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Alyssa 12-18-2012 04:04 PM

Beginner, Intermediate, advanced

So I've grown up riding (ages 6-17) and recently have started up riding again this past september. Anyway, Ive been reading classifieds looking at lease prospects (although that may be down the road aways,) and have noticed a lot of horses listed for intermediate or advanced riders... which seems extremely vague to me. Personally, I wouldn't want a push button horse, and don't mind working with a horse that is a bit hot or bucks. (my lessons horse wanted nothing to do with dressage work last week, bucking, small rears, bolting.. and was able to stay on and handle the situation without feeling uneasy or incapable.) but at the same time I don't use double reigns and am at training level for dressage currently, and am jumping lower heights (18") as I get my abilities back. Personally, I feel like intermediate would be a choice word, but don't know if there is some sort of specifics. How do you determine weather or not someone is a beginner? Intermediate? advance? do you personally feel there are certain milestones a rider must hit before being considered one of these/experienced? and what do you consider yourself to be?

EllyMaysLady 12-18-2012 04:32 PM

It can be very hard for people to lable any horse as "beginner safe" for many reasons, one being the obvious, horses are unpredictable animals. When i got my first horse i was told she had been beginner safe. Turns out she was much closer to an advanced level and i had less experience than you. She bucked, bolted, bit, backed and much more, frequently. But i never once regretted getting her because i learned so much from all of our mistakes, and she did too :) Now all my friends go off about how their dead broke horse is having its first behavioral issue and ive already been there, dealt with that. Me and my horse were able to learn together and that has given us a much closer bond than most. So i say if your willing to work at it and you have someone to work with and critique you, i think you could do just fine with an intermidiate horse :)

Thunderspark 12-19-2012 12:16 AM

I also got back into horses after being away from it for over 30yrs.! I had a horse as a kid, rode bareback, never used a saddle and had the time of my life. LOL then when I was 43 I got a 3yr. filly with 30 days of riding on her, WTH was I thinking! But I still have, love her to death and we've put lots of miles on the trails! She will be 11 this spring. For the first three years I rode her with a bareback pad with stirrups (balance wasn't as good as I was younger) and her/I learnt to trust each other, I have always rode her biteless too and I just started using a saddle for the first time in my life about five years ago because we do alot of challenging trail rides with lots of steep hills up/down. I have not regretted one minute of getting her, we've grown alot together and I couldn't ask for a better trail partner!
Sounds to me like you are a intermediate or experienced rider.....if you are leasing I would try them out first and see how it goes.....

DoubleS 12-19-2012 06:07 PM

Well there's two ways to look at it. You could be very skilled at riding horses, as in, perfect EQ, great with working with a well trained horse and showing in high levels, but you could not know how to handle a new greenie or a problem horse. On the other hand, you could have been riding your whole life and know how to 'work' a horse's mind and body perfectly well, sit a buck, calm a crazy horse, but you may not be the so-called 'best' rider. Which one is more advanced? I have no idea! That's why I'd rather just try out the horse and decide for myself whether he'll work for me or not. I don't like it when people put that in a description of a horse, either! :P

Saskia 12-21-2012 03:07 AM

In my mind there is beginner, intermediate, advanced, competition and professional level. It's completely irrelevant though because no one else classes that way.

Part of the trouble is that riding schools, school competitions and riding clubs often group people under the first three levels, which I think can make people think they are "ahead" of where they are. To me beginner is someone who can have basic control at walk, trot and canter and that's it. Intermediate riders have more independent seats and subtle aids while working on more advanced skills in their chosen discipline but are still riding reasonably well trained horses.

Advanced riders (to me) either ride their own horses or have the ability to ride horses that aren't "riding school broke". They not only have secure seats and subtle aids but also are competent in a range of things relevant to their discipline. They can handle a greener horse or one that is unsettled, nervous etc. They may even do basic training but not on a commercial level. This to me is perhaps the broadest level as there are many experiences people who fit into this skill bracket yet appear not to have the refinement expected by many. Huge range of skills but all should be able to ride most horses without ruining them.

Competition riders are those who are quite skilled and advanced in their field and are at a level (both fitness and skill) where they can compete against other skilled people. They should be pretty excellent at what they do and have the ability to ride a range of horses and bring out the best in them.

Professional riders/trainers are those who train horses for a living or have the skill to do so. They know how to approach horses efficiently and effectively and can pretty much handle anything. They may not have the refinement of the competition riders, but they have horsemanship skills.

I don't know why I class riders this way, but I think terms like advanced can be applied to such a huge range of people that you sort of have to add some extra ones at the end. And of course there could be cross overs - like for someone who hasn't ridden for a while they might be advanced in knowledge but intermediate in ability.

I have no idea what you are, but don't worry too much on it :-)

faye 12-21-2012 04:57 AM

begginer, intermediate and advanced are arbritrary measures.

In certain situations I am either intermediate or advanced.
I've been riding for the best part of 25yrs, I've schooled problem horses, I've broken in problem horses, I've ridden to medium level Dressage, I've jumped XC and showjumping to a decent level, I've competed at affiliated shows and won in a lot of them. I teach occasionaly. I've had lessons from top names and attended many many clinics.

Now if I attend an average riding school for a group lesson I would be put in the advanced group.

however if I went to a clinic with Carl Hester, in with several very aqdvanced dressage riders, I would at best be classed as an intermediate rider. Infact they may even go so far as to put me in a novice group.

so your best bet is to phone the advertisers and ask what sort of rider they are looking for.

Inga 12-21-2012 05:37 AM

I wouldn't just take a persons word for it when they say they are selling a horse that is "beginner safe" or "intermediate" I would want to talk to them about why they think the horse is "...." What does the horse know? Vices? Why are the people selling the horse? How does he ride (you want to see it to believe it) Then you determine if you, with the skill you have can handle that situation. Don't get hung up on words, they are just a starting point.

I think in general "beginer safe" means that anyone can ride this horse. LIkely it is quiet, and very tolerant. (this assumes the person is honest, which often they are not)

Intermediate means, this horse needs a rider who has actually ridden a horse before. Maybe knows how to post can walk trot and canter on a horse without feeling unbalanced and knows how to do this without hanging on the horses mouth.

Advanced. Green horse, knows little and needs someone with some training skills. This horse might have bad habits or just not have been taught a higher level of training yet.

Again, that is general but don't get hung up on words. Check out the individual horse to see what it actually knows or doesn't know.

blue eyed pony 12-21-2012 09:40 AM


Originally Posted by Saskia (Post 1808964)
[advanced riders] ride their own horses or have the ability to ride horses that aren't "riding school broke". They not only have secure seats and subtle aids but also are competent in a range of things relevant to their discipline. They can handle a greener horse or one that is unsettled, nervous etc. They may even do basic training but not on a commercial level.

That's, sort of, me. I'm primarily a jumpers rider, and can keep a hot/forward horse under control [I jump my gelding in a pelham but very rarely have to pick up the curb - he is nearly always on the snaffle rein - I just like to have it there just in case], adjust the stride length and rhythm, ride a horse that likes to take the long spot deep into a fence, see my spot, and I'm starting to be able to see my stride far enough out to adjust it if necessary. I can handle double reins easily enough and can jump on whatever release is necessary for the fence and the stride. My auto release needs a little work but my crest release is awesome.

I have a young horse I am in the process of breaking [groundwork until March/April-ish] and often get on a friend's young green TB mare to school her if my friend is struggling.

I ride bareback regularly, and can ride a 180-degree spin and control an attempt to take off without being in any danger of losing my seat. I walk, trot, canter and jump bareback and can ride out my gelding's occasional pigroots and crow hops no problem.

However, I do not consider myself an experienced rider, because I have one big downfall - my DRESSAGE skills, which are vital for any English rider to have, leave a lot to be desired. Sure I can ride a horse walk trot canter and have it round and through from behind [if it's built and trained for it - my gelding is trained but long and thus difficult to keep together], sit the trot for a reasonable length of time, and I know the aids for some basic laterals... but I'm no FEI competitor.

To me, levels are too subjective to really put a label on... as a rule when I'm looking for horses I look for either young and green [because 'experienced rider only' is pretty much a given with a greenie, but I have a pretty good idea of how to train the green horse for the basics of most any English discipline so if it's only its greenness that makes it unsuitable for a novice I'm ok] or something that is advertised as suitable for an intermediate level rider. I like starting my own because any problems are then my fault and I cannot blame anyone else! I am forced to look seriously at myself, instead, because if it's the "horse's" fault, it's the person who trained it's fault... ie me.

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