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Riding Syllabus

Five levels of riding can be achieved, from beginner to advanced. You will be informed of your level of competence and placed into the appropriate group.  Monitoring and continuous assessment enables our instructors to keep riders in the correct group, but most importantly a group they are comfortable and
confident to progress in. Assessment lessons can be arranged via private, semi-private and group lessons.

Each level consists of adjusting tack, mounting and dismounting (assistance given until competent) The mounting and dismounting procedure is included within the duration of your lesson time.

This syllabus is a very basic guideline, much more will be taught at each level.

Certificates will be awarded on merit for each level obtained.

Our expert team of instructors are constantly assessing your progression and upon competence, your instructor will advise you to move up to the next riding level. It is vital that all the required skills and achievements are successfully completed to a high standard prior to being moved up, because your safety is paramount.

LEVEL 1: Beginners (incorporates work towards the pony club bronze 3 test)
Work towards and achieve:

  • Correct mounting procedure: ground / mounting block / leg up
  • Position in halt / walk / trot.  Learn aids for halt / walk / trot
  • Holding reins / lengthening / shortening / correct length
  • Ensure the reins are used correctly (reins are NOT to be used to assist balance)
  • Steering using leg and rein aids, while learning school movements: 20m circle / serpentines / changing rein / steering through obstacles whilst maintaining a balanced position in walk and upon competence, in trot without assistance
  • Rising and sitting trot initially with assistance from the safety aids, ensure you are fully aware of their location and how and when to use them (Allow the Saddle, Handle or Mane to assist you by holding with one or both hands until competent) upon progression, have the ability to maintain a balanced position, applying leg aids to sustain the pace, have coordination and still hands throughout the duration of the lesson, without holding the safety aids for assistance.
  • Maintain good balance when working without reins in walk and rising trot
  • Standing trot with assistance from Saddle, Handle or Mane until competent
  • Walk without stirrups unaided with balance / short bursts of sitting trot, aided
  • Maintain the pace using natural aids / artificial aids (crop) Note: The use of a crop will be permitted at the instructors discretion.
  • Recognition of basic riding terms and phrases e.g. large, halt, change the rein, and the whole ride. Memorise letters around the arena and have knowledge of how to use them
  • Understand the importance of safety. Practice basic safety rules: safe distance between horses. Be fully aware of what aids to hold if balance / stirrups are lost / if an unfamiliar or unstable situation arises. (Aids: Saddle, Handle, Mane)
  • Listen and follow instructions carefully
  • All skills learnt, must be accomplished on a selection of ponies / horses
  • Always praise your pony / horse showing gratitude and kindness.
  • Develop understanding of the safety procedure upon long rein, dismounting, adjusting tack and returning pony / horse to stable / stall in a safe orderly fashion with assistance until competent.

½ hour walkouts are available as an addition to your lesson (½ hour lesson followed by a ½ hour walk out), to obtain riding / road sense / gain confidence (lead rein assisted).

LEVEL 2: Better Beginners (incorporates work towards the pony club bronze 2 / 1 tests, D test)

Work towards and achieve:

  • Develop and improve all skills achieved in level 1
  • Develop an understanding of how to check and adjust tack prior to mounting in order for riders to have further knowledge and understanding by level 3, competent by level 4
  • Understand the safety aspects of mounting:
    • How to mount safely
    • Ability to mount from a mounting block with an understanding of why it is important and why we prefer this method of mounting 
    • Have knowledge and be fully aware of the safe and correct distance away from the head and hind legs when mounting and tightening the girth (assistance given until competent)
    • Develop and understanding of how to identify and check a correctly tightened girth prior to mounting and upon mounting
    • Demonstrate the ability to adjust stirrups to the correct length with assistance until competent
  • Improve position and balance whilst maintaining a safe secure seat without stirrups until completely independent of saddle in walk and trot
  • Ride confidently on a variety of ponies / horses, maintaining a safe secure balanced position in a walk and trot pace, in a variety of positions within the ride (including lead file) whilst riding with and without stirrups, unaided 
  • Understand the importance of work without stirrups, developing a stronger lower leg contact, to help maintain the pace, whilst steering and riding school movements
  • Improve hand and leg coordination. Develop a safe secure position whilst demonstrating a balanced light-seat position in walk, trot, on the flat and over poles
  • Obtain further knowledge of school movements / memorise a variety of rein changes
  • Ride away from the ride in walk and trot. Work as a ride in trot
  • Understand why and how to check, correct and change diagonals. Develop knowledge of footfall, gaits, rhythm and rising diagonals
  • Standing trot unaided with a balanced safe secure position
  • Develop a stronger close leg contact, improving natural aids, with knowledge of how to carry an artificial aid (crop) understanding when and when not to use it, demonstrate how to change a crop correctly 
  • Work without reins with good balance, coordinate the upper body independent to the lower body, whilst using leg aids to steer ensuring the pace is maintained with assistance
  • Understand how important it is to be gentle and calm, relaxed and patient, all horses are different so riding a variety is essential for you to progress and develop new skills
  • Safety must be practiced, riders must remain alert and aware with calmness and confidence, adhering to gentle, still hands and strong legs
  • Ride with a positive determining attitude to ensure you reach your goal
  • Riders must learn how to avoid a dangerous situation, should it ever arise and be able to handle any unfamiliar or unforeseen situations should they ever occur
  • Learn the aids for canter, position in canter, with knowledge of the safety aids that can assist you in canter (allow the Saddle, Handle or Mane to assist you by holding with one or both hands until competent). 
  • Canter exercises will only be permitted prior to your achievement of moving up levels. Your instructor will acknowledge your accomplishment. (The duration of time prior to moving up will be at our discretion)
  • It is vital that all of the requirements within level 1 and 2 are obtained prior to the progression to canter, because your safety is paramount.
  • Always praise your pony / horse showing gratitude and kindness during and at the end of each lesson. 
  • Understand the safety procedure upon long rein, dismounting, adjusting tack correctly and returning pony / horse to stable / stall in an safe and orderly fashion.

½ hour instructional walkouts are available as an addition to your lessons, Have fun riding for 1 hour, vary your environment and learn new skills / Riding Road Safety

½ hour / 1 hour walkouts can also be arranged separately

LEVEL 3: ADVANCED BEGINNERS (Incorporate work towards pony club silver 3 / 2 / 1 tests, D+ test)
Work towards and achieve:

  • Develop and improve all skills taught in previous levels, successfully completing tasks to a higher standard with no assistance
  • Successfully demonstrate adjusting tack / stirrups prior to mounting, obtaining further knowledge of tightening the girth and adjusting stirrups to the correct length while mounted. Be capable of mounting from various procedures, understand the safety reasons for checking and adjusting tack. Understand how important it is to tighten the girth before / after mounting and during the duration of the lesson, progressing onto demonstrating this procedure with assistance until competent
  • Understand the importance of using a mounting block and why mounting from the floor should be avoided, depending on the size of horse and the weight of the rider, to prevent damage to riders / horses back and spine
  • Extensive knowledge of school movements (10m circles, 3 loop serpentines, figures of 8) and how to ride them, including lead file position on a variety of ponies / horses in walk / rising / sitting / standing trot with and without stirrups, whilst maintaining the pace, with a balanced, secure and strong position
  • Develop knowledge of diagonals, rising diagonals, aids for all gaits, footfall sequence, rhythm and contact through rein and leg aids, develop understanding and the importance for learning the aids for a bend
  • Develop and understanding of why it is very important to demonstrate still hands whilst keeping a contact down the reins.
  • Understand the importance of using natural aids whenever possible and only using artificial aids if necessary 
  • Improve balance and posture, with and without stirrups in both rising and sitting trot, with stirrups in rising, sitting and standing trot
  • Work as a ride developing an independent status, establishing a one-to-one bond between you and your horse and upon competence work independently (not following others) in a walk and trot pace
  • Work without reins safely, controlling horse with leg, seat and voice aids
  • Understand how and why we work a horse in, gaining knowledge in preparation for level 4.
  • Continue to gain knowledge of the canter pace, using aids to assist you (ensure you use the Saddle, Handle or Mane to assist you, by holding on with one or both hands until
    competent) obtain knowledge of the correct canter lead and how to achieve it. Developing and achieving full balance and control between the hand and leg without assistance from the
    Saddle, Handle or Mane, whilst maintaining the pace and steering using natural aids, sustaining control whilst in the correct position riding large around the arena, progressing onto 20m circles
  • Obtain further knowledge about canter aids, correct leg, how to check and correct a wrong or disunited canter (acknowledged by instructor), understanding how and why it might happen, whilst learning skills to aid prevention and correction if / when it happens (assisted by guidance from instructor)
  • Further progression and knowledge of trotting poles, jumping position on the flat and over poles, why we shorten our stirrups, how and why we require a jumping position, correct procedure and position for jumping: approach, take off and landing with, without and over raised poles in trot, progressing onto canter and upon competence over several small jumps
  • Importance of interacting with the instructor, asking and answering questions to ensure the riders knowledge of riding terms, phrases, aids and procedures are clear and fully understood, which will ensure that clear and positive aids and instructions are physically relayed to the pony / horse throughout all paces and tasks required, via the rein and leg aids, this in turn will ensure a stronger, positive, confident, effective and safe rider and obviously a happier more attentive horse
  • Develop a greater understanding of the horses natural instincts and reactions, why they put their ears back / forwards, swish their tails and paw the ground, what does it mean and what we need to do to avoid an incident occurring.
  • Seasonal (weather permitting) learn to ride in an open space, develop further understanding of the horse and it's natural instincts when in an open area. Ride up and down slops in walk and trot with balance and control
  • Always praise your pony / horse showing gratitude and kindness during and at the end of each lesson. 
  • Understand with greater knowledge the safety procedure upon long rein, dismounting, adjusting tack correctly and returning pony / horse to stable / stall in an safe orderly fashion without
    assistance.

½ hour hacks are available as an addition to your lesson to improve your skills whilst out in the open.
1 hour hacks are available as an addition to your lesson accompanied by a mounted escort

LEVEL 4: INTERMEDIATE (Incorporate work towards the pony club 3 / 2 / 1 tests, D+ / C tests)
Working towards BHS Stage 1
Work towards and achieve:

  • Develop and improve all skills taught in previous levels, successfully completing tasks to a much higher standard with no assistance
  • Collect pony / horse from stable / stall, adjust tack, tighten girth, mount correctly (mounting block, leg up, floor) assistance only given to leg up's (assistant holding the off side stirrup to secure the saddle when mounting from a mounting block or floor)
  • Understand the importance for using a mounting block and why mounting from the floor should be avoided, depending on the size of the horse and the weight of the rider, to prevent any damage to backs / spines that could be inflicted to both parties. Capability to mount from both sides
  • Ride with a very confident, strong, effective, secure, independent position and seat
  • Work horse in, understand the reasons for doing so, as a ride and in open order, understand the rules of school, I.e. pass left hand to left hand, move onto the inside track when working at a slower pace, turn into the centre when halting, verbal communication is vital to ensure your fellow riders are fully aware of your intended procedure. Always ask permission prior to removing an item of clothing, as dismounting is often advised for safety
  • Work in pairs, drill rides, basic dressage moves - leg yield, turn on the forehand, understand the aids, how to apply and reasons for doing so
  • Identify correct diagonals through feel (not sight), enabling the horse to move freely underneath you with balance. Identify your fellow riders correct / incorrect diagonals and correct / incorrect / disunited canter leads and correct / incorrect positions
  • Direct transitions, transition within a pace (extending and collecting) aids and reasons why we do this
  • Understand rhythm, tempo, impulsion and flexion in more detail
  • Knowledge of the aids for a bend, whilst demonstrating and achieving it
  • Begin to obtain further knowledge about schooling a horse, schooling exercises, understand and identify a horse that is tracking up, on the bit / behind the bit, in the correct / incorrect outline, whilst progressing onto correcting / achieving it. Knowledge of schooling a horse to improve balance, muscle tone and flexion 
  • Assess a horses strengths and weaknesses, suggest and demonstrate exercises that will help improve it
  • Start to develop an understanding on how to ride with double reins, how to hold reins correctly and when and why we use them. Progressing onto demonstrating this upon competence, riding a horse in a double bridle, upon achieving a very high standard within level 5.
  • Ride without stirrups in walk and trot progressing onto canter to improve balance and seat
  • Perform school movements and changes of rein with the reins in one hand
  • Understand and demonstrate transition exercises in walk and trot progressing onto canter
  • Canter as a ride, canter in a light seat and standing seat, whilst remaining independent and balanced, canter school movements
  • Ride a variety of more challenging mounts
  • Continue practising jumping position, jumping single, double and combination fences, jumping a variety of fences (upright / parallel / natural / coloured) increasing the height of the fences upon competence, progressing onto a course of fences in both arena and X-country field. Develop an understanding of how to influence strides, the correct stride and how to placing your horse correctly within a stride when jumping
  • Knowledge of distance between trotting poles / fences
  • Participate in our jumping classes and competitions, Every Wednesday Evening 7-8pm and compete in our One Day Event Competitions, Most Bank Holiday Monday's 
  • Ride independently on a variety of ponies / horses in the arena and X-country field, with control and balance whilst riding up and down slopes, progressing onto jumping a course of X-country fences
  • Upon competence and at the instructors discretion, begin riding without a saddle in walk and trot until balance is obtained.
  • Have a greater knowledge about safety around the yard, arena, X-country field and in open spaces when out hacking, be capable of dealing with a situation should it ever arise. Have a
    greater understanding of the safety requirements throughout lessons, be able to see an incident before it happens, have quick reactions to prevent an incident occurring to both yourself or others around you, have knowledge of what actions need to be put in place to avoid an incident reoccurring i.e. horse putting its ears back, horse rushing forward towards another horse
    Always praise your pony / horse showing gratitude and kindness during and at the end of each lesson. 
  • Understand with greater knowledge the safety procedure upon long rein, dismounting, adjusting tack correctly and returning pony / horse to stable / stall / rugging up and turning out in an safe orderly fashion.

 
1 and 2 hour hacks available. These can be arranged separately for riders who are confident, safe and secure throughout all paces, these hacks are a more challenging ride. Dates and Times are displayed within the office, via our website and via our Facebook pages.

LEVEL 5: ADVANCED-INTERMEDIATE / ADVANCED (Incorporate work towards the pony club C test)
Working towards BHS Stage 2
Work towards and achieve:

  • Develop and improve all skills taught in previous levels, successfully completing tasks to an exceptionally high standard with and without instructions from the instructor
  • Tacking-up / full control of pony / horse from stable / stall / correct mounting procedure (mount unaided using a mounting block) mount and dismount from both sides
  • Fulfil all safety requirements throughout lessons, be able to see an incident before it happens, have quick reactions to prevent an incident occurring to both yourself and others around you, with knowledge of what actions need to be put in place to avoid an incident reoccurring i.e. horse pawing the ground / horse backing up
  • Continue to develop feet, position, balance and technique with confidence in all paces, on the flat, over fences, in open spaces (hacking) and X-country field
  • Have the ability to successfully feel correct / incorrect diagonals and canter leads without looking, then demonstrate correction where applicable. 
  • Continue to work on: extension and collection, transitions, dressage and show jumping techniques to a very high standard. 
  • In depth knowledge of rhythm, tempo, impulsion and balance: Balance, Rhythm and Tempo, Speed and Impulsion all need to work together!
  • Rhythm is the regularity and evenness of the hoof beats
  • Tempo is the speed of the Rhythm - the time it takes for a sequence of footfalls to occur.
  • Tempo is often referred to as bpm (beats per minute)
  • Knowledge of how to school a horse to improve strength, muscle tone, flexion and ability to bend enabling the horse to move more freely
  • Work without stirrups over fences with balance and control
  • Ride without reins and stirrups on the flat, whilst being lunged and over fences 
  • Bareback riding with balance and control in all paces
  • Continue to develop and fully understand how to ride a horse correctly in double reins and in a double bridle, with vast knowledge about the safety aspects that surround this sophisticated tool and complex device, whilst having extensive knowledge of the consequences that can stem from its misuse (at the instructors discretion, as a skilled and talented rider is required)
  • Capability to school a young, inexperienced horse on the flat and over fences
  • Experience to correct a horse with schooling problem, conformation faults, vices, balance, steering and bending issues
  • Ability to ride a wide variety and challenging mounts:
  • Technique and skill to school nervous, unpredictable horses
  • Have knowledge and experience to school forward going / sharp horses,  demonstrating exercises that will help improve / correct it
  • Capability to school horses who rear, buck and misbehave. Have confidence and the technique to ride a nervous horse through heavy traffic and unfamiliar surroundings
  • Ride timed Show jumping and X-country courses. Capability to successfully compete in non-affiliated competitions
  • Build a course of jumps and ride correct lines / strides into a given fence
  • Participate in our jumping classes and competition, Every Wednesday Evening 7-8pm and compete in our One Day Event Competitions, Most Bank Holiday Monday's 
  • Ride a basic dressage test. Continue to perform more difficult dressage movements. Capability to successfully compete in non-affiliated competitions 
  • Extensive knowledge of the horses natural instinct, fully understanding why they react to situation and how to over come and resolve any problems and issues they might have
  • In depth stable management knowledge of tacking up / untacking, rugging up for stable / field / traveling.
  • Know about and how to fit suitable boots / bandages to horses who overreach, brush and those with tendon problems
  • Identify a lame / unsound horse on foot and ridden, locate the problem with an understanding of how to resolve the issue
  • Have confidence and knowledge to advise and inform fellow riders if they see a fault / error or an incident occurring.
  • Have extensive knowledge of the horse, riding techniques and a vast knowledge of the disciplines associated within them, be able to verbally & physically demonstrate your knowledge to others
  • Extensive knowledge of safety around the yard, arena, X-country field and in open spaces when out hacking, be capable of dealing with a situation should it ever arise
  • Always praise your pony / horse showing gratitude and kindness during and at the end of each lesson. 
  • Understand all the safety requirements and procedures upon long rein, dismounting, adjusting tack correctly and returning pony / horse to stable / stall / rugging up / turning out in an safe orderly fashion while helping and assisting others if required
  • Identity when a horse needs to be cooled off for a longer period, sponged down, thatched / sweat rug fitted and stabled kept and their water bucket removed, prior to turn-out and have knowledge of whether a horse should be turned-out or stabled kept overnight, depending on the horses condition and climate of weather

Riding and road sense badges / progression through Pony Club levels obtainable via our lessons / activities. Badges and Awards are achievable to Pony Club Members at Glen Jakes Riding School
1 and 2 hour hacks available. These can be arranged separately for riders who are confident, safe and secure throughout all paces, these hacks are a more challenging ride. Dates and Times are displayed within the office, via our website and via our Facebook pages.