Ride with Authority

The final item on the Riding Level 1 scoresheet is:

15. Demonstrate overall authority, safety & confidence

This is similar and related to the last point on the Horsemanship Level1 sheet:

11. Demonstrate safety and common sense when working around horses

In your riding test you will be marked on your habits from the ground as well as mounted, so before you read further, go back and review the Horse Sense post which covers safety and common sense from the ground.

In the ring you will not only have to show good spacing and ring manners as outlined last week, but will also need to demonstrate that you are in control of your horse, not the other way around.


Here are some of the things we are looking for

  • You are able to keep your horse on the rail and make turns and changes of direction efficiently (see: Alphabet Soup and Rein-changing)
  • You are able to maintain the required pace (see: Setting the Pace)
  • You deal with disobedience promptly and humanely.  That is, a horse that does something wrong is corrected, not punished.
  • The aids are used appropriately and in the correct order: hands & legs, then voice, then whips. (See: Setting the Pace and  Stick ’em up)

And here, for your amusement, are some of the things we are hoping not to see.

(These cartoons by are Norman Thelwell. If you haven’t read A Leg at Each Corner or any other of his works, do yourself a favour and find some copies now.) 

Bottom line is we want to make sure you are safe and in control of your horse before we let you in the ring with other people and with a sword in your hand, wooden or otherwise!

This concludes the series of posts dealing with the first Riding level.  If you’d like to review them all, you can click on the Riding Level 1 tag.  For Horsemanship, see the Horsemanship Level 1 tag.  Next week I’ll start going over the Mounted Combat checklist needed to acheive Green Spur rank.

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