Teach the Horsemanship Levels



The Learning Levels mounted curriculum is designed for both English and Western riding lessons. As the Levels progress, they intend to give the student a secure and versatile balanced seat, with a well-rounded basic education in flatwork, jumping or polework, and riding in the open.

We believe that a good rider can ride effectively in any saddle, and that many fundamentals of horsemanship are universal. We hope that our students go on to ride in any discipline they choose with correct equitation, an attention to detail and safety, and a thorough understanding of aids and equine psychology.

The Horsemanship Levels concentrate on the rider’s ability in the saddle, culminating in a rider who is balanced, educated and confident, able to ride a well-schooled horse with skill and empathy on the flat and over obstacles, both in the arena and in the open.

Each Level introduces new skills and concepts that build on previous Levels. To earn a Horsemanship ribbon, we expect students to be able to demonstrate these skills while maintaining a secure balanced position and prioritizing the well-being of the horse.

All riding requirements must be met with the student demonstrating a safe, basic balanced position: heels down, eyes up, quiet hands, and a line running from the head through the shoulder and hip to the heel.

  • Students with no prior horse experience.
  • As a review for students with some experience but new to your program or to your style of riding.
  • Experienced students who wish to fill gaps in their mounted education.
  • Students who are uninterested or unable to show but still need goals and achievement.
  • Students in a camp program.
  • Students too young for full mounted lessons can participate in Rainbow Level – and Level Up when they are ready!

WELL-EDUCATED NOVICE INSTRUCTORS – We expect that if you are implementing a lesson program, you have already devoted many hours to learning how to effectively communicate and interact with students of all ages, learning styles and ability levels. The structure of the Learning Levels Horsemanship curriculum – along with lesson plans for our LLPro members – will help give you a good starting framework for your program.

ESTABLISHED INSTRUCTORS – If you’re looking for a system to help stabilize and grow your program, the Learning Levels can help. Use the parts that work for you; modify the rest to suit your needs.

EXPERIENCED RIDERS – As a conscientious instructor, you should not attempt to teach a level beyond that which you can demonstrate; we assume that all of the requirements of the Levels curriculum are tasks that you can perform with ease.

PLEASE make certain that all horses used for instruction are safe, sound, and have been trained to perform and/or accept the skill being taught. While the Levels can be used to help students design goals for their project horses, we hope that all your beginners are able to learn basic skills on appropriately seasoned mounts.


Searching for inspiration?

Discover some of the things you can do with the Horsemanship Levels — all of which we've done with our own program!

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We’ve been blessed with many talented photographers over the years: students who voluntarily stood in sweltering/ freezing arenas, capturing lifelong memories of lessons, camps and shows. We’re grateful to all of them!

One former student, Delaney Witbrod, is now a professional photographer with a gift for animal portraits – see more of her fine work here. We’re also grateful for photos of Western riding donated by LLPro instructors – particularly Bit of Pleasure Horse School and Joyful Hearts Photography!

You’ll find illustrations throughout our online courses and printed materials graciously donated by our friend Rhonda Hagy. Evan Surrusco contributes additional illustrations and handles most of our photo processing. Contact us for information about their work.