Sunday, March 29, 2015

High Country Working Equitation Demo Day

 High Country Working Equitation

There's is awesome news for anyone who lives in Colorado (Front Range) and is interested in Working Equitation. High Country Working Equitation has joined together as a Club. They had two booths at the Expo, and I joined then. It is awesome because a Club means that they can get insurance to put on shows, and more shows mean an opportunity to hone skills. Schooling shows mean an increased opportunity to participate in a rated show (who wants to go to a rated show without at least showing at a schooling show?) All of this means that perhaps I could actually go to the Haras Cup next year and show Ashke in WE against the top riders in the US.

That is pretty awesome news, if you ask me.

For those of you who might be interested, you can find more information and ongoing clinics, play days and schooling shows at

Or you can contact any of the trainers who are leading this group at

Or you can find us on Facebook at

Yesterday was High Country Working Equitation's Demo Day for anyone who might be interested in seeing what WE is all about. I went 1) because it's my club, 2) because I really enjoy the people who are at the forefront of this discipline in Colorado, and 3) even because I have been chasing this discipline for two years now, there's still a lot I need to learn. The Demo Day offered introduction to and instruction in all four phases: dressage, Ease of Handling, Speed Trial, and Cattle Working. 

Currently, there are two Working Equitation Managing Groups: WEIAUSA and USFWE. These would be similar to USDF and have entered into discussions about merging the two groups into one force, but I guess a combination of politics, agenda and an argument over the proper "Uniform" for US riders when competing at the International Level has slowed that process down. HCWE is convinced that eventually it will be resolved, but in the meantime, HCWE is not affiliated, per se, with either group and will be using the tests and rules from one or the other for their schooling shows. The two groups need to resolve their issues and combine before a Working Equitation organization can be recognized by the USEF, which needs to happen if any US rider wishes to ride in International Competition.

Link to USFWE:
Link to WEIUSA:

Dressage Phase

During the Dressage Phase of the Demo yesterday, there were four tests performed. Two of the tests were from the WEIUSA and two were from USFWE. 

Level 1: Introductory Test (WEIAUSA)

 Rider is Kitty McLaughlin, who provided the wonderful facilities. Her place is Circle Star Arena and both the indoor and outdoor arenas are incredible. She is riding a QH gelding, whose name I am unsure of, (maybe Joey?) who is a reigning pole bending Champion. Doing dressage is new to him.

The Introductory Level is Walk/Trot mostly, with some canter

 Kitty is demoing the Western style of tack and attire. She rode the Intro test from WEIUSA.

Link to WEIAUSA Intro Test, Level 1:

Link to USFWE Intro Test Level 1: (this is actually the pdf with all of the rules, dressage tests and Ease of Handling rules and regs for all levels.)

Dressage Test Level 2: (USFWE)

Keith Jacobson (Trainer) on Cody

Cody is a Morgan and he and Keith have a great connection.

They rode the test I think I am ready to show. It was good to see the serpentine done correctly. 

Dressage Test - Intermediate Level: (WEIAUSA)
 Chris Stanko and C O performing the Intermediate Test

 They are a very good team.

She looks phenomenal on C O. 
Dressage Test Level 4: (USFWE)

 Isabel Sheets on Destiny

 Destiny is a 4th Level Dressage horse and Isabel has won her Bronze Medal with the USDF. They were amazing to watch.

Destiny is Friesian, TB and Percheron. (She is especially cute herding baby cows).

Those were the four dressage tests they presented. I know, you really didn't see anything other than pictures of pretty horses. It was too dark to video though. I learned a lot. It was wonderful to have Leslie M, with whom we rode the Teller Trail last fall, there to answer technical questions. She spent the weekend of the Expo at the place where they hold the Haras cup in a Judge's seminar. Rules like: you can ride with either one hand or two hands, even in a curb bit. However, it is one or the other. If you start with two, you finish with two. If you start with one, you finish with one. We talked about attire and making sure that what you are wearing matches with the tack you have on your horse. One of the things that was pointed out, is that there were four very different horses ridden in different ways that all were able to do the dressage tests presented.

I felt a lot more confident about the dressage test for Level 2. 

Then we moved to Ease of Handling. A pictoral

The Ease of Handling is the most fun, in my opinion. I really had a great time watching the different combinations work through the course. One of the things I learned is that a simple change is accomplished at a walk. So canter-walk-new lead-canter.

Then there was some cattle handling.

Keith runs a cattle penning clinic at Circle Star Arena. I am hoping that maybe in July, we can go.

 Holder - to keep the sorted cows away from the others

Damn, damn cute!!

The food at the end of the Demo was wonderful. A shout out to the trainers, including Allison who did not ride, but rather MC'd the Demo. It was an incredible day.

Can't wait for the next event.


  1. Great photos Karen... It sure was a fun day..Lets get together and ride. When do you guys leave town?

    1. We aren't leaving town, we have company flying in on the 11th. T has a 5k on the 4th early, so we would be available after 11 or so. My mom is here through the 20th. So we are also free the weekend of the 25th.

  2. I like your reference "like UFDC" beautiful pictures, horses, and people. Luvs!

  3. How fun! GREAT photos, too! What kind of saddle is Isabel's?

  4. What an awesome demo, and what beautiful horse and rider pairs. I can't decide which one I like best!