Assess Your Skill Level

Beginner

  • never been on a horse before or have ridden only a couple of times
  • long periods between riding
  • no formal instruction
  • if you have ridden before, it was at a walk only

Novice

  • been on a horse at least a few times
  • comfortable communicating with a horse
  • no/minimal lessons or coaching
  • may have trotted or cantered before (without falling off)

Intermediate

  • comfortable and competent using aids (*you need to know what aids are) to communicate with the horse
  • generally comfortable riding all three gaits; can post a trot and don’t grip the saddle horn while cantering
  • would NOT feel comfortable riding a young or spirited horse

Strong Intermediate

  • ride regularly (at least monthly); the last time on a horse being less than a year ago
  • received riding lessons/coaching (English or Western)
  • comfortable and competent in all three gaits; can post or sit a trot, have an independent seat (do not hold onto the saddle) while cantering, can pick up the correct canter lead
  • can navigate more complex terrain, including how to ask your horse to sidestep and jump over a small obstacle

Advanced

  • You ride regularly (at least monthly)
  • comfortable and capable of handling any horse on complex terrain and at all three gaits with an independent seat and soft hands
  • can ride over small jumps and know the techniques to collect a horse
  • have the skills to ride and train a young/green horse

Want to improve your riding?

Note that we take skill level into consideration when assigning horses. For your safety and comfort, as well as the horses’, we appreciate honesty in your assessment.

For riders at an Intermediate level and above, we may ask you to demonstrate your skills prior to your ride. We encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about horses and riding to read about our “Earn Your Spurs” program.