Skill Levels Program

Responsible Horsemanship's goal is to give attendees the best possible opportunity to learn and succeed within their own comfort zone. Therefore, we have established skill levels to help you determine which programs and instructors will best fit your needs. The other attendees in the group will be the same level and the teaching will apply to that level of horsemanship. Please understand that years of riding, or owning a horse, does not determine your level. This skill level is based on how confident and competent your riding is today. The more accurate you can be in identifying your skill level, the more beneficial your clinic time will be for you and your horse.

Level One. . .New to Horses

Welcome! This level is for those who are just joining the horse community. At this level riders have very limited experience with horses, although they may own one. Level one is for learning fundamental horsemanship, care and management, the nature of horses, communication using body positioning on the ground and on the horse, leg and rein aids, and tack and equipment.

Level Two. . .Seasoned Equestrian

This level rider will have a general knowledge of horsemanship. Riders at this level will have practical experience with horses, know how to control a horse on the ground, and properly care for a horse. Seasoned riders are learning to follow the horse's movements, maintain their balance so a not to interfere with the horse, and not use the rein for balance. These riders have basic knowledge of leg and rein aids, and have good control of a horse at a walk, but sometimes need to slow down at a trot or canter to regain control. You can ride unassisted in a group. Seasoned riders have basic knowledge of tack and equipment, their proper uses and how they work.

Level Three . . .Experienced Rider

At this level, riders are balanced at the walk, can ride a balanced posting trot without interfering with the horse's mouth, and understand the proper 1-2 rhythm. Experienced riders have an understanding of leg and rein aids, and have developed at least, an aware seat. Riders at this level can lope or canter a short distance with control, and when needed, can bring the horse back under control without losing their balance. Experienced riders posses all the knowledge and skills of level 1 & 2 regarding tack, basic horsemanship, and the nature of the horse.

Level Four . . .Accomplished Rider

Accomplished riders ride with authority, and can use aids properly and effectively. Riders at this level posses a basic understanding of training and conditioning. Accomplished riders can control a horse in all gaits and speeds, while maintaining a balanced seat and quiet hands. They can access whatever the horse has learned through prior training, and have ridden horses in several different environments, i.e., trails, arena, competitions, drill team, clinics, etc., and have knowledge and experience in the proper care and handling of a horse in these different environments.

Level Five . . .Veteran Equestrian

Riders at this level posses advanced riding skills and have a well rounded knowledge of horses. Veteran equestrians understand some advanced training techniques, and how to properly apply them. They can complete basic exercises with precise control. Having some specialized knowledge, Veteran equestrians are ready to compete, or are currently a competent competitor. Riders at this level can handle difficult horses with a degree of safety and are able to help the horse. They are refining their riding skills and techniques, and are acutely aware of the nuances of horsemanship.

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