July 20, 2021

Diagram showing choices to circle the Pen before entering

I had a reader ask about whether a person should circle the Pen in Working Equitation, before entering.

Q. What's your opinion on circling the pen before entering to set the horse to enter with the correct bend?

A. Assuming two horses perform the Pen equally well. Then Rider A, with a more efficient line of travel to get there would be showing increased difficulty. All other things being equal, Rider A would score higher. 

But, if Rider B knows the more direct line is going to cause resistance. Then choosing to go around the Pen to set up the correct bend to enter the obstacle is the better choice for that horse. 

Rider B would get a lower score in the collective marks for transitions and navigation (for lack of efficiency). That would be more than made up by an improved score for the Pen.

Quality of movement, based on what your horse is capable of that day, should always be your priority.
That is part of your rider strategy. 

I hope that helps with your future decisions about whether you should circle the Pen in Working Equitation.

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About the author 

Trish Hyatt

International Coach and Clinician
National and International Top 10 Competitor
Technical Delegate and Judge of Working Equitation

Trish's superpower is the ability to give you and your horse what you need, in a way that you understand, so each horse and rider makes progress and knows what they need to work on.

She puts her many skills to use introducing the international discipline of Working Equitation to riders eager to improve their partnership with their horse, with a focus on fun, classical horsemanship and use of the horse for practical work or as cross-training for other disciplines.

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