By Linda King
Special to the Eagle
Beware horse owners, there is a new exciting Equine Sport of Working Equitation (WE) developing right in your backyard. Horses love the variety in the sport and riders are honing their memorization skills, thus keeping both young.
This three-phased competition begins with the art of dressage – a test of classical dressage skills and movements judged by qualified individuals who have gone through intense training from the likes of Portuguese WE experts. Phase two is also judged; ease of handling where an individual horse & rider navigate obstacles through a course designed by a technical delegate. The third phase gets pumped up with excitement as it is the speed phase. Horse & rider navigate a shorter obstacle course as fast as they can without getting disqualified or penalties. There are many levels ranging from Introductory through to masters. Divisions; children, amateurs and open riders of all ages.
Working Equitation Canada (WECAN) the governing body of the sport has 267 members with 42 per cent in Alberta. The top three breeds that make up the 196 horses registered with WECAN are Quarter Horse, Canadian and Andalusian.
Working Equitation is blossoming in the Cochrane community! Deb Erickson at Highland Stables is a “L” level judge and full technical delegate who has been hosting monthly clinics and schooling shows to keep up with the demand. Meanwhile up the road Kerry Marit with Marit Stables who was the highest level rider in Canada in 2018 and seventh International WEUnited Rider with her PRE gelding named Ministro V (pictured here). Kerry has invested in the community by introducing Pony Clubbers into the WE world. Plus importing, and training a string of horses and teaching students the art of Working Equitation for WE competitions.
WECochrane is a group of enthusiastic people in the community who want to develop the sport. The group has a series of two shows at the Cochrane District Ag Society this summer, first sanctioned show with the AEF on board.
Ride in the West is over July 12-14 weekend with an Equine Expo on Saturday 10-2pm then an evening variety show, silent auction, BBQ and Sunday Pancake Breakfast.
Fiesta in the West is over August 2-4 weekend with a judge from Australia. Spectators are welcome and appreciated.