Categorizing rider skill levels is far from a science, but the following will give you an idea of how you might view the different levels. Most people will find that you'll fall somewhere between these levels:
If you have ridden very little or you ride infrequently (i.e. a few times a year) you would consider yourself a beginner rider. You may not yet have mastered your balance and often have difficulty moving in synch with your horse ( you bounce or wobble a lot). You mainly ride at the walk, and trot or gait infrequently. You may feel like a passenger, rather than an active participant. A beginner rider often lacks confidence around and on horses.
We encourage beginner riders to take lessons and put in the riding time to reach the advanced beginner level. Our horses are gentle and well trained, and a number of them may be perfect for some beginners, but young horses are often not suitable for the true beginner simply because the young horse may lack confidence and require yours.
When you are an advanced beginner rider, you understand the basics of horsemanship and you are starting to build your skills. You are confident at the walk and trot, or quick gait (flat walk, slow rack) in the arena and out on the trail. You are starting to get more in synch with the horse ( you bounce or wobble less) and to become a more active participant. You still tend to use mainly your reins (rather than your seat and legs) to communicate with their horse.
We like to match advanced beginner riders with horses that are quiet, tolerant ( some bouncing, wobbling, and heavy hands doesn’t upset them, less impulsive (more whoa than go), and less sensitive ( they won't take your inadvertent weight shift as a cue to turn or accelerate).
An intermediate rider has good balance, an independent seat, and quiet hands. You have ridden a lot and are confident at the walk, trot, fast gait (running walk, fast rack) and canter in the arena and out on the trail. You are able to communicate with your horse (go, stop, turn, etc.) using your seat and legs, and do not rely solely on your reins. When using your reins, you have what are described as "soft" hands. You are able to ride a variety of different horses.
We can match intermediate riders with horses that have a bit more energy, and sensitivity.
An advanced rider rides with optimal balance between their seat, legs, and hands. You are in synch with your horse and can communicate with subtlety. You understand when to be soft and when to be firm. You can handle less confident and sensitive horses.
We can match advanced riders with horses that require more knowledge and riding skill.