Riding Lesson Program Information

Hatfield Farm – About our Riding Lessons

Lesson #1: Assessment

  • Teaching all the different brushes and their purpose
  • Introduction to the horse, how to properly halter them, lead them, and tie them up in their stall & cross ties
  • How to properly groom the horse
  • All the different tack used and the different parts including saddle pad, saddle, bridle, breastplate, tie down
  • How to properly tack a horse
  • How to mount a horse
  • Basic steering i.e. Direct reins and what direct rein means as well as transition from halt to walk and walk to halt

Lesson # 2: The Basics

  • Recap on grooming, tacking, leading, mounting
  • Basic steering, halt, walk
  • Learning to properly back up a horse
  • Learning the figure eight and the serpentine patterns at a walk
  • Learn how to properly cool down a horse after a hard ride

Lesson # 3: Using Our Legs – (note, this may take a couple of Lessons)

  • Continue with Lesson #1 & #2 skills
  • Proper riding position, one and two-handed position
  • Learning to use leg to ask the horse to move over

Lesson #4: Leading & Supporting Rein (at this point student should tack their own horse)

  • Continue with Lesson #2 & #3 skills
  • Learning to use indirect rein and understanding of leading & supporting rein, direct rein & open rein
  • Weaving through pylons using leg and indirect rein at a walk

Lesson #5: Rising Trot

  • Continue with Lesson #3 & #4 skills
  • On a lunge line with instructor’s guidance, properly learning how to do a rising trot (average 3 to 4 Lessons to learn this)

Lesson #6: Rising Trot on Rail

  • Continue with Lesson #3, #4, & #5 skills
  • Learning to position correct diagonal and changing diagonal
  • Learning to do rising trot off the lunge line and on the rail while being able to steer
  • Keep control and do basic figure eight and serpentine patterns at a rising trot

Lesson #7: Sitting Trot/Jog

  • Continue with Lesson #6
  • Learning to sit to the trot without losing control or balance
  • Slowing the horse down properly from a trot to a jog
  • Properly asking horse, turning on the forehand/turning on the hindquarters

Lesson #8: Canter/Lope

  • Continue with Lesson #7
  • Introduction to the canter/lope
  • Learning correct leads, wrong leads, and disunited leads (to be done on the lunge line)
  • Learning to feel with your seat if the horse is on the correct lead

Lesson #9: Simple Changes & Flying Changes

  • Continue with Lesson #8
  • Learning how to properly ask for a simple lead change
  • Learning how to properly ask for a flying lead change


Note: Students may be learning one specific Lesson for 3 or more rides before they are ready to move on to the next Lesson.

Common Terminology


“Inside”: This term is used to refer to the side (left or right) of the rider that is facing the center of the arena in which they are riding.


“Outside”: This term is used to refer to the side (left or right) of the rider that is facing the wall of the arena in which they are riding.


“Rail”: This is a term used for the track along the wall in a riding arena. An instructor may say to “stay on the rail” meaning the student should not leave the track.


Breastplate: A piece of equipment used to keep the saddle from sliding along the horse’s back


Tie-down: A strap that prevents a horse from throwing their head into the air while being ridden.


Reins: Long straps that attach to the horses bit and that are used for steering.


Direct Rein: This rein is used when the rider pulls straight back to their hip with either their left or right rein.


Supporting Rein: Used alongside the direct rein alongside the opposite side of the neck of the horse to support their movement towards the direct rein.


Indirect Rein: This is also known as the neck or bearing rein. This rein is pressed against a horse’s neck on the side opposite to the direction in which the horse is required to move.


Leading or Opening Rein: A rein used when the rider pulls to the side rather than straight back as to not inhibit forward motion. It is the leading rein when it is on the “inside”


Gait: The pace at which the horse is travelling. There are four main gaits: Walk, Trot, Canter and Gallop.


Jog: A slow trot specific to Western riding


Lope: A slow canter specific to Western riding


Lead (in the canter): Refers to the leg of the horse which is leading on the final beat of the canter stride in both the front and hind legs. Horses can be “on” the left or right lead as they canter or lope.