SA welcomes working equitation as an equestrian discipline
Working equitation has been recognised as an equestrian discipline by SAEF. This sport is fun and it’s an opportunity to take your riding skills to new heights. Competitions involve three or four trials that put the capabilities of both you and your horse to the test. Find horses for sale on AgriMag today.
Working equitation has its origins in Portugal and Italy. This discipline also has roots in France and Spain. Since it was founded during the 1990s, working equitation has gained popularity across Europe, and more recently it has become well-known in the US. Now this discipline is recognised by SAEF and efforts are being made to promote this sport in South Africa.
Working equitation incorporates the traditional riding styles that are used by farmers. Riders need to have the skills to sort cattle by separating individual animals from the herd. Horses need to be well trained and have the ability to turn quickly in order to be suitable for this discipline. Cattle sorting is frequently carried out on foot in South Africa, however, horses can add efficiency and convenience to this process.
Equipment and riding gear
Riders can opt to wear the traditional gear used for working with cattle. Riders are encouraged to wear the traditional gear from their country or something in line with the type of horse they’re riding. This adds interest to international events where riders wearing a diverse range of gear can be seen showing off their horses’ skills. However, closed riding shoes and long pants have been deemed mandatory by SAEF in South Africa. Minors are required to wear hard hats for this discipline.
Working equitation competitions consists of four trials. Dressage is one of the components of this equestrian discipline. This type of dressage has a stronger focus on agility and dexterity when compared to competitive dressage. Maneability is another aspect of these competitions. During this trial, the horse and rider are tested on their ability to cope with various obstacles that are typically found on farms. Agility and outstanding balance are required to succeed. The obstacles you can expect to face include bridges, logs, and ditches filled with water. The third trial is similar to the second but there is a focus on speed. The final part of the competition only takes place in international events and it involves herding cattle. Individuals or teams can enter working equitation competitions.
Working equitation in South Africa
As this discipline has only recently been recognised by SAEF, there aren’t many local horses that meet the international level of training. The local Working Equitation Association is holding shows and clinics where riders and their horses can gain the skills that are required for this discipline. Each trial requires five judges so amateur judges are getting involved in these initiatives.
Advantages of working equitation
Working equitation is a fun sport that you’ll enjoy competing in. The skills you and your horse learn in this discipline will stand you in good stead for other equestrian sports. Working equitation improves you and your horse’s ability to work together as a team. To succeed in this discipline, you’ll need to enjoy taking on challenges and be willing to try new activities. Physical and mental stamina is required to complete the different trials that are involved in working equitation competitions.
Now that working equitation has been recognised by SAEF, more riders are starting to take part in local competitions. Find a horse for sale on AgriMag and try this equestrian discipline out for yourself.