Rounding Post

March 2021

B-Rated USA Working Equitation Show comes to town!

 Biddie Lowry and Oliver
Timeline for Success - From Zero to Our First Rated Show
Message from NOVAWE President, Biddie Lowry:
In 2017, two friends discover Working Equitation - Diane Hutchinson and I discovered Working Equitation (WE) in the fall of 2017. In 2018, after having participated in a couple of clinics and two schooling shows, we boldly traveled south to participate in two B-Rated Shows, organized by the experienced Eastern Region Andalusian Horse Club (ERAHC), and held in central Virginia. On the way back that August from the Virginia Horse Center, we talked a lot about WE, and how there was so little offered close to us even though we lived in the horse mecca of Virginia. Thus, the idea of us organizing WE events close to home was born!

2019: The beginning of NOVAWE - Over the following year, our friend Laura Guillaudeu joined us in organizing Northern Virginia Working Equitation (NOVAWE) with the mission of growing the sport locally in hopes of others joining in and providing clinics, playdays, and shows close to home.

2020: A year of change -  When the global pandemic due to Covid-19 hit, it forced the cancellation of many of our spring clinics and shows, included a rated show we had planned for June, 2020. In early 2021 the board nixed the idea of NOVAWE organizing a rated show here this year, with so many unknowns.  We planned our focus to provide more foundational learning opportunities to our 90-plus membership.

2021: Northern Virginia's first B-rated show - In February, The Eastern Region Andalusian Horse Club (ERAHC) announced their 2021 WE calendar with three B-Rated Shows-one in TN, one in NJ, and one at the Virginia Horse Center. Later that month, ERAHC’s show organizer Mindy Finelli, contacted me to see if NOVAWE could help with a B-Rated Show at Frying Pan Farm Park (FPFP) in Herndon, VA which would be right in our backyard! The NOVAWE Board has voted to assist ERAHC by providing volunteers and many of our obstacles.

We are beyond excited for this opportunity to help produce a USAWE B-Rated Working Equitation show right here in Northern Virginia, as well as work with ERAHC.  This will be an excellent learning experience for NOVAWE’s event committee and volunteers and a fabulous opportunity for our members to compete (locally but in a rated show).  By leveraging FPFP, other equestrians and the general public will be exposed to Working Equitation through one of our treasured educational venues.  Save the dates, June 5-6. All are welcome.
Get involved in our first rated show:
To register for the show, go to:
To volunteer, contact Mills Smith at

Whether For a Few Hours or a Few Days, Smart Biosecurity Goes a Long Way!
• • • • •
By Dr. Jay Joyce. Total Equine Veterinary Associates.
NOVAWE Founding Business Member

Biosecurity among humans has been front and center in 2020 and 2021 courtesy of the COVID pandemic—social distancing, staying home from work and school, and wearing masks are all strategies people employ to lessen their risk of catching and/or spreading the virus. As responsible horse owners we need to be just as vigilant about biosecurity best practices for our horses as we travel about the region this spring with them to participate in NOVAWE and other working equitation events. 

10 ways to lessen risk to your horse from illness and disease 

Despite that we vaccinate them, our horses are susceptible to a host of communicable illnesses and diseases. To lessen the risk to our NOVAWE and greater equine community, consider adopting the following 10 best practices:
  1. If your horse has recently been ill, has active or recent signs of a potentially infectious disease AVOID attending equestrian events for at least three weeks past resolution of all clinical symptoms. This includes purulent (white or yellow) nasal discharge, cough, fever, diarrhea, or enlarged submandibular (under the jaw) lymph nodes.
  2.  Keep up to date on vaccinations and deworming as recommended by your veterinarian. Check to see if vaccination records are required for entry or participation at the event you are attending.
  3. While at an event, maintain your horses “social distance” from other horses as much as possible. Here are some important “Don’ts and a “Do
  • Don’t commingle or allow nose-to-nose contact with other horses
  • Don’t hand graze in common areas
  • Don’t hang out near areas for manure disposal or soiled bedding
  • Don’t share water or feed buckets. Do not let your horse drink from the hose and don’t submerge the hose nozzle in the water when refilling water buckets.
  • Don’t share tack: bridles, halters, saddles, etc.
    pads, brushes, twitches or oral paste medication
  • Don’t let other people pet, feed, or touch your horse
  • Do keep your own contact with other horses at the event limited and label your horse’s belongings

    Police the area and don’t be afraid to speak up if you see an unsafe practice. Group health requires the participation of the entire group. If you are hosting an event, expect the attendees to comply with these basics.
  1. Supply a 70 percent alcohol gel hand sanitizer for your stall area. Use frequently and allow 10 seconds of contact time for gel hand sanitizers.Do Wash your hands frequently.
  2. A horse’s temperature greater than 101.5 F warrants a call to a veterinarian as does respiratory signs such as cough or purulent nasal discharge, neurologic symptoms, diarrhea, or vesicular lesions along the gums and or coronary bands. Monitor your horse’s temperature while away at events.
  3. Bring your own equipment to the event. Have separate water buckets, feed tubs, water hoses, and stall cleaning equipment designated for travel. Do not put this equipment back into the general circulation at your farm when returning home. Upon return, clean and disinfect all equipment taken to the event including water buckets, stall cleaning equipment, and wheelbarrows (including wheels).
  4. If stabling, ensure that the stalls have been properly cleaned and disinfected between uses. Bring a suitable disinfectant and spray down the stall walls and floor and any feeders. Wait the recommended dry time before adding new bedding and your horse.
  5. Clean and disinfect your truck and trailer after the event -- see SPECIAL SECTION below.
  6. If necessary, have a plan for isolating horses returning home from equestrian events from other resident horses on the farm. A separate paddock or stabling (even temporary stabling) can be used, with a distance of 35 feet maintained from the resident horse population.
  7. Check the equine disease communication center ( to learn about areas of recent infectious disease outbreaks prior to traveling with your horse.
SPECIAL SECTION: Cleaning and Disinfecting Horse Trailers
  • Remove all organic material from the interior and exterior surfaces of the trailer.
  • Wash surfaces with a detergent, rinse thoroughly and then apply disinfectant. Allow the proper amount of contact time as recommended by the disinfectant’s labeled instructions prior to rinsing with water. Do not forget the tires of your truck and trailer.
  • Recommended disinfectants include phenolic or accelerated hydrogen peroxide products. Alternatively, a 1:10 bleach to water dilution can be used; however, diluted bleach water will be ineffective in the presence of organic material (feces and dirt).
  • Wipe down the door handles and truck interior with alcohol wipes.
 Frying Pan Farm Park with Allison Reed March 27

Before the riders took to the obstacles under Allison Reed's watchful eye, over two dozen equestrians were treated to a "Horseless Intro to Working Equitation" session, a free overview and course-walk, compliments of NOVAWE, Biddie Lowry, and Diane Hutchinson. What an excellent way for NOVAWE to kick-off the year's learning opportunities to all with interest in learning about the wonderful sport of Working Equitation. NOVAWE provides so many ways to participate in WE.

Also visit the Photo Galleries on our website and see all the photos from this clinic and from any of our other events.
Biddie Lowry showing how to spear the ring while walking the course at Frying Pan Park with the Horseless Intro to WE participants.
WE Obstacles Do the Training!
By Allison Reed
NOVAWE clinician Allison Reed of Bella Vita Stables values WE obstacles as training tools in all of her instruction, giving the horses visual cues so the rider can leverage the balance promoted by riding the obstacles.
When I was 12, I got my first working student position with Jennifer Johnson, a notable event trainer shortlisted for the 1996 Olympics. I would have these miraculous lessons on Jennifer’s’ five star schoolmaster, Tiger One. He was so square and balanced over his four legs I couldn’t help but feel it and join it. When I leaned into the turn I swear he would sit me back down, knocking me off his shoulder, so he could power around the corner. His perfect balance and no-nonsense attitude taught me the feeling of postural balance of the horse. These types of learning opportunities are few and far between.

Although, a walk down memory lane can put me right back on the wonderful teacher Tiger One, I often find myself matching my mount’s imbalances to find a common ground or succumbing to the imbalanced of my own body. If left alone in a mirrorless arena on a horse that costs anything less than a down payment on a house, all amateurs will lose sight of “total balance” -- the balanced horse under a balanced rider.

As an instructor and clinician, I aim to teach the feel of balance. In the past I have used random trees, fence lines, the barn gutters to help give riders guidance to compare their posture. But if the horse under them is green, lacks strength, good posture, or has prior injuries, there will be an immediate disconnect for the rider upon a crooked and imbalanced horse.

Typically, the fix is training. Training the horse with an experienced rider to be correctly balanced, and then lessons with the rider to maintain that balance.

In many disciplines, there are “training tools” that can take the place of the experienced rider. Gymnastic jump lines, balance poles in front of jumps, and cavaletties are examples of training tools that can correct the horse and help the rider develop a better understanding of front to back (horizontal) balance.

However, until discovering Working Equitation (WE), I could never find a teaching tool to help riders adjust a horse’s lateral balance. Although cones on the ground are helpful exercises, I do not feel like they have the same impact as the WE obstacles (barrel, pen, or poles) that are in the horse and rider’s immediate line of sight.

Specifically, the slaloms, three drums, figure eight, and animal pen are the obstacles that can readily be utilized as training tools for left to right or inside to outside balance.

I have felt and observed many instances a horse has adjusted their balance correctly to move around such an object safely. The awareness of a horse’s imbalance, obvious due to distances they must travel around a WE obstacle, encourages riders to respond more effectively, using leg aids and their own balance for corrections verse rein aids.

Using WE obstacles as training tools, leverages the obstacle to do some of the corrections of the horse, aiding his balance, and is one of the many reasons why WE obstacles have become a core aspect of all my instruction.
In photo 1, this horse is falling on inside shoulder and swinging the hind end over when ridden in an open space through the arena. To correct, the rider would need to simultaneously lift inside rein, lift inside shoulder, apply inside leg, block with outside leg for evasion to aids and ride out the horse’s tension/resistance in the process. OR instead just ride through the animal pen!!
In photo 2, the horse is self-correcting in the animal pen.
In photo 3, the result is quickly a more balanced pair!
Some of NOVAWE’s more experienced riders (Levels 1-4) are in pursuit of national rankings and ribbons.  Please support these members with well wishes as they prepare to embark on a trip in May of this year to compete in the first B-Rated show in Tennessee. We will be posting their progress, cheering them on in Facebook, and posting pictures on Instagram.  #WEtogether.
NOVAWE so appreciates our Business Members - please give them your support!

Thank You Business Members!

Gaucho is ready for Spring!

He dressed for the Spring season at NOVAWE's WE Clinic
at Frying Pan Farm Park on March 27th.  Look for him at all our events!

Thank you to our volunteers!


Working Equitation 2021 Event Schedule - visit NOVAWE's Event Calendar for registration details and contact information. New events are being added all the time. (Key to abbreviations is at the end of the calendar.)
3            BCF Obstacle I Clinic with Suzanne Liscouski (VA)
3            BVS Dressage Lessons with Patrick Tigchelaar and EOH Private Lessons with Allison Reed (VA)
9-11       BCF Patrick King Private Lessons (VA)
10          OSE WE Clinic with Allison Reed (MD)
13-14     IRF Patrick King Private Lessons (PA)
24          NOVAWE WE Clinic with Melissa Smith at BTF (VA)
25           BCF Obstacle II Clinic with Suzanne Liscouski (VA)
30           OSE Carlos Carneiro Clinic (MD)
30           BCF Dominique Barbier Private Lesson Clinic (VA)
1-2         OSE Carlos Carneiro Clinic (MD)
1-2         BCF Dominique Barbier Private Lesson Clinic (VA)
2             MDS Working Equitation & EOH Show with Allison Reed (VA)
12           IRF WE Play Day (PA)
16           NOVAWE WE Dressage Fix-it-Test with Mary Flood at Wildfire Farm (VA)
22           NOVAWE WE Schooling Show at FPFP (VA)
22           MDS Schooling Dressage Show (VA)
29           IRF WE Play Day (PA)
1             IRF Patrick King Private Lessons (PA)
5-6          ERAHC B-Rated Show #2 at Frying Pan Farm Park (VA)
7-8          OSE -Patrick King Private Lessons (MD)
12           OSE WE Schooling Show (MD) (NOVAWE Partner Show)
19           CHS WE Clinic with Melissa Smith at Laurel Hill Park (VA)
19            IRF WE Play Day (PA)
20            MDS Schooling Dressage Show (VA)
21-25       BCF Patrick King Summer Camp (VA)
26            NOVAWE WE Clinic with Melissa Smith at BTF (VA)
30            IRF WE Play Day (PA)
BCF =    Briar Creek Farm (VA)
BTF =    Blue Top Farm (VA)
BVS =    Bella Vita Stables (VA)
CHS =   Clifton Horse Society (VA)
ERAHC=Eastern Region Andalusian Horse Club
FPFP =   Frying Pan Farm Park (VA)
IRF =      Iron Rock Farm (PA)
MDS =    Mitchell Dressage Series (VA)
OSE =    Oak Spring Equestrian (MD)

See Ya Round!
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