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About the sport

As an international novel equestrian discipline, founded in 1996, the Working Equitation (WE) aims at promoting competition among horses in fieldwork related activities, while respecting the diversity of traditions of various countries in regards riding and harnessing. Therefore it constitutes a prime example of an ethnographic and cultural showcase, maintaining the traditional costumes and saddlery characteristic of each country (WAWE, 2022).

Each Working Equitation competition comprises four different trials that are: 1) Dressage trial; 2) Ease of Handling trial or Maneability; 3) Speed trial and 4) Cow trial. There are also different levels of difficulty, depending on the age of the horse, the rider and the complexity of the tests performed. In senior classes, level called “Masters” and international events it is mandatory for the riders to use only one hand on the reins.

Dressage Trial

dressage, where the horse and rider display a pre-defined or free choreography with different kinds of exercises, depending on the level of the test, in a riding arena with 20x40 m, to be judged by a jury of between three to five judges.

At national level and for lower levels riders must follow a predetermined dressage test with letters in the arena. For the Master’s level riders must perform a free choreography in the dressage arena but must follow a predetermined sequence of exercises required and have a time limit of 8 minutes to do the test.


The ease of handling trial (maneability) is like a gymkhana type event in which horses must perform an obstacles course similar to those likely to appear in the field work (e.g. crossing bridges, passing through doorways, slaloms, ditches, etc) in which the quality of the equitation used to transpose the obstacles, depending on agility, submission, working attitude, ease of movement and of handling, quality of the gaits, is scored by the jury.

Speed Trial

The speed trial involves the same obstacles from the maneability trial, in the same order or in a different one, but the objective here is to transpose the obstacles as quickly as possible without picking up penalty faults (e.g. falling parts of obstacles), being a test against the clock.

With these first three trials it is decided the individual classification in each event, by converting the percentage (dressage and ease of handling) or time (speed) attributed to each rider in points, according to the placings in each trial and finally summing the points of each trial for the final classification. Usually, the national competitions only have these first three trials.

Cow Trial

The last and fourth trial, the cow trial, is performed by three to four riders, forming a team, and consists of separating a cow from a group of cows, kept in a containment area, which has been defined/drawn in advance and it is also against the clock. The winner that gets more points in the cow trial is the fastest one to cut the pre-designated cow and separate it from the herd, based in the containment area, into a pen on the opposite side of the arena, with fewer penalty seconds. The penalties can occur when different cows, apart from the designated one, exit the containment area or a rider, different from the one that is cutting, enters that area. The time limit to perform this trial is 3 minutes (180 seconds) including penalty seconds. In this cow trial there is only a team classification and is mainly used in international championships to decide the final results of the team countries participating in the event (Text by Antonio Vicente, WAWE int. Judge).

Working Equitation Impressions

Please click on one of the small images (thumbnail) to view a larger version