Intermediate, or Advanced Rider?
© 2006 Cherry Hill
of the first steps in developing any skill is to determine where you are starting.
Although the words beginner, intermediate, and advanced are vague, see if the
descriptions that follow help you to find where you presently fit. Persons of
all ages can be found in any of the categories. Some people feel that any person
who is riding a horse is also training that horse whether purposely or
inadvertently and whether good or bad habits are being formed. Theoretically,
I agree with that. However, I use the word trainer for those riders who have advanced
enough in their skills that they can ride a variety of horses well and that they
have a very good chance of eliciting the desired response from a horse the first
or second time they ask the horse to perform a specific maneuver.
The PRE-BEGINNER rider is someone who is interested and curious, but totally inexperienced
with horses and needs to learn about them from the ground up. She is learning
how to lead horses, groom them, and relate to their size and movement from the
ground. The pre-beginner rider has no knowledge about horse training and care.
She may be timid or fearless.
The BEGINNER rider is entering
the awareness-development stage. She might have spent a total of 10 hours in the
saddle, either by riding once in a while over a period of years or by taking an
introductory group of lessons. She can control a quiet school horse at a walk
and trot with turns and can stop the horse. The beginner rider slows down and
walks if she feels she is losing her balance at the trot. She will remain a beginner
until she has developed the balance and confidence to lope or canter the horse.
The ADVANCED BEGINNER can sit on a quiet, well-schooled horse
without losing her balance when it is loping or cantering.
The INTERMEDIATE rider may show signs of competitiveness or seriousness about
riding. When she works with a school horse, she can mount without assistance,
walk, trot, canter, ride circles, serpentines, knows what diagonal or lead she
is on, and can stop the horse from any gait.
INTERMEDIATE rider can perform simple and flying lead changes, variations in the
gaits, turn on the forehand, turn on the hindquarters, and lateral movements on
a school horse. She has the interest to ride horses other than school horses and
she is gaining the knowledge and is developing the skills to be able to train
The ADVANCED rider is a horse trainer with a well-
developed sense of balance and timing. She understands sophisticated concepts
of horse movement and sound principles of training and can perform the advanced
maneuvers in her style of riding. When she rides it is very difficult to see the
aids she is giving her horse.