a 180 degree circle, elevating their front end and launching themselves into a gallop from their stop. It makes that turn fast and quick. It improves the speed at which your horse can leave an obstacle, like the gate or the corridor with a bell. I teach it in conjunction with a kissing noise and my horse knows he has a green light to go. That quick pop of energy and motion is much faster than a ten meter half circle. Teaching your horse to pick up the left lead if spinning to the left or the right lead when spinning to the right will set your horse on the correct lead when approaching the next obstacle.


5. Grab the ring
The ring is 10 secs off your time. It is difficult at a gallop to thread the wobbly end of the garrocha through the tiny hoop of the ring, but at least make the attempt. Maybe you will be lucky and get it on a fluke, or maybe with practice you will be able to thread that eleven foot pole through a needle. Just don’t give it a free pass. Slow a little if you need to, but not too much, or you will lose the advantage of the ten seconds you are trying to gain. Think about this during your walk through. Evaluate it in terms of time gained or lost. Strategic planning at its best.



6. Be aware of time penalties and disqualifications
There is nothing worse than bouncing the garrocha out of the barrel or rushing through the sidepass poles and knocking one over. They will add costly seconds to your time and unsettle both you and your horse. Slow down a little to ensure you don’t bounce the garrocha out of the barrel. Take an extra second to settle your horse prior to doing the sidepass poles. Teach your horse not to pass out of the front of the Rounding Poles obstacle, since that would result in a disqualification. Those few seconds will keep you from racking up penalty points or being disqualified. The goal is to ride the fastest course, cleanly.




7. Teach your horse to neck rein like a cow horse
This is something that can be utilized right away during the Speed Trial, but which your horse is also going to need to know as you move up through the levels. Eventually, the goal is to ride with one hand, right? Neck reining basically means that your horse turns away from the pressure of the rein laid against the outside of its neck. I understand that in the Dressage and EOH Trials the rider may chose to ride with two hands, however, there are times during EOH and Speed where the rider is holding the reins in one hand and must maintain control of their horse. Incorporate your legs and seat when you do this. Being able to turn your horse with a neck rein, outside leg pressure and a weighted inside stirrup comes in very handy at Speed. Frequently, both the EOH and Speed Trials require the rider to ride more than one obstacle while carrying the garrocha pole. 



8. Throw geometry out the window
In the speed round there is no need for big looping circles or good geometry. Again, this is an application of the shortest distance axiom. Practice both big and little loops when working on your dressage: it will make your horse more flexible and listening to your leg, but it will also set them up to make small circles around the drums without diving onto a shoulder and into the obstacle. The same is true with the bending poles. Many horses will automatically flip their leads on obstacles in the speed round because we have gotten out of their way.
The only thing I would caution is to make sure you have control of the shoulder, even in speed. Knocking into an obstacle will cost seconds that will make a difference.


9. Set yourself up to succeed
One of the most frequent mistakes resulting in disqualification in WE is using the wrong hand to ring the bell or pick up a cup. Set yourself up as you are entering the obstacle by moving your reins into your non-dominant hand prior to ringing the bell or switching the cup. If the reins are already in your non-dominant hand, you are less likely to switch the reins between hands to reach up and ring the bell. 




10. Have fun
The Speed Trial is the fun part of Working Equitation. Relax and enjoy yourself. Let your horse have a great time. It’s the closest thing to being a centaur you can get.