The Boss Mares Blog

Education for Everyone

We believe that many fundamentals of horsemanship and horse care are universal. A rider with a secure and balanced seat should be able to ride effectively in any saddle - or none at all!

How to Adapt the Learning Levels for All Disciplines

In the years since we developed our Learning Levels, we’ve seen that it isn’t just students who appreciate a system. Instructors need one, too. Especially instructors new to teaching or searching for a way to focus a lesson program.

We love connecting with like-minded instructors and barn owners all over the country, and seeing how different businesses integrate our curriculum into their existing programs.

Sharing the Levels program with a wider audience has given us opportunities to think about how and why this system has worked for us – and how it could be done differently.

student mounted warm-up exercises

Use Learning Levels to teach universal fundamentals

The Learning Levels curriculum was based on our years of eventing experience, along with a desire for our students to receive a well-rounded education in basic flatwork, jumping, and riding cross-country.

We taught English riding and jumping in a rural area where very few people were offering it – and even fewer were teaching it comprehensively and safely! In the midst of gaited horse country, this made our business stand out. It also allowed us to focus on our area of expertise, and reduced our start-up equipment costs.

For this reason, the current Horsemanship Levels are written using English riding terminology, and include objectives based on English riding, such as jumping gymnastic grids and courses. The HorseSense Levels occasionally reflect this: our students learn to judge dressage tests and jumping distances, and often apply these skills as working students or arena assistants.

However, we believe that many fundamentals of horsemanship and horse care are universal. A rider with a secure and balanced seat should be able to ride effectively in any saddle – or none at all!

Teach students to open doors

We also believe that the best way to become an empathetic, educated equestrian is to learn from many different disciplines and philosophies as possible. There is more to one approach to good horsemanship. As long as our students put safety and the horse’s well-being first, and always ask why, we like them to broaden their horsey horizons, and open doors instead of close them.

For this reason, we have a wish for everyone using our educational materials: that you think of them not as a complete, 10-step program to teaching horsemanship, but as a puzzle piece that helps your instructional program achieve the big picture.

male adult student riding in western saddle

Use the parts of the curriculum that work for you and change the parts that don’t

Some possible ways you could modify the Horsemanship levels for different disciplines:

We want to help you keep those doors open

Our hope is that we can help instructors in all disciplines by providing inspiration and reducing the time you spend on behind-the-scenes work. We know only too well how many hours are needed to run a successful lesson program!

And we hope that together we can empower students to learn about their equine partners even if their riding time is limited.

And of course, we’re in it for the horses, who are the heart of everything

We all know many horses that are victims of well-intentioned but ignorant owners and riders. If we can improve the mental or physical well-being of a horse by facilitating education, then the time we’ve put into these materials is well-spent.

We hope you’ll agree – whether your students canter, rack or lope!

halflinger with kissable muzzle

We are very interested in creating a Western adaptation of the Levels in the future. If you teach Western and incorporate our materials into your curriculum, please drop us a note and tell us about it. We value your feedback!

Get email newsletters:

We'll send you an occasional update with new posts and resources. And never share your information with anyone else - see our Privacy Policy for details. Easily unsubscribe at any time.

Not Yet a Member?

Join us to get ALL available resources for learning or teaching the Learning Levels. Sign up for an LLPro Membership - cancel anytime.
Join Us!

We have been blessed with many talented photographers over the years: students who voluntarily stood out in a sweltering/ freezing arena – or slogged up and down our hilly pastures – capturing lifelong memories of camps, clinics, and shows. We’re grateful to all of them!

One such student, Delaney Witbrod, is now a professional photographer with a gift for animal portraits – see more of her fine work here.

You’ll also find illustrations throughout our online courses and printed materials (like study guides) graciously donated by Rhonda Hagy, who is a student and lifelong friend. Contact us for information about her work.

Are we lucky or WHAT?!

Enter Your Email

Not yet an LLPro member? Join us!