WHAT IS TROOP?
Troops are based upon different riding levels, ranging from Level 1A through Level 6. The beginner level Troops rarely consist of more than four riders at a time, often aided by assistant instructors, walkers and lead riders. Once the riders are able to efficiently control their horses, the number of riders in a Troop increases to six.
Most riders new to Troop will be initially evaluated and the evaluation will not only help the parties involved determine the Troop level, but also help us decide which horses and Instructors would benefit this rider the most.
During the last Troop session, the Instructor will determine whether a rider is ready to move up to the next Troop level.
WHEN IS TROOP OFFERED?
Troop is 6 to 8 weeks in length and offered during the following months:
- Winter Troop: January – February
- Early Spring Troop: March – April
- Late Spring Troop: May -June
- Summer Troop: July – August
- Early Fall Troop: September – October
- Late Fall Troop: November – December
HOW DO I REGISTER FOR A TROOP PROGRAM?
Visit to our forms page for all the latest troop registration forms.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF RIDING IN TROOP?
The Equestrian Learning Pie attributes equal importance to both private and group instruction. In Troop, participants are able to:
- Witness the performance of their peers
- Assimilate the good points while understanding the not so good ones
- Feel less self-conscious and less pressure than in a private lesson
- Get to ride different horses, accelerating the learning process
- Benefit from a regular, structured schedule
- Troop is also the most affordable way to ride at SHS!
WHAT ARE THE RULES THAT APPLY TO TROOP?
- Riders must arrive 10-15 minutes before Troop starts. Once the group has started the session, late comers may not be able to join in
- If a session is missed because due to tardiness or personal reasons, that session may not be made up
- There are Badges associated with moving from one Troop level up to the next. These Badges are either pre-scheduled by the Stables, or, in case of bad weather, up to two indoor Badges per semester will be substituted for the riding lesson
- It is quite normal to remain at the same Troop Level for several semesters while mastering skills required to move up
WHAT ARE THE PROGRESSIVE GOALS OF EACH LEVEL?
PEP Troop (5-7y.o.)
Geared as a sequel to PEP, this entire lesson is on horseback with nearby walkers helping riders follow the Instructor’s prompts. Safe and entertaining!
Level 1 Progressive Goals
Can safely handle and control the horse while on the ground and astride; pay attention to the Instructor, focus and follow directions and demonstrate the “1,2,3” method of picking up, holding, and adjusting reins. Understand and perform Equisthenics; check and tighten the girth and adjust proper stirrup length from the ground; mount with a mounting block or leg-up; master the correct walking position; and maintain the proper distance in the ring.
As Level 1 progresses: Learn to post the trot; lead a Level 1 horse to the ring without assistance; ask a horse to stop, walk, trot, and turn; learn to adjust stirrups while mounted; hold and use a crop; lengthen and adjust reins at the walk and trot; trot with rhythm and consistency; learn to check and change diagonals; practice the two-point position at the walk & trot.
Level 2 Progressive Goals
Learn to properly groom and tack up; lead horse to ring, adjust stirrups and girth; maintain the trot an entire ring length; correct wrong diagonals; demonstrate improved position at the walk and trot; As Level 2 progresses: Know how to cool off a horse; change diagonals without prompts; perform half-voltes, half-schools and diagonal changes; perform 20 meter circles; learn ring letters; learn the sitting trot without stirrups; stop, walk, turn and control the horse bareback.
Level 3 Progressive Goals
Can groom, tack, mount & walk the rail without instruction. Smoothly complete transitions and consistently maintain requested gait. Learn and demonstrate a proper half-halt; able to change direction at the posting trot and automatically change diagonals as needed. Able to walk and trot figure-8s and use ring wisely. Show proficiency at the walk and trot with or without stirrups, sitting or posting, with or without saddle; able to ask for the canter and maintain pace for two laps. Can recognize lead and perform a simple lead change.
As Level 3 progresses: Confident trotting over single 18” cross rails in a straight line while maintaining a rhythmic trot. Willing to confidently ride horses levels 1-3. Can demonstrate a proper half-halt. Can ride a smooth posting trot with heels down, legs and hands quiet, body tall, and on the correct diagonal; able to adjust speed at any gait using half-halts; able to post the trot 3 full laps without stirrups and addressing diagonals; able to change from half-seat to full-seat while cantering; become secure at the canter and demonstrate it by cantering on the lunge line without holding on to the reins or to the saddle for approximately one minute. Able to pass other horses in the ring, allowing sufficient spacing, and alerting the other rider with “inside/outside”; canter a single vertical. Able to ask horse to lengthen and collect at the walk & trot, know the difference between working, collected and extended gaits. Begin to understand movement of the horse and start to establish the correct diagonal without looking; able to count strides at the canter while working over small verticals.
Level 4 progressive goals
Meets the goals of all prior levels. Able to post the trot bareback 5 laps. Understands leg yields and is able to correctly execute. Consistently canters on the correct lead without breaking. Can demonstrate a proper simple lead change (canter-trot-canter). Uses seat aids appropriately, especially during sitting trot, half-halts and transitions. Is able to collect (in full seat) and extend (in half seat) at the canter. Able to canter a circle without breaking. Consistently demonstrates proper two-point position over jumps. Learns, understands and applies the Jumping Theory (Pace-Ask-Line-Ask-Line. Can trot in, canter out 8 jumps (outside & diagonal lines) to complete a full course.
Level 5 Progressive Goals
Meet the goals of all prior levels. Understands and applies correct aids at the walk, trot, canter and halt. Maintains correct position and control at the walk, trot and canter. Consistently picks up the correct diagonal from the walk or sitting trot without being prompted. Able to feel leads and correct them immediately, bend, and put the horse on the bit at all gaits. Can show groom, braid, use clippers, apply bandages, pick hooves and help teach these to lower level riders. Can properly perform upward and downward transitions including walk-canter. Can pick up a canter from the walk, without using a corner. Is able to collect and extend horse at all gaits. Is confident and has correct position over a course of verticals up to 2’3”.
Level 6 Progressive Goals
Correct diagonal and leads immediately and without looking. Feel confident jumping fences up to 3’. Is able to complete a course of 2’6”- 2’9 verticals, judging correct distances, and employing simple or flying lead changes without instruction. Able to hand gallop a horse around the track safely and in control. Can perform any First Level dressage test with a minimum score of 70%. Can perform a Novice Level cross-country course clean or a Training Level cross-country course with no more than one refusal. Is able and willing to teach any Badge taught at the farm and can teach or assist with the teaching of beginner riders. Demonstrate ability to work with green or young horses patiently and confidently; can ride any horse used in the program; can maintain control, calm and consistency in correcting a green or evading horse. Able to bend a horse, use lateral aids and ask a horse to come onto the bit at all gaits. Understand and apply the free walk, as well as working, extended and collected walk, trot, and canter. Able to spot and correct a wrong lead from the first foot placement. Understand and apply turn on the haunches / forehand and ride a shoulder in / haunches in. Able to hold the counter canter in a serpentine and figure of 8. Able to place/perform well in a Training Level combined training event.