Working Equitation

Working Equitation — Precise. Diverse. Challenging. Engaging. Fun

The Working Equitation discipline was created with the objective of enhancing the equestrian techniques developed in those countries where riders use horses in different aspects of fieldwork as opposed to arena work. The activities involve working with obstacles to achieve harmony and balance in riding the horse, making training a lot of fun. Working Equitation is the practical application of Classical Horsemanship.

Working Equitation (WE) comprises 4 Phases: Dressage, Ease of Handling, Speed and Cattle. The cattle phase is not included in BRC WE competitions at this stage.

Berry Riding Club aims to promote and develop WE; upholding the ideals and the philosophies of classical working dressage and traditional horsemanship, offering a nurturing, caring environment for riders, regardless of choice of breed, tack or attire.

How to Enter WE events at BRC

To book a place at a WE Play & Practice Day or a Competition riders are asked enter via Nominate



More Information

Working Equitation Rulebook

Berry Riding Club is an affiliated member of Working Equitation Down Under (WEDU) and is governed by the rules of this Association.

The WEDU Rule Book Table of Contents consists of:

  1. Working Equitation Phases
  2. Performance Levels
  3. Tack and Attire
  4. Level Advancement Requirements
  5. Official and Unofficial Events
  6. Tack and Attire
  7. Competition Officials
  8. Rights and Responsibilities of Riders
  9. Entry Order
  10. Inquiries and Protests
  11. Marks and Scoring  
  12. Speed Phase
  13. Cattle Phase
  14. General Disqualifications and Eliminations
  15. The Dressage Phase
  16. Ease of Handling Phase
  17. The Obstacles
  18. The Speed Phase
  19. The Cattle Phase

Refer to the WEDU website for the current Rulebook




The Dressage Phase — Tests

Working Equitation Down Under (WEDU) Dressage tests follow. For each test there are a set of diagrams showing where each movement starts and finish. Some riders find using the diagrams an easier way to learn the test.

Link to the Working Equitation Down Under website

"When life gets bumpy... start posting" 1. Arena

The dimensions of the rectangle will be 20m. x 40m. with a barrier of a height of no more than 50cm and the entrance approximately 2m. wide. Entry is in the middle of one of the rectangle’s shorter sides facing the Judge’s position. A bell will authorise the beginning of the test.

2. Movements

The Dressage Phase comprises compulsory movement some of which have coefficients. 

 3. Marks and judging

Each movement will be marked from 0 to 10, as in EA dressage:

  • 10 Excellent
  • 9 Very good
  • 8 Good
  • 7 Reasonably good
  • 6 Satisfactory
  • 5 Reasonable
  • 4 Insufficient
  • 3 Poor to Middling
  • 2 Bad
  • 1 Very bad
  • 0 Not performed


Course error: 3 penalties, 6 penalties and Elimination respectively.

Fall from horse is immediate elimination.

Grounds for Disqualification

More than 2 penalties for course error.

Entering the riding arena before the bell

Taking more than a minute to enter the riding arena after the bell has been rung;

Leaving arena with one or more feet;

Evidence of lameness;

Failure to continue with test for >10secs

5. Skills required for WE Dressage at various levels

Dressage skill Intro Prelim Intermediate
Halt from walk
Halt from trot
Halt from canter
Collected walk
Canter from trot
Canter from walk
Canter from halt
20m circle
15m circle
10m circle
Rein back
Walk on a loose rein
Simple change of lead
Leg yield at walk
Turn on haunches
Ride with 2 hands
Ride with 1 hand
The Phases

Each phase is scheduled as a separate class with performance in each contributing to the overall placing in the competition (as with Eventing and Combine Training) and will be called Towards Working Equitation competitions. They will be offered at the following levels:

(a) Introductory level: This level is for horses or riders with only basic skills. At this level the rider may use two hands throughout the competition. The skills called for include walk, walk on a loose rein, trot, halt and rein back in the dressage test, allows walking through all obstacles and trotting between obstacles. Obstacles chosen for this level will be simple, such as the serpentine, bridge, straight corridor, 3 barrels, pick up a pitcher, double slalom, livestock pen or figure 8 barrels.

(b) Preliminary: This level asks for the following gaits: walk, walk on loose rein, trot, canter on correct lead, halt, rein back and some lateral control to manoeuvre in the obstacles. The transitions upward and downward are gradual and the rider may use 2 hands throughout the competition. Refer to the obstacle tab for the obstacle list.

(c) Intermediate: This level asks for walk, walk on loose rein, trot, canter, simple lead changes, halt from any gait, large and small circles, rein back, leg yield and turn on haunches. Riders may choose to ride with either 2 hands or one hand but will receive more points for using just one hand. During the obstacle phase riders are expected to canter between obstacles. Please refer to the obstacle tab.

Working Equitation on YouTube

Now watch the experts perform Working Equitation on YouTube

For more information about Working Equitation contact BRC Secretary

Ease of Handling Phase (EOH) & Speed Phase

The objective of the Ease of Handling Phase is to show both rider and horse’s capacity to calmly, precisely and stylishly negotiate tasks, using obstacles to represent difficulties that might be encountered in the field:

1. Riding Arena

The riding arena for this phase in a competition is approx 70m x 30m, flat and not too hard or slippery.

2. Maximum Length of Trial

A time limit may be set for the completion of the trial.

3. Obstacles

The course route should allow the exercises to be performed by riders using their left or right hand to hold the reins. Obstacles should be marked by red and white flag.

To complete each task, a rider must:

  • pass between the two entrance flags trial in the correct direction
  • perform the technical manoeuvre required,
  • exit the obstacle zone by the exit flags.

Obstacles are numbered in the order in which they are to be performed with the number on the right hand side of the entrance flags.

Course Error: A course error is a fault in approaching an obstacle or performing the obstacles out of sequence.

An error is assumed to have been made when a competitor endeavours to perform the following obstacle.

The obstacles may be selected from the following:

  1. Bell at end of Corridor
  2. Figure Eight between Barrels
  3. Single Pole Slalom (bending)
  4. The Jump
  5. Pole Pickup from Barrel
  6. Pole replacement in Barrel
  7. Three barrels
  8. Knock Down Ball or Spear Ring
  9. The Gate (Doorway)
  10. The Bridge
  11. Sidepass
  12. The Jug
  13. Double Row Slalom (two row bending)
  14. Livestock Pen
  15. Mug on Pole
  16. Rein Back

A course map should be circulated with the draw.

As in the Dressage Trial, scoring will be by marks 10-0, with an overall score element.

Judging each obstacle:

The following aspects are considered for the horse:

  • Quality of start and finish
  • Harmony of movements
  • Regularity of movements, collection, suppleness
  • Obedience, submission to aids
  • Correctness of bend
  • Correctness of changes

and for the Rider:

  • Position in saddle
  • Ease of movements; stability
  • Use of aids
  • Shape of circles
  • Exclusive use of one hand (left or right)


  • Entering the riding arena before the bell
  • Fall of rider
  • Failure to correct a course fault;
  • Three refusals to perform the same obstacle;
  • Beginning the trial before the jury’s start signal;
  • Taking more than a minute to begin the trial after the bell has been rung;
  • Evidence of lameness
  • Refusal to advance for a period of more than 15 s..
  • Obviously showing an obstacle.

Judging Directives:

Quality and regularity of the walk, transitions and confidence vis-à-vis the obstacle.

The judge should penalise a horse showing any hesitation in performing the test,

irregularity or failure to perform the test at walk.

Judging marks are (as for dressage):

  • 10 Excellent
  • 9 Very good
  • 8 Good
  • 7 Reasonably good
  • 6 Satisfactory
  • 5 Reasonable
  • 4 Insufficient
  • 3 Poor to Middling
  • 2 Bad
  • 1 Very bad
  • 0 Not performed

3. Skills required with Obstacles at each Level

Obstacle type Intro Prelim Intermediate
Between obstacles trot trot or canter canter
Retrieve lance trot trot or canter canter
Knock down balls trot trot or cannter canter
Hit a shield trot trot or canter canter
Move ball in corridor
Replace Lance trot trot or canter canter
Livestock Pen walk walk or trot walk or trot
Move a sack
Hay jump pole pole up pole up
Figure 8 walk trot or canter canter
Cloverleaf walk trot or canter canter
Corridor walk walk or trot walk or canter
Pole Pending trot trot or canter canter
Parallel Pole Bending trot trot or canter canter
Ring a bell
Move a cup
Side pass pole

4. Sample Score Sheet for Ease of Handling Trial

Sample score sheet

Dimensions and Guidelines for Riding Obstacles

1. Corridor with Bell

The obstacle consists of a bell hanging at about 2m above ground from a metal support approx 4m high and secured to the ground. A corridor of 3-4m in length and 2m wide forms a corridor to the hanging bell. Corridor can be made from hay bales or ground poles. The aim is for the horse to ride to the bell down the corridor, ring the bell and then (except for beginner level) rein back down the corridor until its head and shoulders have exited.

Marking: Attitude and collection of horse, rider’s use of aids. Fluidity, continuity and perfection of the performance, straightness of rein back. A higher score will be awarded for performing the obstacle at trot or canter rather than at walk. If corridor is knocked mark will be below 5.

2. Figure 8 Barrels

Drums 4.5m apart. Aim of the exercise is to ride the figure of 8 with symmetrical circles and changes of direction through the fig 8 barrelsmidline.

Marking: Precision, accuracy and quality of change, shape and symmetry of circles.




3. Single Pole Slalom

The obstacle comprises a minimum number of five moveable 2m posts in a straight line 6m distant from each other. The exercise is single slalomto bend through the posts. The aim it to perform the exercise with changes at the mid point between each post.

Marking: Correctness and suppleness in the bends, fluidity and continuity of pace, obedience and balance.

4. The Jump

The obstacle consists of a jump of various heights from a 4m long pole on the ground to a jump of 4 bales of straw side by side. The aim is for the horse to approach and jump the obstacle in rhythm and with confidence from both directions.

Marking: The rhythm of horse, the rider’s position and use of aids. Straightness and consistency of tempo in approach and depart. Touching any part of jump will be penalised.

5. Pole pickup from Barrel

A drum with poles 2m long in a barrel. Aim is for the rider to retrieve the pole (lance) smoothly from the barrel and hold it in a horizontal position in line with the rider’s elbow and the head of the horse..

Marking: The steadiness of approach to the obstacle, horse’s reaction to removal of pole and safe handling of the pole. Rhythm of approach. Knocking down drum should be heavily penalised. If lance dropped, rider may dismount to pick it up.

6. Replacing Pole in Barrel

Reverse of 12.1 above.

Marking: Horse should always move forward at a steady gait. Knocking over the drum receptacle will be penalised. Dropping pole results in disqualification

7. The 3 Barrels

Barrels are arranged as per diagram, 4.5m apart. The rider enters between barrels 1 and 3 and circles around the first barrel and changes rein to circle around the second barrel and again to circle the last barrel.

Marking: Precision, shape and symmetry of circles and quality of changes.

8.1 Knock Down Ball or

8.2 Spear Ring

Aim is to knock down a tennis ball located on the top of a cone of at least 60cm high.

Aim is to collect a ring from any height. Ring (15m diameter) may be attached to a pole.

Marking: Speed and rhythm of approach and take-off. Mistakes such as loss of tempo or missing obstacle are penalised. Knocking the obstacle results in a score below 5.

9. Gate (Door)

The gate should be constructed from wood and wire mesh and be closed with an iron or rope hoop. Two uprights made from natural material with a width of at least 2m and a height of 1.30m. should be placed at the sides of the gate. The gate may open to the right or left.

The obstacle should be approached as close as possible at walk. The horse is positioned at the side of the gate (to the left or right depending on the direction in which it opens). Using his/her right hand, the rider will lift up the iron hoop and open the gate. He/she will walk through the entrance preferably without leaving the gate. When the horse has fully exited the other side of the gate, the rider may back up one or two steps to close the gate. He/she will then put the iron hoop in place and complete the obstacle. The rider should not let go of the gate during the course of performing the exercise.
Note: at simulated gate with RMS plastic orange bollards and chain can be used in training for this exercise.

Marking: The approach should be fluid and confident with the horse aware of and participate in the opening and closing movements without evidencing any signs of insecurity or disobedience. The rider’s action should be easy, precise and free from hesitation. Use of his/her legs to urge the horse forward whenever necessary. Letting go of gate attracts a mark below 5 as will lack of continuity of action

10. The Bridge

Horse is required to trot to and then walk over a planked bridge approx. 4m x 1.5m wide, highest part at =>20cm turn and retake the obstacles in the opposite direction.

Marking: Regularity of walk, confidence of horse and shape approach, depart and turn. Any hesitation would score below 5.

11. Side-pass (lateral work) over a Pole

This obstacle consists of a 4m long half round log (pole). The horse should approach the obstacle (to the right or left, as indicated) perpendicularly to the log. The horse must step over the log with its front feet and with its hind legs on the opposite side of the log, side pass along the log. Exit and repeat exercise in other direction.

Marking: Ability to perform the movement, fluidity and continuity of the action and its rhythm.

12. Jug

This obstacle consists of a table with an approximate height of 1m upon which a jug filled with liquid (or sand) is placed.

The rider approaches table at the trot and halts at the table before lifging the jug raising it above his/her head and then replacing it on the table. Horse should remain in a well balanced halt during the exercise.

Marking: Approach, its speed, quality of halt next to the table, rider’s use of aids. The jug replaced upright.

13. Double Row Slalom between Posts

The obstacle consists of a 7 moveable posts (2m high), offset in parallel lines (as diagram) 6m with 6m between each post and eachslalom row. The horse will perform half turns around the posts, as indicated with changes of hand half-way between the posts. Aim is to ride the exercise at canter with flying changes with each pair symmetrical.

Marking: Continuity of the action, the harmony and precision of the turns, rider’s use of aids, the precision of the half circles, quality of the changes and whether one or more posts are knocked over.

14. Pen

This consists of an enclosure, with an entrance, within which is a pen with animals (hens, geese, ducks, piglets).The obstacle shouldpen be performed by entering in one direction riding around the inner pen, doing a full turn on exit and repeating the exercise in the opposite direction.

The aim is to perform the exercise at the canter with a turn on the haunches between each direction.

Marking: Control, willingness and rhythm of the exercise, rider’s position and use of aids, correct bend and acceptance of bit, regularity of gait throughout.

15. Switching Mug on Pole to Another

The obstacle comprises two 2m upright poles (goads), 1.2 m. apart, on one of which is an upturned mug. Riders approach, at a walk, along an imaginary line uniting the two poles, stop between the two poles and switch the mug from one pole to the next and exit at a canter.

Marking: Confidence in approaching obstacle without the need for any major use of aids. Time to achieve halt and its maintenance while change takes place, willingness to move off when exercise completed.

16. The Rein Back
Walk into a corridor and rein back which can be made from poles laid directly on the ground.

Get in touch


We love to receive feedback with suggestions on how to continue providing riding fun and good experiences.

Please note - we are not a riding school, and do not provide horses for lessons or instruction. If you wish to go riding and do not have your own horse, we recommend you contact a local riding school. The closest is Regal Riding School at Shoalhaven Heads.

Email: BRC Secretary

Mobile: 0410 506 143 (text is best)



Where to find us?

50 Schofields Lane, Berry, NSW 2535, Australia

Berry Riding Club