Horsemanship Lesson Plans - Set of 20 for Red Level



Use this flexible set of 20 Red Level horsemanship lesson plans with or without our progressive riding curriculum to give your students a strong beginner walk-trot foundation. Learning Levels lessons can be taught consecutively, or combined and presented in any order that works logically for your students and program.



These lesson plans will help you guide students through our Red Level Horsemanship curriculum — you can learn more about Red Level goals here.

Each printable lesson has 2 pages of information:

  • A list of required equipment, including notes on setting the arena and pre-lesson preparation.
  • A suggested breakdown of instructional content presented over the course of an hour.
  • Ideas for games and modifications when teaching private and group lessons.
  • Additional thoughts and cautionary notes covering scenarios you may face during the course of the lesson.

Our lesson plans are divided into two separate sets, with ten lessons each:

SET ONE – FROM THE GROUND UP covers ground handling, safety drills and rider position. This set includes four lessons teaching students to prepare a horse for a ride that can be taught individually or as the first half of a mounted lesson. Mounting and dismounting, walk/halt transitions and basic steering are introduced, with the goal of the student being able to safely ride off the leadline at the walk.

SET TWO – READY TO TROT introduces elementary arena exercises including ring figures, ground pole courses, two-point position, and riding at the walk without stirrups. The emphasis of these lessons is on developing a consistent posting trot and the independence of aids necessary to ride on the rail in the trot.

You can also use two additional lesson plans for this level: download your FREE Red Level Horsemanship sample set here.


We hope that all Red Horsemanship participants come away from their initial lessons with a balanced seat, an appreciation for the horse/human relationship, an understanding of basic terminology, and most importantly, a desire to continue their equine education.



Our lesson plans will give you a helpful framework for designing your own riding program, whether you award Levels ribbons or not.

We encourage you to use these lesson plans as a general guideline and a source of inspiration rather than a rigid formula. Each student and lesson environment has its own individual challenges: weather, footing, lesson location, soundness and suitability of the horse are just a few!

You may wish to modify the length or structure of the lessons, change the order in which they are presented, or mix them into plans of your own.

NOTE: All of our lesson plans assume that all horses used are safe, sound, and have been trained to perform and/or accept the skill being taught. We also assume that as a well-qualified and conscientious instructor, you are not teaching to a level beyond your experience and expertise.

If this is your first time using our lesson plans, please make sure that you read the safety guidelines and teaching tips in our intro file, How to Teach Horsemanship Using our Lesson Plans, which is included in this download.


PRO TIP: Help your students prepare for mounted lessons by giving them a Red Level Horsemanship Study Guide — and learn why we use study guides to accelerate our students’ progress in this Boss Mares blog post.



You’ll need to extract the individual PDF files from the .ZIP file to open them. Detailed help will be available on the download page.

This zipped download contains three PDF files:

— How to Teach Horsemanship Using Our Lesson Plans
— Red Level Horsemanship Lesson Plans – Set One (10 lessons plus intro to teaching Red Level)
— Red Level Horsemanship Lesson Plans – Set Two (10 lessons)

Download file size = 3.5 MB

SKU LL-203-ZIP Categories , ,

Preview Pages

Tips for Printing and Using this PDF File

Since each lesson plan has two pages, we suggest duplex (front and back) printing. There are 30 pages in Set One, 22 pages in Set Two, and 8 pages in the introductory file.

No access to a printer? Try viewing the PDF file in a browser on your desktop or mobile device.

What will students learn?

Learning Levels Topics covered in this resource:

equine behavior, flatwork skills, gaits and movement, grooming, ground handling, jumping skills, mounted safety, tack, unmounted safety

Students will learn these horsey skills and concepts:

  • Brush, pick hooves, saddle and bridle, with assistance only if necessary, demonstrating awareness of basic horse safety.
  • Mount and dismount independently (with mounting block if needed).
  • Perform warm-up stretches independently.
  • Perform an emergency dismount at the halt and walk.
  • Halt by disengaging horse’s hindquarters (“one-rein stop”), once on each rein.
  • Demonstrate a pulley rein and a safety seat.
  • Shorten and lengthen reins correctly.
  • Perform walk-halt transitions, maintaining balanced position.
  • Demonstrate the following maneuvers at walk:
    • Change of direction across diagonal
    • Half-circle reverse
    • Half-turn
    • Large circle
  • Drop stirrups and pick up again, without looking down, at the halt.
  • Ride in 2-point position at the walk.
  • Ride simple ground pole course (3-5 fences) at walk, demonstrating jumping position and good approaches.
  • Ride on the rail at a posting trot, once around in each direction.

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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.

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