IALHA members and friends gathered July 16-17, 2011 at Carol and Ronnie Marroquin’s beautiful Andalusians of Texas ranch to learn about Working Equitation from Juan José del Valle Alvarado, Presidente: Asociación Mexicana de Equitación de Trabajo, A.C.; President, General Meeing, World Association of Working Equitation.

Nine riders and a multitude of auditors gathered in the shade of a Pecan orchard to escape the Texas heat while learning more about the discipline.

The clinic began with the clinician walking through the obstacle course, describing to participants what the judge looks for in each. Riding participants then worked through a variety of obstacles in two different group sessions, enabling each horse/rider combination to practice the intricacies of opening/closing the rope gate, negotiating backing up in an alley, navigating through the livestock pen, over the bridge, and using the garocha to ‘drive’ different size balls off their stands or through an alley.

By the end of the second day, horses and riders had progressed to the point where those in attendance participated in a mock competition through the speed phase, with two USEF judges (Francine Dismukes and Helen Hogan) serving as ‘judge understudies’ and another (Malen Dell) participating on horseback.

The winner? Although all in attendance doubtless considered themselves victorious for having completed the course under the allotted three minutes, Doreen Atkinson riding Obadi del Dios was named champion for the day. Congratulations!