Horseback Riding Clinics

Advanced Riding Skills

Our riding clinics are intensive sessions, normally centered on one or two core subjects. Most clinics include two riding lessons per day and un-mounted study sessions, which include discussions, video material, books, charts, and handouts. We offer a variety of clinics, including rider's seat development, flatwork for jumpers and hunters, and dressage through the fourth level.



Dressage Clinics


Developing the Riders Seat –Basic

This clinic can be for the beginner rider who really wants to start out right by concentrating on their personal balance while being lunged on a well-schooled horse that will allow them to make their mistakes. It can also be for the rider who has become aware that they do not have the right control of either their horse or their body and they want to work on improving their core balance. We spend 30 to 45 minutes per lesson on the lunge line and the rest of the riding lesson with school figures and riding exercises that promote awareness of the riders balance. Topics and exercises include:

Trot work on the lunge line:

  • Rider works on the sitting trot without stirrups
  • Rider works on the sitting trot without reins
  • Rider learns exercises that will create coordination of their seat, hands, and legs

Canter work on the lunge line – finding the riders balance at canter with or without stirrups:

  • Vertical alignment
  • Lateral alignment
  • Jumping alignment

Un-mounted lessons use written materials and videotapes to support riding lessons on the above subjects.

More development of the riders Seat, Hands and Leg aids:

After riders have found their balance in rising and sitting trot, the emphasis in training should be to teach the rider the proper steering techniques that will result in better balance for the horse. Lack of proper techniques result in horses that actually lose their balance in tighter corners because they are too straight through their body for the turns, falling in and out of turns and circles by riders that over or under-steer their horses.  Topics and exercises include:

The aiding systems – a complete understanding of the different aiding systems used to get horses to go straight, flex at the poll, or bend

  • Parallel aiding
  • Diagonal aiding
  • Alternate leg aiding within the framework of the diagonal or parallel aiding system
  • More development of the Rider's Seat, Hands, and Leg aids then learn the riding exercises that support the parallel and diagonal aids, otherwise known as The school figures.

Un-mounted lessons use written materials and videotapes to give visual back up for the explanation of the aiding systems and the exercises that support them.



Flatwork for hunters and jumpers

We are finding that our hunter type riders are not getting enough detail in their lessons at home to give them the control over their horses that they really desire.  It is an easy fix just by giving the riders more tools to ride with.  By the time you finish this clinic, you should have many more exercises you can do with your horses at home to make them more flexible and easier to ride.  The proof will be in the jumping.  Topics and exercises include:

Riding Lessons:

  • Exercises that allow you to practice the aiding systems making you more efficient with your aids.
  • Exercises that teach you how to make the horse more flexible and efficient with his body.
  • Gymnastic jumping exercises that integrate the principals of both flatwork and jumping exercises.

Un-mounted lessons

  • Introduction to what flatwork really is and what the results should be for the jumping horse
  • Study of the aiding systems with written materials and videotapes to back up the riding lessons. 


Training Level

This clinic is designed to make sure that the first part of your basic training is well understood, that you are communicating with your horse with a proper seat, and that you understand the principals involved in walk, trot, and canter.  Topics and exercises include:

Un-mounted lessons – Written materials and videotapes to support all of the exercises used to prepare a finished training level horse for pleasure or show.

Riding lessons: how to get an 8 on these movements:

  • The 20 meter circle and various circle exercises
  • The free walk on the long rein
  • All appropriate serpentines
  • The changes of direction
  • Canter exercises
  • Ride a training level test


First Level

This clinic is designed to further your training in the horse’s basic training. At first level we make a higher demand on the horse’s balance than we did at training level. We must teach him more about flexion in the poll and jaw; he has to be a more flexible horse to show first level, or go on to second level. Our solid first level horse should have finished up with his basic training by the time we start second level.  Topics and exercises include:

Un-mounted lessons – Written materials and videotapes to support all of the first level exercises.

Riding lessons:

  • All circle exercises, 15 and 10 meter
  • Introduction to leg yield and all leg yield exercises
  • Introduction to lengthen stride in trot
  • All changes of direction – including half circle reverse and half circle in reverse
  • Canter- 15 meter circles, across the diagonal of the arena, lengthened canter staying in balance
  • Serpentines
  • Ride a first level test


Lateral Movements

The lateral Movements Clinic is designed to teach the details of each lateral movement and what makes the difference in the performance as to whether it is poor or an outstanding movement.  Subjects covered will be:

  • Leg-Yield
  • Shoulder-In
  • Traverse
  • Renverse
  • Half-Pass

Riders will have un-mounted lessons to understand the details and watch videos of proficient riders then go to the arena and begin learning each new movement to the level of their best abilities.  This clinic is best taught over a minimum of two days.  An Introductory to Lateral Movement Clinic can be taught in one day.


Jumping Clinic

The jumping clinic is designed to give riders a better understanding of how to keep their own balance while approaching and jumping fences, as well as, learning how to help the horse keep his balance. It is important to study the jumping position and understand the cause and effect of what can happen if you don't keep your body in a correct posture over fences. It is equally important to help the horse's posture for staying straight and connected to the rider's aids.

By covering the subjects listed below a two or three day clinic can yield extremely good results. There is great magic in the un-mounted lessons followed by riding again. It makes the subject matter easier to assimilate. Below are subjects that we cover in a jumping clinic.

  • Developing the technique for proper upper body control through the establishment of a strong base of support (i.e. work without stirrups, lunging lessons, proper leg position).
  • Confidence building through simple courses, low gymnastics and easy cross country excursions.
  • How to ride a course. The basics of jumping a course, finding distances, counting strides, the elements of a flying lead change.
  • How dressage can improve your jumping. Teaching forward movement, straightness and balance on the flat will improve form over fences.
  • Connecting your horse from the hind legs, through the back to bit will prevent most of resistance problems that horses have with jumping.  Learning how to do that will take you to a whole new level of riding.
  • Un-mounted sessions on Rules for Hunters, Jumpers, Eventers and Fox Hunters. Proper tack and dress for formal and informal events. Braiding manes and tails. Horse management, anatomy, vet care. Conditioning for an event.


Natural Horseback Riding Clinics

Our goal for teaching Natural horsemanship is to give people the skills to build trust and understanding with their equine partners. We give detailed instruction on how to use the exercises and tools offered by the Natural Horsemanship Training programs.  We have studied and impediment the Cowboy gurus, Clinton Anderson and his Method, Dennis Reis, Pat Parelli and Julie Goodnight (Cowgirl).  We can offer this fabulous information in a one, two or three day clinic using riding and un-mounted classes to teach control and respect in horses.  Listed below are the exercises we teach in a two day clinic:

Backing up - There are at least six different exercises used to teach the horse to back up on command.  This is one of the most important exercises used toward gaining control and respect.

Yield the Haunches – Stage One- an exercise used to teach the horse how to move his feet where you want them to go.  He yields his haunches away from the handler’s aid circling around his forehand.  Once transferred to the saddle, this exercise is known as “turn around the forehand” in dressage and jumping disciplines, and “yield the haunches” in the western discipline.

Yield the Shoulders – the horse moves his shoulders away from the signal of the handler’s hand, turning his shoulders and his body around the haunches.  This movement is known as “turn around the haunches” in dressage and jumping.  In the western discipline, “yield the shoulders” becomes the foundation exercise for the horse to learn spins for reining and cutting.

 Riding Exercises:

  • Yield the Poll and the jaw
  • Backing up
  • Yield the haunches
  • Yield the shoulders

Putting it all together: Moving forwards, backwards, left and right – the keys to controlling the horse under saddle.