Evaluate your Horseback Riding Ability

Is a riding holiday at Morgado Lusitano for you? How do you know if you will enjoy this school?  Here are some pointers to determine how much you will benefit from this experience:
Your first rides will demonstrate (to you and the instructor) your level of ability.  Several different horses will be prepared for you to determine your suitability for each level.  Since few clients own Lusitano's, these initial rides will help you become accustomed to their endearing qualities. 

You are not being judged, our goal is for you to have fun!  We will instruct you into high level movements, regardless of your prior experience.

  • Beginner ability guidelines.  Morgado Lusitano teaches riders of all levels, from children to first time adult riders.  We will make every effort to work within your level of expectation.  Beginner riders will have to acquire a initial level of horsemanship on our primary training horses before advancing to the stallions.  This initial work starts on the longe to introduce riding balance and also introduces the use of the reins. These lessons are not taught on the Lusitano stallions    
  • Novice ability guidelines.  In order to be considered a novice rider you MUST  have basic horsemanship skills, including mounting and dismounting unassisted from the horse.  You should have knowledge of the basic rein and leg aids.  You should have at least an aware seat, meaning you must be able to post a trot, sit a trot without bouncing excessively, and ride a short canter.  Most riders who visit here are novice riders who wish to improve their abilities and to experience horses that will help them to do so.  We WELCOME novices, and appreciate your efforts to become a better rider.  The Lusitano horses used for this level are usually very patient.  They are generally older horses who will calmly tolerate riding errors.  With an advanced rider they are very light to the aids, and astonishingly comfortable, but with a novice they can only do their best to comply with what may be clumsy and inconsistent requests.  The instructors will do their best to guide you through the learning process, but YOU must be patient, the horses know what they are doing, you may not.   Attitude is more important than aptitude at this stage.  To become a proficient novice will generally require 300 to 500 hours riding time, and on your horse at home you should be riding at least a couple of times a week.  If you have read and can relate to the books we suggest, then you are well on your way to moving to the next level. 
  • Intermediate ability.  Intermediate riders should be have a very comfortable sitting trot seat with steady hands.  You should be able to ask accurately for transitions between gaits.  You should be comfortable on either lead or diagonal and be able to ask for either.  You should be able to perform a Level Two dressage test, including the shoulder in, halfpass and flying change of lead.  Riders at this level are often surprised at how EASY advanced riding can be, the horses here are light, willing and sensitive.  Riders who visit here at this level usually spend considerable effort learning what "light" contact really means.  Humility and patience are the most important traits at this stage.  To become a proficient intermediate rider requires a substantial commitment of time and effort, most students at this level find that riding every day is necessary.  Generally requires 500 to 2000 hours riding time. 
  • Advanced ability.  The only way to become an advanced rider is to totally commit to the art, either as a working student or full time horse rider as your profession.  Even then, for some, years of riding does not translate to an "Advanced" level!  It takes superior intellectual knowledge, great skill, and an indefinable quality called "feel", which requires untold thousands of hours on horseback to achieve.  To be considered an advanced rider you should be accurately riding Third Level dressage tests.  Riders with advanced abilities will be instructed on how to use each horse to their full potential and are welcome to participate at all levels. They may be offered mounts that are younger and more spirited as well as other more refined and challenging horses.  If you have begun down this advanced journey, the stallions at Morgado will help you to find your "feel".      
  • Do you ride in English or Western tack?  If you ride only in Western tack you may find the adjustment to English tack is too great to overcome in one week.  Perhaps some lessons at your local facility can prepare you for this vacation.  
  • Do you ride often?  If you only ride once a week (or less) you may find that several lessons a day will take a toll on you physically.  However, you can schedule only one riding lesson a day and use the other time to observe, read, or just enjoy the fellowship of the instructors and students.  To receive the most benefit, you can prepare by riding several times a week at your barn.
  • How do you normally ride?  Do you only ride on trails?  All of the riding will be in controlled conditions of an arena, and even if this is unusual for you, you will find the personal instruction makes it easy to learn the patterns of dressage.
  • Are you prepared to learn? While this is a holiday, it is also going to require a level of personal effort for you to benefit.  If you can prepare by reading appropriate books or take some similar instruction at home, the benefits of riding our trained horses will be greater.  IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to train a novice into an intermediate in one week!  What we can offer are the horses and instructors who will guide you to feel what the next level might be like if you have the dedication and perseverance to spend the necessary hours to get there.   
  • Maximum weight.  Riders cannot exceed 200 pounds (91kg).
  • Age  Riders of ALL AGES participate here!  Many of our clients have gotten into horses at an older age (45+) and now have the time, income and desire to pursue it with more finesse.  Morgado Lusitano has something to offer everyone.

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Copyright 2000/14 RideinPortugal.com Last modified: November 06, 2014

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