What do you expect to learn in a lesson?
What would you expect to be learning?
Beginners and novice riders
Novice to novice advanced
Beginner Level: Walk
At this level, everything is about learning to enjoy being with horses in the early stages of riding with a big emphasis on your safety.
From the beginning, I will help you to understand how horses think and behave. How to handle them and simple things such as what to wear. The rider will learn how to mount and dismount and ride their horse in the walk and halt.
Even at this early stage, I realize that although most people ride simply for pleasure, just a few will go on to become top riders in their sport. For this reason I teach everyone to do everything correctly.
Novice Level: Trot
Now safe around the stables and horses, most of the learning at this level is about learning the basic aids a rider uses to ask the horse to walk, trot and turn. We must learn to give the correct instructions so that the horse can understand what the rider requires of the horse.
Much of the training at this level is also about developing your balance and learning how to let your body move with the horse comfortably so that you become more secure, confident, to find the whole experience enjoyable.
By the end of this level, riders will be able to ride a well behaved predictable horse in walk and trot.
All riders will be taught how to brush over their horse in preparation for tacking up.
Now that the rider is starting to feel confident in the basics of walk and trot, they can progress on to working without their stirrups at these paces. They are now being encouraged to adopt a more relaxed position where the rider does not rely on their reins or stirrups for balance and security.
Riders will also start to move up to the canter and learn more about how the horse moves at different paces.
By the end of this level riders should feel fairly comfortable in the canter and have some understanding of how they ask the horse to move up to the canter. They will also be starting to feel secure without their stirrups and be able to maintain a good basic position.
Riders will learn how to put on a saddle and bridle so they can tack up their horse for their lesson.
At this level riders are becoming more confident around their horse and are able to prepare the horse for a lesson and check their own tack is correctly put on.
In their ridden work, they will now be focusing more on the canter and should be developing a secure seat at this pace. They will be able to explain how they ask for the canter and recognize which canter lead their horse is on.
The rider will also be comfortable in the walk and the trot without stirrups and should be starting to have a little canter without their stirrups as well.
The rider is now starting to work more independently and should be able to control their horse without following a ride. They should be capable of controlling a quiet horse and riding basic exercises on their own.
Riders should now be learning more about the horse, how it lives in the wild and what the horse's basic needs are.
At this level, riders are secure enough to begin to develop an independent seat. This means that whatever the horse does, the rider does not feel insecure or threatened.
Developing an independent seat takes time but by the end of this level the rider will have developed sufficient balance to ride a horse behaving less predictably without having to resort to gripping with the legs or hanging onto the reins for security.
Learning about the fitting of various types of bridles as well as proper grooming of the horse.
With all the skills so far developed, the rider will want to try them out. This is where the rider is encouraged to learn to ride courses of fences and develop their skills
It is a natural process that as a rider aspires to do more so they must learn more and begin to develop further skills in order to succeed with a greater challenge.
At this level, riders learn more about horse psychology as the type of horse they are riding is beginning to be more sensitive. They will also be learning about the basic needs of the horse with regards to diet and exercise.
Riders accomplishing this level have 'Earned their Wings', or 'Passed their Driving Test'. Call it what you want, they are able to ride and can truly call themselves riders.
Levels above this go beyond simple mechanics of riding and on to the development of skill in order to learn to ride more spirited horses and those which might be less predictable than encountered while learning to ride.
Riding once a week cannot successfully allow riders to progress beyond developing the basic riding skills.
Those short of time but not money can expect to have to invest much more to develop further riding skills or buy their own horse.
This level deals exclusively with preparing the rider for the day when they might expect to own their own horse or horses.