top of page

Working Equitation

Working Equitation

Photos courtesy of Joe Gros Photography

Working equitation both showcases and preserves the skills and traditions of working horses and riders via a modern and sophisticated three phase discipline. Think of it as dressage with obstacles.

With its roots in the traditional use of horses for herding cattle, along with other field work, working equitation was first defined as a discipline in its own right by Italy, Spain and Portugal. Competitions typically consist of three phases, plus one more for the hardcore:

  • Dressage, which includes set movements and patterns;

  • Ease of Handling, whereby riders navigate a course of obstacles, such as bridges, jumps and gates and slaloms. In this phase, riders are marked out of 10 for each obstacle and judged on ease, style, precision and correct way of going;

  • Speed, which involves an obstacle course against the clock;

  • Cattle Handling. Some working equitation competitions require riders to show their horse's ability to work with livestock, and for them to demonstrate the horsemanship skills that come with such an ask.

Working equitation was recognised as a competitive sport in 1996, and it’s now governed by the World Association for Working Equitation. It is especially popular in South America and parts of Europe. The first Working Equitation World Championship took place in 2002, and it is now one of the fastest growing equestrian sports in Europe.

For further inspiration, check out these sites:;, and

bottom of page