Committee Reports: December 2021

Rules Committee

The big news is that new dressage tests are being developed for next year. Our “S” judges (Rebecca Algar, Doreen Atkinson, Nicole Chastain Price, and Polly Limond) are working diligently on this project and making terrific progress.  We will strive to get the next rulebook revision out in November 2022 so everyone will have time to get familiar with the new tests prior to the start of the 2023 competition year that starts on January 1.

Before development of the new tests could begin, it was necessary to define the objectives for each level, i.e., What are the parameters to enable consistent and effective judging at these levels? What are the rider’s training goals for these levels?  The objectives are included here but can also be found on the USAWE website, along with a new Glossary of Judging Terms that are used in the objectives and dressage test directives. . 

 Level 1: 
To introduce the horse and rider to the sport of Working Equitation. Rider should demonstrate a balanced position with independent, steady hands that encourage an elastic contact to the bridle while maintaining a steady, active tempo. Attention to accuracy and geometry is important. Horse should be attentive, show correct bend for the line of travel, and a willingness to work with his rider without resistance. Transitions to and from halt may include walk steps. All trot work may be ridden rising or sitting.

 Level 2: 
In addition to the requirements of Level 1, to confirm that the horse demonstrates improved suppleness, bending and balance while accepting an elastic contact with the bridle.  Consistent, active tempo to be demonstrated throughout while maintaining relaxation and harmony. Transitions to and from halt may include walk steps. All trot work may be ridden rising or sitting.

 Level 3:
In addition to the requirements of Level 2, to confirm that the horse is developing more engagement and the ability to perform lateral movements and clear, prompt transitions with balance and a more consistent contact with the bridle.  Horse should show adjustability within the gaits. Transition from canter to walk may include trot steps. All trot work may be ridden rising or sitting.

 Level 4:
In addition to the requirements of Level 3, to confirm that the horse has achieved a moderate level of engagement (accepts more weight on the hindquarters), moves with an uphill tendency and increased power especially in the medium gaits, and is reliably on the bridle without resistance. Expectation of straightness, bending, balance, suppleness, and self-carriage is higher than that required in Level 3. Canter-walk transitions and simple changes should not include trot steps. All trot work must be ridden sitting.

 Level 5:
In addition to the requirements of Level 4, to confirm that the horse demonstrates correct basics and increased engagement, elasticity, balance, bending, suppleness, and self-carriage.  Transitions between collected and medium gaits should be well defined.

 Level 6:
In addition to the requirements of Level 5, to confirm that the horse has developed sufficient engagement, elasticity, and balance to perform advanced movements. The horse must be ridden with one hand.  Transitions between collected, medium, and extended gaits should be well defined. The horse demonstrates clear uphill balance and lightness, and greater straightness and energy than at Level 5.

Youth Development Committee

Youth competitor Lydia Vantichelt and What About Ta Fame

USAWE now has a youth development committee! We wanted to take this opportunity to introduce the membership to the committee’s ideals as well as its members as we move forward into the 2022 competition season!

Mission Statement

The Youth Development Committee seeks to promote the sport of working equitation by creating a positive environment for youth riders through sponsorships, social and community engagement, and educational support. The committee will work together to explore a variety of avenues with which to improve the youth experience. We seek not only to create new opportunities for youth members to explore working equitation and encourage involvement with USAWE but also to retain and enhance the experience for current riders.

Below are our committee members and a little bit about them:

Alex Tyson

Hello my name is Alex Tyson, Youth Development Committee Chair. I am very excited about helping bring youth into our awesome sport, as well as encourage participation and help provide more opportunities for current members. I truly think that Working Equitation is one of the best sports for kids! In my home state of Michigan we have had a lot of success getting Working Equitation implemented into existing riding schools and hope to encourage more people to do so! It has been an awesome experience for the kids, and everyone’s horsemanship has elevated ten-fold because of it!

Olga Hendrickson

I am the President-Elect of USAWE. I am excited for the growth of Working Equitation in the USA and see the Youth as an integral part of that growth. As a TD, I was pleased to see many young competitors enjoy the camaraderie and fun of Working Equitation. I hope to be instrumental in developing Youth programs that will help promote education and participation in our sport.

Shannon Rowe

Hello! I am Shannon Rowe from Region 5 in Michigan. My fourteen-year-old daughter and I have been competing for the last few years throughout the Midwest.  My daughter showed at her first WE show when she was eleven.  At most shows she is the only youth rider, with the exception of Michigan where there are more kids than adults.  It’s been interesting to see the differences and to watch her experiences as she has aged from younger youth to teen rider competing against her peers and having also competed against trainers, very experienced amateurs, and even judges. Those experiences have fostered my interest in the Youth Committee.

Kasey Riddle

Howdy USAWE! My name is Kasey Riddle and I am a member of Region 7. I am excited to be a voice representing the eastern portion and our aspiring youth in USAWE. I have a direct interest in this committee and organization as I have two daughters who enjoy riding and working equitation (6 and 8 years old). I look forward to what we can all do to help youth in this sport.

We want to help showcase youth in our sport. If you would like your youth highlighted please send a photo and description of the rider and why they love WE to the email below!

Questions, comments, youth spotlights, and ideas for youth development are encouraged and can be directed at:

Licensed Officials Committee

Greetings from the LOC
The LOC is proud to announce that we licensed 23 new Technical Delegates this fall.  These applicants served as Provisional TDs in 2021 and went through several hours of training modules with the LOC and excellent Licensed Official instructors.  Please visit HERE for the list of currently licensed TDs.

The LOC continues to work on expanding the Licensed Officials roster.  We are recruiting USAWE members interested in becoming judges and/or technical delegates and encourage you to reach out to us (, check out the LICENSED OFFICIAL PROGRAM on the USAWE website, or speak to any licensed official for information on the process.  
We are planning on holding two in-person Licensed Officials seminars this year: Bulls Gap, Tennessee, May 17- May 22, and Thousand Oaks, California, June 30 – July 3.  Exact dates to be confirmed as soon as possible.  The LOC will share more details as they become available.  

    By Doreen Atkinson & Christy Reich, LOC Committee Co-chairs

    Coaches Network

    As USAWE celebrates its first year in existence, the Coaches Network is thrilled to announce that 7 applicants from 4 different Regions completed the process and are now recognized as Coaches!
    Region 2:
    Polly Limond of San Diego, California
    Sue Watkins of Riverside, California
    Region 3:
    Chris Stanko of Niwot, Colorado
    Region 5:
    Emily Kemp of Newton, Wisconsin
    Erica Peet of Wonder Lake, Illinois
    Michelle Lackey of Valley City, Ohio
    Region 6:
    Stephanie Hayes of Johnson, Vermont
    Michelle Lackey is our latest addition to the Coaches Network, having just completed her paperwork and application a few days ago! Look for Michelle’s information to be added to the website soon.
    2022 definitely looks bright for the Network as we already have an application in from Region 1!

    Our goal is to continue building a network across the county to connect Working Equation enthusiasts with professionals to promote quality education and community building.
    Know a great candidate in Region 4 who might be interested in applying?
    States include NM, TX, OK, AR and LA. 

    How about Region 7? This encompasses TN, MS, AL, NC, SC, GA and FL.

    For more information on the application process and/or to learn more detail about these particular Coaches, please see the Coaches Network section on the USAWE website, or contact us directly at

    By: Trisha Kiefer-Reed, Coaches Network Committee Chair

    Affiliate Organizations Program

    Upcoming Event for AOs
    We’ve got our Quarterly AO Networking Hour next month:   January 11, 2022, 6 pm Pacific Time
    A meet and greet style networking meeting for the USAWE Affiliate Organization community.
    Open to all Affiliate Organization members, and anyone interested in starting an Affiliate Organization. Meet other USAWE Affiliate Organization leaders, make friends, share ideas, be encouraged, build community! This quarterly meeting is all about getting to know one another and strengthening the support you receive as an Affiliate Organization.
    Zoom meeting, 6 pm Pacific Time on the second Tuesdays of these months: January, April, July and October.
    Email for the meeting invite link.  All registered AO points of contact will automatically receive the meeting invite.
    Agenda for the January AO meeting:
    Event/Calendar Planning Strategies for AOs – Discussion, Q&A
    Obstacles Show and Tell – screen share show-off pictures of your best obstacles.
    Obstacle design failures – share your experiences with obstacle designs that didn’t work well.
    General Q & A and discussion
    Don’t Forget About Your Perks!
    AOs receive several valuable perks of membership:
    A full listing on our dedicated AO webpage.  See your listing HERE
    A roster listing on the USAWE website (coming soon).
    One USAWE Logo banner.  If you have not requested yours yet, fill out THIS FORM
    The privilege of listing your events on the USAWE CALENDAR
    If you haven’t done it yet, RENEW YOUR 2022 AO MEMBERSHIP today to receive these perks and more in 2022!
    I hope to see you all at our January Networking meeting! 
    Contact:  Kristine Strasburger, (208) 818-0400,


    By: Kristine Strasburger, Affiliate Organizations Program Committee

    Competitions Committee

    Congratulations to all who contributed to a strong roster of successful shows:
    Total show licenses issued: 119
    Shows held: 100 (72 used the GIRA online scoring program; 28 manually scored)
    Shows canceled: 19 (due to COVID-19)
    Hold on to your hat!  USAWE is heading for a strong show season. 
    As of 12/15/21, 56 Show licenses have already been issued for the 2022 season!

    What’s New?
    • The competition year now runs January 1 thru December 31; except the 2022 show season also includes the month of December 2021 (13 months).
    • USAWE offers two types of shows: Licensed and Zone Championships (Eastern, Central and Western).  Horse-rider combinations may compete in any or all zone championships, regardless of where qualifying scores are achieved. Horse-rider combinations must earn a combined average of 58% or higher in Dressage and EOH and successfully complete the Speed trial (L2-L7) at a minimum of two licensed shows to qualify for a zone championship. Specific details will be announced as soon as proposals are reviewed and BOD approved.
    • The Competition Manual was updated based on USAWE Rulebook revisions as well as some changes in show structure, critical show functions and reporting requirements.
    • USAWE welcomes feedback!  The Competition Committee provides opportunities for Competitors, Show Managers, Technical Delegates and Judges to share feedback (both positive kudos and constructive criticism) so we can improve USAWE policies, processes, and licensed shows.  We encourage you to share what you love about the competitions you experience as well as suggestions for improvement.  Visit the Competitions tab of
    • The Competitions team has shifted around a bit.  Kris Blacklock (WI) is your primary point of contact for licensing shows, Jeanne Bond (MD) is cross-training and working behind the scenes, and Sue Watkins (CA) is secondary point of contact and following up on required reporting.


    By: Kris Blacklock, Competitions Committee Chair

    Awards Committee

    FINAL CALL for results corrections
    All remaining results for 2021 will be posted soon and any corrections must be received by January 1st. 
    Attention show management! Any missing paperwork and/or fees must be received immediately to ensure results are correctly included in the results. Please send result corrections to

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