Teach the HorseCentered Levels


trainer and horse at liberty during HorseCentered Levels lesson

This groundwork-based curriculum encourages students to deepen their understanding of equine behavior and communication, developing practical ground handling and training skills that can be applied using the training philosophy of your choice.

You can use the HorseCentered Levels independently as the foundation of a new equine program — or you can add them to your existing program to complement your traditional mounted or unmounted lessons.

These Levels are designed to accommodate a variety of different groundwork approaches, with the goal of creating well-rounded trainers who can choose and use methods while prioritizing partnership and the horse’s well-being.

The HorseCentered curriculum consists of three progressive Levels: Pink, White, and Gold. Each Level contains twelve objectives, covering equine behavior and training philosophy as well as hands-on ground handling.

Some HorseCentered concepts and skills may be introduced in a lower Level and then expanded with more detail in a later Level. Although you are welcome to teach objectives in any order that makes sense to you, we recommend that students practice hands-on skills one Level at a time.

This curriculum is appropriate for students with the maturity required to learn basic training theory – typically aged 8 and up. Riding ability is not required, but students must be physically capable of handling a horse on the ground independently.

If your students have minimal horse-handling experience, we strongly recommend covering the ground handling skills from Red HorseSense Level before starting HorseCentered lessons. These skills include basic haltering, leading, tying and grooming, taught alongside important horse safety concepts.

EXPERIENCED HORSE TRAINERS – 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 this curriculum are tasks that you can perform with ease. (If not, educate yourself first!)

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 HorseCentered curriculum – along with lesson plans for our LLPro members – will help give you a good starting framework for a new groundwork-based program.

ESTABLISHED INSTRUCTORS – If you’re looking for a system to diversify and expand your program – or emphasize that the horse/human relationship extends far beyond the saddle – the HorseCentered Levels can help. Use the parts that work for you; modify the rest to suit your needs.

PLEASE make certain that all horses used for instruction are safe and suitable for the skill being taught.

The emphasis on training and problem-solving means that horses don’t necessarily need previous experience with each activity. However, they must be sound, quiet and forgiving enough for students to practice safely. Aggressive or dangerously reactive horses need not apply!


Searching for inspiration?

Discover some of the things you can do with the HorseCentered 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.

horse looking perplexed


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