HorseSense Teaching Guides - Red Level Set


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Use this creative set of 11 Red Level HorseSense teaching guides with or without our progressive unmounted equine curriculum to give beginner students important knowledge and skills required to keep horses safe, healthy and happy.



The HorseSense Levels focus on the extensive body of knowledge needed to care for and work with horses successfully, testing students on horse handling, veterinary and stable management skills.

This set of teaching guides will help you plan unmounted lessons for beginner students, with suggestions for teaching all of the objectives in our Red Level HorseSense curriculum. You can learn more about Red Level goals here.

Teaching guides for Red Level are broken down by topic and objective. You’ll find guidelines and tips for teaching these introductory Red HorseSense topics:

  • unmounted safety
  • equine behavior
  • ground handling
  • grooming
  • hoof care
  • pony parts
  • basic tack
  • feeding and nutrition
  • safe unmounted and mounted attire

Each 4-page teaching guide includes:

— An explanation of why we think the objective is important, and the criteria we use to determine whether or not a student has achieved it.

— Suggestions for how to teach the objective, both as standalone lessons and as part of a mounted lesson or camp program. Includes directions for multiple games and activities as well as impromptu rainy day lesson plans and discussion prompts.

— Sample maps, diagrams and lists, with URLS for supplementary downloads.

— Additional thoughts and cautionary notes covering scenarios you may encounter.


Everyone involved with horses needs the knowledge to understand equine behavior and the skills to keep horses safe from harm. As an equine educator, you have the power to facilitate an appreciation for horsemanship both in and out of the saddle.



There are many different approaches to unmounted equine instruction, and your approach will need to meet your unique situation and goals.

For this reason, instead of creating traditional lesson plans for the HorseSense curriculum, we’ve compiled our favorite methods of teaching unmounted lessons. The ideas shared here have all been used in our riding school and can be adapted to suit students of all ages.

While a few topics are designed to be taught consecutively, in many cases you can mix in other lessons or rearrange the order in which the material is taught.

We encourage you to use these ideas as a general guideline and a source of inspiration, and hope that you find strategies that work for your program and your students.

Please note that our teaching guides 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 teaching guides, please make sure that you read the safety guidelines and teaching tips in our intro file, How to Teach HorseSense Using our Teaching Guides, which is included in this download.


PRO TIP: Help your students prepare for unmounted lessons by giving them our “textbook” for this level – the Red Level HorseSense 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 12 PDF files:

— teaching-guides_INTRO_HorseSense.pdf
— HorseSenseTeachingGuide_RED_All-Cleaned-Up.pdf
— HorseSenseTeachingGuide_RED_All-Tied-Up.pdf
— HorseSenseTeachingGuide_RED_Catch-and-Release.pdf
— HorseSenseTeachingGuide_RED_Dressed-for-Success.pdf
— HorseSenseTeachingGuide_RED_Hoof-Care.pdf
— HorseSenseTeachingGuide_RED_Horse-Safety.pdf
— HorseSenseTeachingGuide_RED_Leader-Lessons.pdf
— HorseSenseTeachingGuide_RED_Pony-Parts.pdf
— HorseSenseTeachingGuide_RED_Poop-Scoop.pdf
— HorseSenseTeachingGuide_RED_Saddle-Up.pdf
— HorseSenseTeachingGuide_RED_Whats-for-Dinner.pdf

Download file size = 2.8 MB

SKU LL-204-ZIP Categories , ,

Preview Pages


Tips for Printing and Using this PDF File

Since each teaching guide has two pages, we suggest duplex (front and back) printing. There are 44 pages in the set of guides, 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, feeding and nutrition, grooming, ground handling, hoof care, pony parts and anatomy, stable and facility management, tack, unmounted safety

Students will learn these horsey skills and concepts:

  • Know and discuss safety rules in barn, pasture and arena.
  • Describe safe riding attire; demonstrate how to correctly fit a helmet.
  • Catch horse in stall and pasture, with safe technique.
  • Demonstrate safe leading from near side, both in barn and through doorways/gates.
  • Tie horse safely, using an effective quick-release knot.
  • Demonstrate basic grooming to prepare a horse for a ride.
  • Know names and functions of basic grooming tools.
  • Demonstrate picking out hooves safely, with knowledge of reasons for basic hoof care.
  • Know parts of the horse, to include: withers, poll, croup, hock, fetlock, etc.
  • Know parts and functions of saddle and bridle.
  • Know how to store tack correctly, and give at least two reasons for cleaning tack and equipment.
  • Know basic rules for feeding.
  • Be able to identify good and bad hay, grain, and water.
  • Demonstrate mucking and re-bedding a stall, cleaning stall thoroughly and efficiently.

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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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