A few years ago, I heard about Working Equitation from a couple of my dressage students and I must admit, I was like “Yeah, right, sounds like fun, but …”
Working Equitation did not cross my mind again until 2019, when fellow dressage rider and long-time friend, Kelly Krambs said she was going to attend a judging symposium organized by WE United and taught by WAWE judge Antonio Vicente. She signed us both up! That began my crash course in the sport of Working Equitation. I did my homework by contacting the amazing Julie Alonzo and arranging to scribe at a few WE United shows before the judging symposium. As a United States Dressage Federation L Graduate* judge, I know that both scribing and studying to be a judge gives one a tremendous understanding of the sport and that is useful as a judge and competitor, but also as an instructor and trainer as well.
Working Equitation has not only been fun and challenging, but an amazing cross training opportunity, and has expanded my techniques for training in dressage as well. The Ease of Handling trial has helped my horses gain confidence and patience and an added a sense of “purpose” to their ride. I enjoy all the obstacles from the most practical, such as opening gates and crossing bridges to the more dressage based obstacles like the slaloms and drums. But the obstacle I find most entertaining is the Bull, I love spearing the ring and handling the Garrocha. I mean, who doesn’t love riding around with a spear! Seriously, I like the practice riding one handed and the confidence the horse must have to canter at an obstacle and stay steady enough for the rider to get the ring. It is just fun!
Before I went to my first competition, I started working with Cari Schwartz, talented rider, trainer and R Judge. At my first few shows, almost everyone I met helped me in some way to better understand the sport, answering questions and giving me tips. The thing I really began to understand about the sport of Working Equitation is that the people drawn to it are industrious, generous, and willing to share their knowledge, and they create an amazing supportive community. I love competing and have been bringing 2-3 horses and showing from Novice A to Intermediate B to each show. Living in Corvallis,Oregon, I am fortunate that I am so close to the many shows sponsored by Working Equitation Oregon and Julie Alonzo and that my friend and groom Chris Wung will come along and spend hours and hours trying to keep me and my horses organized and ready to compete.
My most constant competition partners are RedPrairie Storm, Dales Pony; Minuet’s Meni Promises, 1/2 Arabian; Giselle, Hanoverian; and Jack and Bernadette Stang’s Morgan Stallion, Gladheart Black Harris. In 2020, I earned my Bronze Medal, and I believe I have completed the requirements for my Silver Medal this year and hope to get to the Advanced Level with one of my horses in 2022. What can I say, this is just good fun, and good training! I love it!