Tonight we celebrate the successful completion of a task started almost four months ago: the publishing of a new, consolidated rule book for working equitation, adopted by all three Working Equitation organizations in the United States: USFWE, WEIAUSA, and WE United.
Representatives from all three organizations devoted many, many hours to the task of consolidating the three rule books. In the process, each of the organizations made some concessions in the interest of supporting a unified set of rules. This set of rules combines elements from the three existing rulebooks, as well as introducing some new aspects to the sport.
The WE United Board of Directors was presented with the draft of the rule book for review and possible approval on Monday, December 5th, with a request for a quick turn around, in light of the start of the new competition year. Accordingly, our Board met and officially approved the rule book in its entirety, exactly as presented, with two exceptions.
First, we requested that a slight change be made to the preface of the document. Representatives from USFWE and WEIAUSA agreed to make the changes to the preface.
The second request that the WE United Board made was that the following exclusion be added to the section of the new rules where a prohibition against blind horses competing had been added: “Exception: Horses that have lost sight in both eyes but have demonstrated their capacity to safely compete in WE competitions will be permitted to compete in Dressage, Ease of Handling, and Speed trials in WE United shows.”
In making this request, the WE United Board noted that the next line in the rules document reads, “The President of the Jury or the veterinarian may disqualify any horse, either before or during a competition, which they deem to be unsafe for competition.”
The WE United Board felt the inclusion of the rule supporting the right of the judge or veterinarian to disqualify a horse they deem unsafe was sufficient protection for competitors showing horses with visual impairments.
Ultimately, the representatives of the other two groups decided they were uncomfortable adding this exception for WE United competitions, and informed WE United they would publish the rules they had originally presented to the WE United Board for review, without this exception. We anticipate that those organizations will be publishing this document soon if they have not already done so.
Because WE United believes it is important to preserve the right of all competent competitors to participate in the sport, WE United’s copy of the rules includes the exception related to bilaterally blind horses, whereas we have been informed that the document the other groups will co-publish will not include this exception.
In all other respects, we believe the rulebooks will be identical, and this, we believe, is worthy of celebration. Reaching agreement on a single set of rules and dressage tests to use throughout the country, regardless of sponsoring organization, should help reduce confusion for competitors, as well as for officials licensed by different organizations.
We have updated the dressage tests and linked rules on our website. You can also find the links to them here:
- Complete United States Working Equitation Rules
- Children Level Dressage Test
- Introductory Level Dressage Test
- Novice A Level Dressage Test
- Novice B Level Dressage Test
- Intermediate A Level Dressage Test
- Intermediate B Level Dressage Test
- Advanced Level Dressage Test
- Masters Level Dressage Test
There are some important differences between the previous rules and these new ones. In addition to the obvious addition of Childrens level and split between A and B in both Novice and Intermediate, there are important differences in how Ease of Handling and Speed trials will be scored (depending on the level in which one is riding), as well as how ties are broken. Please take the time to download the rules document and study the new requirements for each level.
If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact us at WorkingEquitationUnited@gmail.com. We’re here for you!