Working Equitation United: The Children’s Level

Ashley Lanning and Quinn’s Star, 15-year-old Friesian Sporthorse

Building Strong Foundations in Horsemanship
By Julie Alonzo
Photography by Dave Glock

Working Equitation, a sport that incorporates the foundation of dressage into the precision required for obstacle work, is finding new converts in Pony Club members and youth groups.

Young members can participate in youth-specific classes, such as the Children’s Level, open only to riders age 8-14, or in divisions organized specifically for young riders. They can also compete against the adults in the Open division at any level if they would prefer.

Brennan Adams and Nakita Ljeb, 18-year-old Haflinger

Oregon resident Tristan Cruden, for example, competed against the adults all year and ended the 2018 competition season as the #6 ranked American rider in the United States as well as the #1 Youth rider competing at the Novice A level.

The Children’s Level is slightly more basic than the Introductory Level. Like the Introductory Level, it is walk/trot only, and no Speed trial is offered. The Children’s Level Dressage Test includes a halt at X to start and end the ride, a 20-meter circle each direction performed at the trot, and a couple of transitions from trot to walk and back to trot again.

Children’s Level Rider, Ellie Bloom and Lakka, 20-year-old Norwegian Fjord

Their Ease of Handling trial can include a bridge, a figure-8, walking a circle both directions in a 20-foot diameter pen, using a pole to spear a ring, switching a cup from the top of one pole to another, ringing a bell and then backing up out of a straight corridor, single or double slalom, a gate, a ground pole ‘jump’, and the drums. Children must perform most of the obstacles at a walk, although they are allowed to walk or trot between obstacles and while doing the Figure 8, ground pole jump, and drums. They must trot in the slaloms to receive full points.

When competing in Introductory and above, young riders are held to the same standards and expectations as adults. In other words, if they are riding in the Introductory Level, they trot between obstacles, perform each obstacle at the required gait, and complete the same Dressage tests. Once they graduate to Novice A, they canter between obstacles, etc.

Gwendolyn McIlrath and The Frenchman, 25-year-old BLM Mustang

Gwendolyn McIlrath and The Frenchman, 25-year-old BLM Mustang

Monet Bloom, the mother of Children’s Level rider Ellie Bloom, commented after Ellie’s first show, “Our first WE show (and first real show!) was such a fun experience. It was a super busy weekend with Ellie’s other activities, but we pulled it off and had a great time. Ellie wants to do fewer other activities now so she can ride more.”

High Point Junior Scholarship

Starting with the 2019 competition year, WE United will be offering a special award and $300 scholarship to the High-Point Junior member competing in the sport. All members who were 18 or under as of December 1, 2018 are automatically enrolled in the program, and their points from all licensed Working Equitation competitions where a WE United judge officiates will count toward the award.

Please join us in congratulating our 2018 National Leaders in Working Equitation.

2018 National Intermediate B – Junior Rider
1. Stacey Peuplie, Texas, Points = 7

2018 National Novice A – Junior Rider
1. Tristan Cruden, Oregon, Points = 172
2. Madison Branham, Kansas, Points = 95
3. Lucy Campbell, Australia, Points = 76
4. Finley Siegel, Michigan, Points = 18
5. Madison Waller, Texas, Points = 17
6. Aida Jamie, Michigan, Points = 13
7 (Tie). Stacey Peuplie, Texas, Points = 10
7 (Tie). Rachel Kahane, Oregon, Points = 10

2018 National Introductory – Junior Rider
1. Josephine Hunter, Oregon, Points = 58
2. Kaylie Cox, California, Points = 24
3 (Tie). Riley Pirkle, Texas, Points = 17
3 (Tie). Katie Guscar, Michigan, Points = 17
5. Liadan Siegel, Michigan, Points = 8
6 (Tie). Meredith Villarial, Texas, Points = 6
6 (Tie). Savannah Cox, Oregon, Points = 6
6 (Tie). Kadi Kaercher, Florida, Points = 6

2018 National Children – Horse/Rider Pair
1. Pecos Bill and Maddie Harding, Texas, Points = 10
2. Belinda PBH and Yazmine Orozco, Arizona, Points = 8
3. Brewster and Gwenyth Washburn, New York, Points = 6
4. Kiss My Angel and Lily Keithley, Texas, Points = 2

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