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Working Equitation coming to the Mid-South

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Working Equitation is a relatively new equine sport. On October 29 and 30 a clinic will be held at Southward Stables in Olive Branch, Miss. Two USAWE rider-clinicians will lead the two day clinic.

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Amy Makowsky and Jan Carruthers Sturdivant of Greenwood, Miss. are working together to bring the mid-south Working Equitation. A WE clinic will be held on October 29- 30 at Southwind Stables in Olive Branch, Miss where two USAWE rider-clinicians will lead the two day clinic.      

Working Equitation is a relatively new equine sport which originated in regions of four Central European countries; Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. Its first International competition was held in 1966. WE is based around the classical training used to develop a skilled working ranch horse near the Iberian Peninsula.  The governing body of Working Equitation in the USA, USAWE, was formed in 2020.      

Anyone who wants his or her horse to be more responsive, light, balanced, calm, brave and athletic will benefit from the clinic. Riders looking for a challenging and fun cross training program will enjoy and benefit from exploring Working Equitation as well. WE training helps every horse, young or old, do his job more efficiently and will become more of a pleasure to ride.       

Any level of rider can participate and practice WE. WE schooling and competitions are based on a progressive system of seven training levels which range from walk/trot only (Level 1) to Levels 6 and 7 which include extensions and collections at trot and canter, lateral movements, canter pirouettes and frequent flying changes of lead. Riders at the two top levels only hold their reins in one hand!      

Levels above L1 (the walk/trot level) require 3 separate trials or phases. First, riders do a level A dressage test in a 20x40 meter “court” and are scored like a traditional dressage test. However, each test is created by USAWE and reflects its own degree of training competencies for each ascending level of completion.      

The 2nd trial, the Ease of Handling (EOH) trial, is a course of standardized obstacles chosen by the show organizers which offers particular, practical challenges for both horse and rider. During the 2nd phase, each obstacle is judged individually by a score from 1-10 as were the movements in the former dressage test. Walk /trot riders only perform Trials 1 and 2.      

In the final and exciting 3rd phase, the trial is kicked up a notch requiring competitors to safely and properly negotiate a different course of obstacles course at speed.        

WE training works with English, Western and Gaited horses. Even mules can be competitive. While some pieces of restrictive or severe tack are prohibited, most everyday tack is allowed for schooling and showing.       

For showing, there is a wide range of individual choices of attire and tack to create a particular persona which adds to the experience. The styles of your attire and your mount’s tack should be consistent. Those who give a nod to the sport’s Iberian roots add gusto with their presentation, but everyday riding clothes are acceptable. A solid, pleasant, capable and willing performance is the star of the show; performance is more important than attire.      

Visit the USAWE website  www.USAWE.org to learn more about WE and follow Delta Midsouth Working Equitation to learn more about the clinic. Contact Amy Makowsky at Providencefarm.ms@gmail.com or Jan Carruthers Sturdivant at Longllastfarm@gmail.com to audit or ride in the upcoming clinic. Space is limited.      

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