Working Equitation Pen

The pen is a Working Equitation obstacle that may be used on the Ease of Handling or Speed trials. When used in Ease of Handling, riders make a circuit around the pen in each direction, with a turn on the haunches or a pirouette outside the pen to change directions. In Speed, competitors only go one direction around the pen. 

The pen for Working Equitation consists of an inner pen in the shape of a circle surrounded by an outer barrier also in the shape of a circle, with an opening for entry/exit. The inner pen should contain small animals or replicas of small animals.

The inner pen should be approximately 3 meters (10 feet) in diameter. The outer pen should be approximately 6 meters (20 feet) in diameter. The opening for entry/exit should be 1.5 meters (5 feet) wide.

Visual instructions for how to build a Working Equitation pen
Photo provided by Dee Janelle.

Execution – The horse should enter the obstacle at the prescribed gait in one direction, exit the obstacle, change direction, and re-enter the obstacle going in the opposite direction. The rider may choose the initial direction unless it is specifically designated on the course map or by the Judge. When changing direction, the horse will execute a semicircle, half pirouette, or turn on the haunches. If cantering, a change of lead is required.

In the Speed trial, the Pen is performed in one circuit only; the rider may choose the direction unless it is specifically designated on the course map or by the Judge.

If the pen is included on the Ease of Handling course at the Children or Introductory level, competitors must walk for this obstacle.  At the Novice level, competitors may either walk or trot the pen obstacle. At the Intermediate, Advanced, and Masters levels, competitors may walk or canter this obstacle.

Competitors will be disqualified at this obstacle for errors of course, including but not necessarily limited to the following instances:

  • They navigate the pen in the wrong direction when the course map indicates a prescribed direction
  • They fail to navigate the pen traveling both directions
  • They exit the pen before completing the obstacle and do no redo the obstacle
  • They do not pass between the entry/exit flags if used

During the speed phase, competitors may navigate the pen at any speed they wish. In addition, they must only navigate the pen in one direction. Penalties in the form of time added to the overall time will be added if the competitor knocks over part of the pen.

For complete details about this obstacle and its requirements, reference the U.S. Working Equitation Rules, here.

* Last update 12/31/2018