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Working Equitation is an expanding worldwide equestrian discipline. It combines flatwork movements and obstacle tests similar to those encountered when riding and working in the countryside. The competition aims to demonstrate control of the horse and promote good horsemanship. Riders wear the traditional riding costume of their country and ride with the reins in one hand.

This equestrian discipline was created by the Italians, and Italy hosted the first European Championship in 1996. Since then, the discipline has grown in popularity and is now a recognised sport in Italy, Portugal, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden, Mexico and Brazil.

In 1997, Portugal took part in the second Working Equitation European Championship for the first time, joining ranks with the Italian Maremani riders, the French Camargue riders and the Spanish Doma Vaquera riders.

A Working Equitation competition is composed of three tests, usually taking place over three consecutive days. It begins with a flatwork test, in which the rider must perform certain movements in freestyle, described in a 40 x 20 m arena, in front of judges, just as in a regular Dressage test.

The second test is the obstacles judged by style. An obstacle course is designed to simulate many of the difficulties that a rider could face in a day’s work and the competitor has to tackle the course according to a set of predefined criteria. Attitude, confidence, empathy and trust between rider and horse and how the obstacles are tackled, are some of the judged criteria.

Obstacles judged in speed is the third test. This test takes place over a similar course to the previous one, but ridden against the clock, which makes it a spectacular and exciting spectator event.

The final test is the cattle penning test, where a specific animal, determined by an earlier draw, is isolated from the herd and penned in a separate area. This is a team event.

*Consecrated – riders over 19 years old, competing with the same horse for at least one year.
*Juveniles (sub-16) – riders under 16 years old.
*Juniors (sub-20) – riders under 20 years old.

*Debutantes – all horses competing for the first time.

Highly schooled horses and riders over 20 years old.

The APSL has sponsored Working Equitation in Portugal since it began. The first National Championship took place in 1999, with 7 trials all over the country, with its final in November, at the Golegă Horse Fair. In that year there were 10 competitors, this year there are over 60 competitors in Portugal.

The success of Working Equitation has played a major role in promoting the Pure-Bred Lusitano horse throughout the World. The Portuguese have been instrumental in taking this discipline into other countries such as Brazil, Mexico, United Kingdom, Belgium and Sweden.

Brazil held its first National Championship in 2002. Working Equitation was introduced in the United Kingdom in 2000 and since then both the number of supporters and trials has grown. In Mexico there is a National Championship and in 2006 the Mexicans took part in the World Championship.

Portugal have been the Working Equitation European Champions for the last five years, winning both team and individual honours and are the current World Champions.

The growing popularity of this discipline led to the launch of the World Association of Working Equitation (WAWE), which aims to promote and support the expansion of Working Equitation worldwide. The ultimate goal is to promote this discipline not just solely as a sport, but also to demonstrate the different cultural aspects of competitor countries (riding style, national breeds, costumes, etc)




Portuguese saddle. “Relvas” model.
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Portuguese curb bit.
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Riding Cloak. "Capote Alentejano".
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Iberian stallions. Individual hand-painted tiles.
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