Committee Reports: February 2023

Coaches Network Committee

Coaches in your Region

Region 1
Trisha Kiefer-Reed of Wolf Creek, MT
Laura Stutesman of Ashland, OR

Region 2
Ashley Bowers of Cave Creek, AZ
Polly Limond of San Diego, CA
Jessica Mosbaugh of Fiddletown, CA
Tessa Nicolet of Payson, AZ
Sue Watkins of Riverside, CA

Region 3
Chris Stanko of Niwot, CO

Region 5
Emily Kemp of Newton, WI
Michelle Lackey of Medina, OH
Erica Peet of Wonder Lake, IL

Region 6
Stephanie Hayes of Johnson, VT
Holly Linz of Woodbine, MD
Bree Sprik of Ancramdale, NY

Region 7
Jody Fontanetta of Milton, TN
Shannon Yee of Bradley, SC

To learn more about our coaches or how to become a coach visit:

Get To Know A Recognized USAWE Coach

Jody Fontanetta of Milton, TN

What inspires you to be a Working Equitation Coach?
I love helping riders develop a stronger foundation in their training and a deeper partnership with their horse. The sport of WE promotes both of these!

What is your favorite obstacle? Why?
It is a hard toss up between the gate and double slalom. They are both a true test of the horse and rider’s training.

What’s your best tip for competitors heading into the show ring?
Breathe, keep your eyes up and ride your half halts.

What’s your favorite trick for remembering WE courses?
I memorize 3 to 4 obstacles at a time then focus on my course lines, bends and/or lead changes. When time allows I will walk the course 3 times.

Your all time favorite WE horse?
Favorite celebrity horse is Trigo, incredible gaits and athleticism. Favorite personal horse is Reve, my mother’s WE schoolmaster. The patience and guidance he gives my students makes him priceless.

What would your students say is your catchphrase?
“Look up and push your hands toward the bit.”

What non-equestrian activities do you love to do?
Anything outdoors, gardening, cooking, baking and entertaining family and friends.


Thanks for the great information, Jody! Learn more about Jody and all our coaches at:

Check back next month to learn about our next featured coach from our diverse network!

By: Coaches Network Committee Members

Affiliate Organizations Committee

To all USAWE Members:  USAWE Affiliate Organizations are your local go-to resource for Working Equitation events.  Do you want to see more Working Equitation events in your area?  Why not contact your closest AO, and let them know what types of events you would participate in?  Not sure who your closest AO is?  Click here to see all USAWE AOs listed by state.  If you don’t see an AO near you, why not consider ways you could form an AO, and help Working Equitation grow near you?  Contact to explore your options!

We are working hard this year to have an USAWE Affiliate Organization in every state.  If your state is listed here, please consider how you might be able to get an AO going in your state.

States without an AO yet:

  • Alabama – Region 7
  • Arkansas – Region 4
  • Connecticut – Region 6
  • Delaware – Region 6
  • Hawaii – Region 2
  • Indiana – Region 5
  • Iowa – Region 5
  • Kentucky – Region 5
  • Louisiana – Region 4
  • Maine – Region 6
  • Massachusetts – Region 6
  • Missouri – Region 5
  • New Hampshire – Region 6
  • North Dakota – Region 3
  • Oklahoma – Region 4
  • Rhode Island – Region 6
  • South Dakota – Region 3
  • Utah – Region 2
  • Washington, D.C. – Region 6
  • West Virginia – Region 6
  • Wyoming – Region 3

We are putting together a survey for the whole USAWE Membership which will allow us to understand your wants and needs better as they relate to local WE activities.  The survey results will help all of the Affiliate Organizations develop programs and services you want to participate in locally.  Please take time to respond to the survey when you receive it some time in March.

To all AO Leaders:

One of the perks of being an Affiliate Organization is the Quarterly AO Networking Hour on Zoom.  Anyone who is in AO leadership is invited to attend.

Meeting invitations are automatically emailed to every AO point of contact.  USAWE members who are considering applying to become an AO are also welcome to attend.  Please contact if you need a meeting invite.

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.

Fourth Mondays in these months: January, April, July, October
5 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
6 pm Mountain
7 pm Central
8 pm Eastern

Mark your calendar now for the rest of the 2023 AO Quarterly Networking Hour Zoom meetings!

April 24, 2023
July 24, 2023
October 23, 2023

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions related to Affiliate Organizations!

Happy riding!
Kristine Strasburger
USAWE Affiliate Organization Program Coordinator
(208) 818-0400 (Central time zone)

By: Kristine Strasburger, Affiliate Organizations Committee Chair

Rules Committee

The Rules Committee is preparing a mid-year revision to the Rulebook. This revision has no technical changes only clarification of certain items and will tentatively be released by March 1st.


By: Jeanne Bond, Rules Committee Chair

Horse Recording Committee

Just a quick reminder:

Please take the time to look over the USAWE Horse Recordings on the website for the horses recorded in your name. Let the committee know if they are correct or if any changes are needed. Thank you so much for your help!


By: Mindy Finelli, Horse Recording Committee Chair

Licensed Officials Committee

USAWE and the Licensed Officials Committee are pleased to announce that this year’s Licensed Officials in-person seminar will be held Thursday and Friday, June 15th and 16th, at the Crystal Lake Holiday Inn and Conference Center in Woodstock, IL. The focus of the seminar will be on Ease of Handling and is being taught by USAWE “S” Judge Polly Limond and WAWE Judge Jose Benito of Spain. The seminar is open to USAWE Judges and TDs and USAWE members who may attend as silent auditors.

The seminar will be followed by a two-day show on June 17th and 18th at Beyond Stable Farm, judged by Jose Benito, and managed by KarMik Acres where Judges will be able to fulfill continuing education requirements for Shadowing a Judge and Silent Judging.

The LOC has reserved a block of rooms at the Crystal Lake Holiday Inn and Conference Center for the duration of the seminar and show. You can reserve your room by calling 1-888-465-4329 and using the code USA Working Equitation. We will be providing more information and details in the next few months – in the meantime, mark your calendars, reserve your room, and plan to join us for four days of education, camaraderie and WE fun!

Attention LO candidates and those seeking Continuing Education credits. The Eastern Zone Championship Show Committee would like to extend you the opportunity to volunteer as a scribe for this show to assist you in fulfilling your LO requirements. One scribe position is available for September 22, 23, 24. Please contact Stephanie Hayes at for more information.

Dear fellow WE members,

Working Equitation of the US was well represented at the United States Lusitano Association’s conference in Wellington, Florida at May Faire Farm. We had over 20 members attend the three-day event. First on the agenda was a private meeting at Sons of the Wind farm, with the president of WAWE Joao Duarte, and world champion WE rider, Pedro Torres. International Competition Chair, Kellee Campbell, facilitated the meeting. The two WAWE representatives told us not to think too fast, but to think big. We should build our horses and riders and focus on the upper-level riders. Give a reason for the advanced riders to compete, and they can show other riders what they should aim for up the levels. We must fish for the riders and make them the stars. A suggestion was to mix the masters riders with the youth riders. The international team is chosen by ranking of the horse and rider at a National Championship. USAWE really should aim for a National Championship in 2025.  WAWE stressed a National Championship to showcase our upper-level riders. We also should align our rules and judging along with WAWE. They also recommended we get rid of the obstacles that are not WAWE recognized. Why do we have them? If we are a WAWE affiliate, USAWE organization should become closer the WAWE in all areas.

Monday rides with Pedro Torres did not disappoint. Pedro met with each rider the day before to find the issues of training the rider wanted to address. He would proceed showing us the supplying exercises he uses to remove the tension in the back.  For each horse he commented to pay attention to the hind legs. Horses with big steps you must create small steps and horses with small steps create larger steps. Slow and slower with freedom was also a common theme of his.  Pedro had a lot of shoulders to the wall, hindquarters in. Travers was always in most of his exercises. When preparing for the flying changes, introduce the signals at the walk, then the trot, then the canter. Ride the haunches to the side we want the changes and get more jump from behind for the change. Counting was a big must-in all transitions, especially the changes. In the half pass be sure to use the outside leg (let go of the inside leg) use the inside rein and put the hands in the direction of the movement. Pedro’s ability to get along with and be at one with the horses was seen along with his love for the horse. Horse and rider should be in a dance with the same music. He creates fun for the horse and tells us to be playful with the horse and try things to have more fun. (My thought is WE is the fun)

Tuesday was a day of classroom which covered many topics from history of the Lusitano, a prepurchase exam, the Lusitano in dressage to a life history of Pedro Torres. The elegant Gala Tuesday night with a wine and fine dining was an example of a world class event put on by Sheri Prucka and USLA.

Wednesday was the day that world famous Finland native dressage Olympian and popular instructor, Kyra Kyrklund. She did a master class with some more perfect Lusitano horses. Her accent was hard at times for me to understand or hear but I did take notes that I will share. As patient as she could, the hands and legs were stressed to be quiet. She tied a couple of riders stirrups to the billets of the saddle and gave a neck strap for the rider to hold with the inside rein to quiet the aids. She said many times to pet the horse on the outside neck to prevent pulling on the outside rein. With the transitions, go into the gait and back in a good way. Kyra also likes to count especially in the flying changes. To change a way of going for the rider, it may take 5000 repeats for the change. Give on the rein and lose it than to try to carry the horse all the time. A counter canter on the wall to prepare for the flying changes was an exercise to help keep the horse straight in the changes.  Too much rein or too much leg gives too much information to the horse. Weight of the upper body keeps you down in the saddle. When you want to turn you cannot pull more on the outside because he cannot bend. Turn the front leg not the head and neck.  The leg aid for the canter should only be 5 cm back. Any further back will throw the horse off balance. For a slow horse take the leg off, for a hot horse the leg is in contact with the horse, but not gripping. Even if you have short arms, you have to have bend in the elbow. A horse should have shorter underline in the neck to open up the back. Turns on the forehand (now you know why we put this in the Dressage test) was an exercise, Kyra talked about and used a lot that day. It is used to bend the hindleg without running away. If a horse does not bend the hindleg, they cannot collect.  In the leg yield, if the horse is not going sideways, do not go faster, go slower. Walk pirouettes  turn with the inside rein, half halt with the outside rein. Half Pass, be able to bend the horse when changing to next half pass or canter changes.  If you sit too heavy, you stop the horse’s bounce. A rising trot can help with rhythm. Kyra also said slower a lot and do not chase the horses. Lots of travers were also done in the lessons.  Excellent gems to take home and put to good use.

Doreen Atkinson


By: Christy Reich & Doreen Atkinson, Licensed Official Committee Co-chairs

Marketing & Promotion Committee

If you have experience creating social media content and are interested in volunteering with the Marketing and Promotion Committee, please contact We would love to have you join our team.  

Marketing team highlights:

  • Spotlight on Year End Breed Award Winners

If your horse won a Year End Breed Award, we will be spotlighting your achievements with USAWE and your horse’s breed registry.  Keep an eye out as we’ll be reaching out for more information on your WE journey.

  • Grant program for Trade Shows/Equine Expos will be available shortly. We’re developing an application process which should be finalized mid-March.
  • USAWE logo wear store will be back online by spring.
  • New USAWE Working Equitation promotional video targeted completion date is early March. When complete it will be launched on social media and then made available for members to use.
  • We’re also working toward a new social media branded look on all accounts. Find us on: Facebook, Instagram (new account), Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

All projects are aimed at extending USAWE’s reach and bringing in new members.

We would love to have member input and feedback.  Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments to   This will be an exciting year!


By: Karen Boso, Marketing & Promotion Committee Chair

Awards Committee

We’re very excited to officially announce and recognize the 2022 USA Working Equitation year end award recipients. It was an exciting season with many licensed shows and competitors.  A huge congratulations to all who competed in 2022.  Special thank you also goes to all show organizers, licensed officials, and volunteers who make these competitions possible.

USA Working Equitation is spotlighting its members for outstanding achievement in the following categories of recognition: 

Please follow the links above to see all the Regional winners and National Breed Award winners and watch Social Media for more recognition – please feel free to share with your friends to show them how much fun we’re having with Working Equitation.

Breed award winners, please watch your email as USAWE will be gathering information from you to further spotlight you and your partner within your breed organization.


By: Bridgett Klingler, Awards Committee Chair

Youth Development Committee

Congratulations to  Allison Richardson and “Zorro”, the 2022 USAWE National Youth High Point Winner! This means that she had the most points across all youth in all divisions of USAWE during the 2022 competition season. Points are based on scores received (see chart on the website). Allison earned her scores in the Novice A division.   

 Here is what Allison had to say: 

As a young child, I always wished for lessons with horses, somehow like a fairytale I wished upon just the right star. The moment I saw the first pony I rode, I knew my life would change for the better. Though I had my ups and downs as any rider has, I was able to develop a physical connection with such a resilient animal. After I started training for Working Equitation I immediately fell in love with the amount of dedication and persistence each and every rider had. This sport is not just a competition for me, it’s a lifestyle and a community. Thanks to the guidance of my trainers and peers I’ve become a stronger rider. Shows have always been an extremely stressful situation but I’ve learned that it’s not about getting the best score, it’s about having fun and making the best memories that I will carry for the rest of my life! Over the years I’ve become more mature and gained a vast amount of responsibility that I have become proud to have. I’m not sure what I would do without this community of wonderful people in USAWE helping me grow and develop such achievements.


By: Alex Tyson, Youth Development Committee Chair

International Competition Task Force

The International Competitions Task Force (ICTF) attended the recent United States Lusitano Association’s conference and participated in a special meeting with Mr. Joao Duarte, President of WAWE, and the highly regarded International Champion, Mr. Pedro Torres. During the meeting, Mr. Duarte expressed concern that USAWE was deviating from the established protocol of WAWE competitions with the inclusion of Non-WAWE obstacles in our Rule Book. He was also concerned that USAWE had not yet provided educational opportunities to our members to enable the development of upper-level riders.

The Task Force informed Mr. Duarte that we are in the process of planning clinics that will provide learning opportunities for all levels of our membership. To that end, we discussed whether Mr. Torres would be available for upper-level clinics and indicated our desire to pursue using him and other top international competitors as instructors.

The results of the questionnaire sent out to our membership regarding interest in participating in international competitions are being compiled.  The Task Force will be including interested parties as the program develops.

Additionally, we will be releasing photos of the proposed uniform for international competitors soon.


By: Kellee Campbell, International Competition Task Force Chair

Competitions Committee


We are very excited to share updates on the 2023 USAWE Zone Championship shows!  The Competitions Committee recently reviewed and approved the Eastern Zone Championship show in 2023.  Congratulations to the Show Chair, Stephanie Hayes, as well as the entire show committee who will be leading this event (see event info below).

We now have all three Zone Championship shows scheduled for 2023.  Please be sure to check out the details on each event at and clicking on Championships>Western/Central/Eastern.  These websites will be updated to contain information on the events, including entry information, so check back often.

Are you qualified for the Zone Championships in 2023?  Qualified scores can be viewed at

To be eligible to compete, a horse-rider pair must earn a combined average of 58% or higher in Dressage and EOH (L1-L7) and successfully complete the Speed trial (L2-L7) at a minimum of two licensed shows within a specific performance level.  At least one of the scores must be earned during the current competition year. For 2023, the second score may be earned in the current competition year or may be carried over from the immediate previous competition year.  Both scores must be earned within the specific performance level.   If the Horse-Rider pair has moved up a performance level, two qualifying scores must be earned at that new performance level. If the Horse-Rider pair haven’t yet earned their two qualifying scores at the higher level, they remain eligible to compete at the lower level in the championship shows.  Horse-rider pairs may compete in any or all zone championships, regardless of where the qualifying scores are achieved.

The 2023 Zone Championships include:

October 4-8, 2023

Big Sky Horse Park – Missoula, MT
Questions?  Email for more information.

September 28- October 2, 2023

Elkhorn Equestrian Center – Elkhorn, WI
Questions?  Email for more information.

September 21-24, 2023

Diamond 7 Ranch and Arena – Dillsburg, PA
Questions?  Email for more information.

We are looking forward to another competition year, and another successful year with Zone shows!  Thank you Zone committees for leading your events and please let us know if we can be of assistance!


By: Competitions Committee Members

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