Thursday, June 29, 2017

Reminder: July 15-16 Schooling Show

This show will be held at Circle Star Arena. It is part of the show series for HCWE High Point.

Print and send in your entry today!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

PVF Schooling Show June 24/25

HCWE held their second show of 2017 on June 24-25. There were twelve Intro riders on Saturday and 13 riders on Sunday. The competitors seemed to have a great time, helping out and supporting each other. The great thing about this group of people is how supportive they are with each other. Congrats to all of our riders!!! We saw improvement across the board, and we offered the water obstacle for the first time in competition. That will need to be a focus for many riders in the next three weeks!

Show results for the weekend:

Award winners from the second day.

HCWE added the Advanced category to our shows for the rest of the year and had the pleasure of watching TJ ride her advanced test, and Chris riding the advanced dressage test as HC. 

Photos will be found on the photos page from the home page.

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


. . . . 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: 

You can also find the rules at , 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: