June 2017 - Fun Factor
Written by Cheryl Erpelding
Wednesday, 31 May 2017 05:33


Veteran trainer finds that Working Equitation takes dressage to the next level.

by Cheryl Erpelding

After attending a Working Equitation clinic in North San Diego County last year, Polly Limond was hooked. A top dressage trainer and competitor since the 80s, Polly loved that Working Equitation took dressage to the next level in a very fun way.
Obstacles such as bridges, slaloms, small jumps, and maneuvering around 55 gallon drums are just a few of the challenges that riders are scored on in the various classes offered in the fast-growing discipline that was started in 1996 by riders from Spain, Portugal, France and Italy.

Clinic at River Valley Equestrian Center.


All breeds of horses are welcome. Tack can be from any other sport or discipline. There are several levels beginning at Intro through Masters, the international level that is ridden to music with obstacles spaced at a tighter distance than at the entry levels. The trials include dressage, ease of handling and speed.

Polly attended last year’s Andalusian World Cup show in Las Vegas and spent a great deal of time watching the Working Equitation classes to learn from the competitors. Last month she competed on two of her students’ horses at the Fiesta of the Spanish horse at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

On Patti Rust’s Andalusian-cross, Flying Tiger, Polly showed well in dressage and received a 72% in the Novice A class. With Barbara Luck’s Diva’s Lady, Polly won the intermediate B dressage class with a score of 73%.

There can be up to 23 different obstacles and each obstacle gets a score similar to a dressage test movement. The dressage class is held in a short dressage court and the movements come up quickly. The philosophy is that the sport emulates ranch work with the emphasis placed on speed, ease of handling, efficient work through the obstacles, collection and harmony.

One part of the Working Equitation is walking the course with the judge and the TD prior to the Ease of Handling trial. The competitors can ask questions on what is the best way to tackle an obstacle.

Course designers can set courses how they want, but there are rules on obstacles. For example: drums must be set 10’ apart. Some of the obstacles include using a “garrocha,” which is a lance or pole. Riders may have to spear a ring on an obstacle. A 10-meter pen, which sometimes contains real livestock, can be an obstacle a competitor must face. Ringing a bell, side passing obstacles and maneuvering in a cloverleaf pattern around the drums are some of the tests in Working Equitation competition.

Patti Rust’s Flying Tiger.

Barb Luck’s imported German Riding Pony Diva’s Lady

Polly and many others in California are getting super excited about this fun and challenging new discipline and they are working hard to grow the sport on the West Coast. The inclusiveness and the crowd-pleasing aspects of Working Equitation are driving the growth.

Polly joined the Pedro Torres Academy of Working Equitation last year and did a five-day training session with Nuño Matos from Portugal, who will be in San Diego again May 17-19 at Creek Hollow Ranch in Ramona. She also attended a 5-day judges seminar in Oregon in March and hopes to be certified by WE United as a Working Equitation judge.

Polly is now serving on the board as Working Equitation United’s Region 2 Director. She is excited that her organization is promoting her new sport and offered a rated show at Creek Hollow Ranch last month with a three-day clinic prior to the show, with another rated show coming up June 24 and Creek Hollow Ranch.

To find out more about Working Equitation contact Polly: 619-559-3079 or e-mail  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .'; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text18422 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Polly and Prince of Peace return the Garrocha pole to the barrel. Photo: Erpelding Photography

Cassandra and Arjen Fanslyp spearing the ring on the bull. Photo: Erpelding Photography

Creek Hollow Ranch in Ramona hosted its first recognized Working Equitation Show last month - May 20.  Several riders turned out to compete and test themselves in this fun and fast growing new sport.
• Sarah Pinney and Cielo in Introductory level.
• Polly Limond and Flying Tiger in Novice A.
• Cassandra Adama and Arjen Fanslyp in Intermediate A.