Try TSRC  Working Equitation Lessons with Stephanie Jennings!

Tri-State’s instructor Stephanie Jennings was the 2019 Reserve Champion Level 2 Open Nationally in this discipline and Level 2 Open Regional Champion in the Confederation for Working Equitation (WE) standings.  Stephanie has  added some WE instruction to her TSRC class schedule to include learning to navigate the various WE obstacles. See the monthly Wester Lesson schedule, however Working Equitation is open to all disciplines.

This fun and all inclusive discipline for both English and Western riders. Since TSRC introduced WE instruction to its lesson program in 2018, WE has been growing rapidly in the area. TSRC members Diane Hutchinson and Biddie Lowry have developed a series of clinics and schooling shows — more information about Northern Virginia Working Equitation (NOVAWE)  is available at


There are three phases to a Working Equitation Show.

  1. The first phase is the dressage test in a 20 m by 40 m arena. (This is a WE dressage test, not a USDF test).   The Intro test is just walk and trot. The Novice A test is walk, trot, and canter similar to a  USDF Training Level Dressage test. There is a three loop serpentine and a rein back in the Novice test.
  2. The second phase is the Ease of Handling. The EOH trial is designed to represent difficulties that a horse and rider would encounter while working in the field. The objective is to show both the rider’s and horse’s capacity for calmness, precision, style, and regularity in performing the obstacles, providing evidence of harmony between the horse and rider. This trial is not timed.
  3. The Speed trial is judged solely on the time taken to complete the course, plus any time adjustments for bonuses or penalties. The obstacles are executed as quickly as possible, without any concern for style. This trial provides evidence of the rider’s coordination and anticipation, and the horse’s submission, speed, and attention.

Definition: Level 1 (Intro) – travel between obstacles at the trot. Most obstacles are done at the walk with some  trotting in between obstacles.  (Next level up: Level 2 (Novice A) includes some trotted obstacles and Canter in between.)

For a wonderful video that explains Working Equitation please watch this:

For complete Working Equitation information and rules – Visit the sport’s governing National Organization– USA Working Equitation

For more general information here are some Links:

What is Working Equitation, Dressage Today LINK

Working Equitation Today LINK

Working Equitation, Explained  LINK

Below is a sampling of some Obstacle with explanations-


Pick up a Jug – halt, pick up the jug and raise it above head. Return jug to table. Horse must be immobile.


Bell at the End of Corridor –

Level 1: Walk in, Level 2: Walk or Trot in.

Rider halts even with the bell, ring the bell, then rein back out of corridor. This could be a straight corridor or L shape corridor.



Switch a Cup from one Pole to Another  

Level 1: Walk in, halt, move the cup from one side to the other. Exit.

Level 2: Walk or trot to halt, move the cup from one side to the other. Exit.




Approach gate in a perpendicular direction to the gate.

Using one hand, open the gate, pass through and replace the loop or close the gate.

You may not let go of the gate or rope without penalty.

For the higher levels the Gate is a solid gate.




Round Pen

Enter the round pen at the walk ( higher levels canter).  Complete the circle exit, halt, turn on the haunches and complete the circle the other direction.


Cross over a bridge.

Side Step over Log or Pole

Approach perpendicular to the pole and halt on one side.

This may be a single pole, or 2 parallel poles.

If you have 2 parallel poles, must change direction for second pole.

Some rules and observations:

  1. If you need to ride one -handed to touch or pick up an object, always use the same hand to hold the reins and the same hand to handle the object.
  2. You can not switch hands when you need to handle the next object. In other words, if you use your right hand to pick up a cup or grab the pole, you must use your right hand every time.
  3. If you drop an object (level 2 or higher) you must dismount to retrieve it and then remount with the object. Level 1 riders will be handed the object.
  4. Obstacles requiring a full halt- rider’s body should be even with obstacle.
  5. Horses must be immobile if the obstacle requires a halt.
  6. The only obstacles that can be done at the canter for Levels 1 & 2 is the jump or a bank.

Disqualification – just a sample

  1. You can’t cross the line of an obstacle during the trail before it has been performed.
  2. Stroking or touching the horse’s neck in front of the rein hand 3 times. Penalty each time that occurs.
  3. Failure to ride through the course entry/exit markers in the direction indicated on the course map.