Riding Level 2

Originally posted on Academie Duello’s blog in July 2013

Now that we’ve finished with the curriculum for Horsemanship Level 2, it’s time to move on to Riding.

Riding Level 2 Overview

A Level 2 Rider is someone with a good basic seat position, capable of riding with one hand or two and switching posting diagonals, who has begun to work on canter, gaming skills, and dropping the reins or stirrups while riding.  This is someone I would feel comfortable taking on a trail ride on a steady horse, and who is ready to start jumping and cross country schooling.  Level 2 is our prerequisite for mounted archery, and for intermediate games. The skills we assess are:

1. Adjust tack from ground unassisted

2. Lead horse, mount & dismount independently

3. Exercises at halt & walk

4. Adjust reins at walk & trot; switch from two hands to one and back

5. Basic seat position: walk & trot, sitting & rising with correct diagonal

6. Drop stirrups at sitting trot and regain at walk

7. Single hand (overhand) reining at walk & trot with transitions and direction change

8. Pick up an object from a standard, carry at trot to another standard and deposit

9. Progressive transitions (halt, walk, trot)

10. Half circles & 20m circles at walk & trot

11. Canter both directions (without emphasis on position or lead)

12. Identify leads while watching another horse

13. Vaulting dismount from halt

14. Demonstrate safety and good manners in group

15. On a longe-line or lead-line, ride with reins dropped at walk & trot

The Tack Check

To assess the first item on the checklist, adjustment of tack, you will present your horse to a tack check.  The examiner will check that your tack is clean and adjusted properly.  She also may loosen a piece of tack and ask you to readjust it to the correct fit in front of her.  These are the things she will be looking for:

Rider Turnout

Although we don’t give specific marks for rider turnout at this level, you still should be dressed safely and appropriately for riding.  This includes

  • an approved helmet
  • long hair tied back and loose jewellry removed
  • your Academie Duello t-shirt
  • breeches or well-fitted trousers that cover the lower leg
  • boots with a separate heel
  • gloves are optional, but suggested

You won’t loose marks for turnout at this level, but if your clothing is unsafe for riding, you may be asked to retire from the test.

Horse Turnout

The horse should be neatly groomed, but braiding, trimming, and spotless white markings are not necessary.

Tack Adjustment

Your tack should be adjusted as if you are ready to ride, so do a last minute check before you present your horse, to make sure that your

  • Noseband is snug but not tight (1 finger should fit between noseband and horse)
  • Throatlatch is adjusted properly (4 fingers)
  • Curb chain (if present) allows 2 fingers between chain and chin groove
  • All straps are in their keepers and runners
  • Saddle pad allows wither relief
  • Girth is through saddle pad keepers
  • Saddle is properly positioned and not pressing on spine
  • Girth is tight enough (hand should fit between girth and horse, but not be able to pull girth away)
  • Stirrups are adjusted to your height.

Be prepared to explain or show how tack is adjusted, and give reasons.

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