In 2003, we created a unique assessment system with twelve different standards that our riders progress up through. Assessments are conducted annually, within normal lesson times and each member receives a feedback sheet detailing their strengths as a rider, and points that they need to concentrate on in the future. The assessment system is designed to be easily understood by children (including the assessment feedback forms which are very child friendly) and adults – allowing for more detailed explanations/advice for our adult members. We would always advise riders that the assessments are not designed to be “sat and passed” each year and it takes on average two years to progress up a ribbon standard when you are at beginner/novice stage and up to 5 years when you reach the intermediate/ advances stages (due to the amount of content at these stages).
Our assessment system is designed to:
Ribbons are separated into beginner/novice/intermediate and advanced levels.
This is a beginner ribbon for riders who have completed 10 initial lessons. Riders of this standard should be able to hold the reins, walk and steer, understand how to hold the saddle in trot and be aware of safe procedures around a horse.
This is the second beginner standard and the work detailed above should be carried out to a higher standard, including periods of trot whilst holding the saddle. At this stage we are already looking for riders to be developing a basic correct position.
This is the first novice standard and includes work in rising trot (without holding the saddle), more steering and the ability to ride as lead file on a suitable horse / pony
This is the second novice standard and is designed for a rider who is aware of diagonals, understands how to ride a relatively deep corner and can hold a stick / change stick hand and change diagonal. This is the first canter ribbon, where riders are expected to be able to canter on a comfortable horse / pony whilst holding the saddle. Riders are expected to have completed beginner stable management / two pony club achievement badges by this stage.
The third novice standard, riders are now assessed in canter (without holding the saddle) and over trot poles. Diagonals should now be correct and a good heel position developed. This is the final assessment before jumping ribbons so the emphasis is put on security in canter. Novice stable management / four pony club achievement badges are required at this stage.
Dark Blue Ribbon
This is the first intermediate ribbon. Riders should now be fully secure in canter (with and without stirrups) and understand how to present a comfortable horse / pony to a small fence in trot and canter (with placing pole if necessary). Whilst jumping fold is not expected to be completely developed understanding and “rein give” is expected. Blue standard riders are also expected to be capable and safe of riding in open order.
Light Blue Ribbon
This is the second intermediate ribbon, by which stage we expect riders to be capable of jumping a single fence of 60cm in a good style. The jumping fold should now be developed and secure. Riders should also be capable of riding a change of canter lead through trot, working without stirrups in walk / trot / canter on turns and circles and talking a little about the horses way of going.
This is the third intermediate ribbon, by which stage riders should be capabale of riding a course of 3-4 fences of up to 80cm, both indoors and out. Riders should now be developing a good seat and beginning to ride good quality turn on the forehand and lateral work.
This is the first advanced ribbon, by which stage riders should be capable of jumping a full course of up to 90cm dealing with sharper horses well, riding over cross country obstacles and discussing a horses way of jumping and methods to improve it. Riders of this standard should be capable of competing both internally and externally in unaffiliated jumping and dressage
This is the second advanced ribbon, bronze riders are expected to be able to improve a horses way of going on the flat, carry out shoulder in traverse, discuss footfalls and paces in all four paces and discuss training plans for an individual horse. Distances are also expected to be known and rider should no be capable of jumping courses 1m plus.
This is the third advanced ribbon. Silver riders should be capable of demonstrating an excellent position whilst riding sympathetically and improving all types of horse. Riders are now expected to be capable of competing at affiliated level in all three disciplines.
This is the fourth advanced ribbon. Gold riders are expected to be knowledgable in their field and the type of member that would be a good advert for the club. Gold riders should be capable of assisting problem / green horses and riding a more educated horse to the height of its ability. Gold riders would be capable of attempting BHS stage exams (up to Stage 3) and riding within staff training sessions.
Ability to asses a horses conformation and relate it to a horse way of going. Knowledge of requirements at affilliated competitions (eg. height of BE classes). Ability to roughly age a horse (using horses teeth) and then assess its level of education in relation to age. Ability to discuss distances for specific jump exercises and to improve horses jump technique. Ability to discuss tack and its effect on horses way of going. Ability to ride lateral work and discuss the quality of classical flatwork position.