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Intermediate Horsemanship Syllabus sample essay

Course Objectives:

This course is designed to be a laboratory class giving students maximal opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with horses. This is a continuation of ADSC 2500L (Beginning Horsemanship) and will go into greater detail of advanced concepts regarding riding, training, and handling horses. This class assumes that students have a basic understanding of rider position. This class will focus on going into more detail on rider influence of the horse and training techniques for different disciplines.


ADSC 2500L or a good basic mastery of correct riding position and basic riding skills. Riders should be able to catch, groom, and saddle their horses independently, as well as mount from the ground unassisted. Riders should also be able to ride comfortably at a walk, trot (jog), or canter (lope) in order to be comfortable performing exercises involved in the class.

Physical requirements:

This class involves physical activity and inherent risk associated with working with horses. While we do everything possible to ensure safety of students, there is always a risk of being injured while riding. In order to participate in this class, you will be required to sign a waiver releasing UGA of all liability associated with any injury you may sustain while participating in the class. I am not a doctor and cannot tell you what you are medically or physically capable of doing based on pre-existing conditions, physical fitness, etc. If you have concerns as to whether you can safely participate, please see a licensed health care physician prior to participating in this class. At the very minimum, students will be required to saddle horses unassisted (requiring you to lift approximately 30 lbs over head) and be able to mount unassisted from the ground.


Long pants and boots with heels are required each day in order to participate. Approved helmets are mandatory but will be provided. All other equipment will be provided. If you choose to bring your own saddle, please do not leave it at the Arena—we cannot be responsible for lost or damaged equipment. Please recognize that you are responsible for ensuring the safety and functionality of any equipment you choose to bring to use.


There is no required text for this class. I will often copy chapters from Centered Riding by Sally Swift (copyright 1985) as well as excerpts from related books, magazines, and journals. A list of tentative handouts for each week is provided on the syllabus.

Schedule: (This is a tentative list of topics. Topics may be added or deleted as necessary to benefit the course)

Week 1 Jan 7-11: Introduction

Week 2 Jan 14-18: Basic position, correct use of hands; practice bending, transitions, canter departures; drill team exercises at the walk, trot, and canter

“Basic Horsemanship Required for Training Horses”, “Half Halt How To”, “Half Halt” in Centered Riding

Week 3 Jan 21-25: Learning collection and developing self carriage in horses, discussion of training aids such as martingales, draw reins, side reins, and types of bits; exercise: barrel patterns to improve turns

“Bitting and Driving”, “Circles and Turns”, “Borrow A Trainer-Correct Bends on Curves and Squares”, “The Perfect Turn, Parts 2&3”

Week 4 Jan 28-Feb 1: Simple lead changes, work on correct bending, movement of hind end and front end of horse; exercises: barrel patterns and serpentines through cones

“Suppling the Horse”

Week 5 Feb 4-8: Riding for accuracy & developing response time; exercises: continuation of barrel patterns and serpentines as well as pattern work with transitions, straight lines, circles, etc.

Week 6 Feb 11-15: Extending and shortening the stride, learning stride control using poles, emphasis on self carriage and pace control

“Walk and the Following Seat”, “Lengthening Stride”, “Borrow a Trainer-Extending the lope and slowing back down”, “”Jarring Jog”

Week 7 Feb 18-22: Collection and extension, use of poles, pole courses

“Building Stronger Basics–BAR—Simple Changes on Course”

MIDTERM—FEB 20/21—covers handouts thru week 6

Week 8 Feb 25-Mar 1: Controlling the bend and stride of the horse using poles; pole exercises on circle

Week 9 Mar 4-8: Flying lead changes

“Flying Change of Lead—Presentation”

Week 10 Spring Break—March 11-15

Week 11 Mar 18-22: Counter canter and balance

“Chapter 10—Counter Canter”, “Confirm that Counter Canter”

Week 12 Mar 25-29: Counter canter; patterns incorporating canter, bending, counter canter Week 13 Apr 1-5: Learning lateral movements, moving parts independently

“Lateral Work”, “Always a Pleasure”

Week 14 Apr 8-12: Teaching horses lateral movements and pivots Week 15 Apr 15-19: Trail courses to improve control
Week 16 Apr 22-26: Practice day
April 29—Last day of class

Final Exam:
M/W section: Wednesday, May 1, 8:00-11:00 am
T/H section: Thursday, May 2, 12:00-3:00 pm

Participation and progress25%*
Final Project25%

* will be determined by a % of days in class (i.e. no absences = 100%); lateness or non-participation will count as an absence for the day; participation may at times include riding tests. Absences may be excused for medical or school related activities. In the event of an excused absence, these days will count neither for nor against your attendance grade. ***More than 5 absences (excused or unexcused) will result in a failing grade for the course. Final Project: Video will be taken during different portions of the course. You will write a paper to evaluate your riding. Paper should be a minimum of 2-3 pgs single spaced in length.

Papers should include the following: analysis of your riding strengths and weaknesses, analysis of what skills you have improved upon, analysis of your position and effectiveness as a rider including areas which you are strong and areas that you need to improve, specific examples (i.e., people in the class) who exemplify particularly desirable riding skills that should be emulated (e.g., “Mary is particularly effective at controlling her horse’s pace using little hand movement”—perhaps this is due to correct position, stability of seat, etc. These are areas you can expand upon), analysis of the exercises done in class as to their effectiveness in improving your riding skills, other exercises you feel you should be doing to improve your riding techniques.

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