Provided by www.RidingExercises.com (created by V. Amira Armond)
This is a great resource for designing a Working Equitation course!
Are you planning a clinic or WE event?
Perhaps you are afraid that you will put obstacles too close together and give riders a bad experience?
Or you need to provide a course map to participants, and don’t want to re-invent the wheel!
This page has your solution. You just need a computer, a printer, and Microsoft Publisher (this is part of Microsoft Office).
How does it work?
This course designer has all common obstacles (such as gate with latch to the right, gate with latch to the left, cup switch to the right, cup switch to the left).
Each obstacle is to-scale according to United States WE rules. So you can measure your arena and be 100% confident that the obstacles will fit as expected.
To design the course, drag and drop obstacles and rotate them to make your entrance and exits more logical. You can print the course and use it for both set-up and to provide to riders.
This page also has valuable tips to avoid common mistakes in course layout.
Do’s and Don’ts:
Please spread the word about this excellent resource by sharing the link to this page on your websites and social media.
Please give me credit for this time-saving WE obstacle course designer! Leave the statement “Course designer provided by www.RidingExercises.com” statement on your final printouts.
Please do not claim credit for creating this designer. Do not use the material for purposes other than creating Working Equitation or Trail Competition designs.
How to get the Course Designer Program
If you have trouble downloading the file, please email me (Amira Armond) at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the Publisher file within a day or so. It is always fun to talk to another Working Equitation enthusiast!
Pre-requisite for Working Equitation EoH Course Designer:
To use the course designer, you need a computer with Microsoft Publisher 2016 or later installed. This is part of Microsoft Office (almost all business computers have this software installed).
The obstacles are to-scale!
The brilliance of this course designer is that everything is to scale.
Scale: 20 feet = 1 inch
This lets you measure the size of your ring then draw it at scale. For example, if your ring is 120 feet by 120 feet, you would draw it 6″ wide by 6″ long in the designer. Now your obstacles will fill up the space in a realistic way.
Each obstacle has a gray border which gives you the recommended empty space so that the rider can move their horse safely around the obstacle.
Tips for course design
- Leave at least 10 feet ( 1/2″) around the outside edge of the course so that riders can warm up easily.
- Introductory courses are normally 10-11 obstacles long.
- Novice courses are normally 11 obstacles long.
- Higher level courses can go to 13 or more obstacles.
- Locate the number at the front of each obstacle’s entrance.
- Try to put at least 30 feet between each step so that the rider has time to transition into and out of trot/canter.
- You should provide the course map to your riders early on the day of competition so that they can make a strategic plan for executing it.
- Pay attention to the arrows which indicate direction of entry. Your riders need this information to be accurate.
- Be careful about what you ask your riders to do while they are carrying the lance!
- Decreasing the spacing between picking up the lance, the ring, and putting the lance down will increase difficulty.
- Intro riders should not do anything other than spear the ring and put the lance back into a barrel.
- Novice+ riders should be able to carry the lance while performing the Pen or the Bridge.
- Advanced riders may be asked to carry the lance through bending obstacles like the slalom or figure-8, or the jump.
- For safety, riders should be encouraged to hold the butt end of the lance down and slightly behind them while traveling through obstacles. If the lance hits something, it is less likely to push the rider off the horse if they hold it like this.
- Individual obstacle requirements change based on the rider’s level. For example, the intro jump is just a ground pole. The Novice jump is maximum 15″ high at center. These changes increase difficulty without needing to change the course map.
- Note: I’m prototyping a ring-ready (waterproof and dirt-resistant) quick reference guide for obstacle setup. It describes the placement requirements for each obstacle and level. Email me at email@example.com for a sample!
Obstacles from “easiest” to “hardest”… your experience may vary!
- Switch Cup
- Jump (ground pole only)
- Single Slalom
- Double Slalom
- Jump (cross-rails 15″ high)
- Bell Corridor (straight)
- Get Pole
- Drop Pole
- Rope Gate
- Solid Gate
- Rein-back “L” (cup)
- Rein-back “L” (bell)
- Rounding Posts
- Varied Footing
- Sidepass (single)
- Sidepass (double)
- Jump (30″ high)
- Sidepass (“L”)
- Item Drag
The same obstacle can be performed twice
- Obstacles can (and should be!) be performed from both directions.
- You can use many of the obstacles twice from different directions. Examples are: Water, bridge, gate, bank, drums.
- You can also use the same drum for the lance pick-up and drop-off.
- Using the same obstacle twice is a great option if your arena is small.
Using the Course Designer
Assuming you have Microsoft Publisher installed, double-click the WorkingEquitationCourseDesigner.pub file to open it.
Measure and draw-out your arena
Draw a to-scale model of your arena on the first page.
20 feet in real life = 1 inch in Publisher.
The best way to measure your arena is using a surveyor’s wheel. If this doesn’t work, I would recommend using the longest tape measure you can find, or a rope with a known lengths. If you don’t get good measurements to start, there is a chance that one of your obstacles will end up too close to the fence.
Most arenas are not perfectly square. Try to get the angles as close as possible when you are drawing out your arena. The good news is that once you get this right, you can use the same arena borders for every Working Equitation course.
Select your obstacle and copy-paste it into the arena.
This is a particular quirk of Publisher. If you keep an obstacle off the page (in the gray area), it will be visible on all the pages of your document. If you move an obstacle onto the page (the white area), it will only be on that one page.
To keep the full list of obstacles available to you, when you want to use one in your course, right-click it and select Copy, then right-click on the page (white area) and Paste.
Rotate the obstacles
Simply place your obstacles and rotate them as needed.
Once you have your obstacles, add numbers
As part of the course design, you need to identify in what order the obstacles will be performed.
Tips for the order of approach
Keep in mind what direction the rider will be exiting each obstacle. Give them room to transition gaits before the next obstacle.
Riders are allowed to ride through obstacles that they have completed already. As a course designer, you may want to put larger obstacles (slaloms, drums, figure-8) early in the order. This lets riders have more route options later on. For example, you might put a figure-8 directly in front of the approach to the bridge. As long as the figure-8 is ordered before the bridge, riders can ride through the middle for a smooth approach.
De-conflict the images
If your obstacles are covering each other, or your numbers are hiding behind the obstacle, use “Bring Forward” or “Send Backward” from the Home Menu to display them correctly against each other.
Duplicate your page for different competition levels
Once you’ve finished your main course map for Intro level, right-click the page and Insert Duplicate Page.
This lets you create a new page for each level of competition (Intro, Novice, Intermediate, etc) with only the changes needed for that level.
For example, the Intro course may have 10 obstacles while the Novice course has 11 obstacles and the Intermediate course has 12 obstacles.
When you are ready, print and share!
Using Microsoft Publisher, you can print this course out onto paper, or you can save it as a Adobe Reader “PDF” document.
If you have a course you are proud of, please send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will use it as an example!