Horse Skills and Training Levels

Here at South Molton, we believe in results based training and full disclosure of our horses skills throughout all stages of their development.

We offer horses for sale that have achieved one or more of the following skill levels:

Additionally we offer young up and comers from our talent pipeline, these are 3-4 year old that are gentle with all the basic ground skills and ready for training under saddle. These horses have completed all three of our pre-saddle training levels.

Below is an overview of each level of training starting with weanling foals through Saddle 3.

Weanling gentling

Yearling to 3 photoThe goal at this level is to assess and develop their level of trust and evaluate their physical conformation and natural potential. Training includes an introduction to halter training, grooming, hoof care, oral worming, and learning to enjoy human contact.

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Yearling to 3 Years of age

From yearlings until they are admitted into the saddle training program, the horses are primarily kept in a herd setting. During this time they develop physically as well as mentally.

Priority is placed on assessing the level of trust they have developed in humans, their natural level of fear and how they respond to it.

Training includes practicing catching, leading and tying skills, de-worming, hoof trimming, they spend time in box stalls and tie stall and learn to relax out of the heard setting. This training allows the horse to incorporate human contact as a natural part of the life and allows us the opportunity to get to know them.

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Pre-Rider Training

Here we teach the horse the ground skills necessary for them to be successfully trained and used as a pleasure or performance horse.

These skills include but are not limited to rope training, round pen, lunging, driving, tacking and trailer loading.

This training and assessment is a required prerequisite for horses to enter training for Saddle 1 it is the expectation that the horse demonstrates a solid foundation of ground skills and makes an effort to cooperate with the trainer with each task.

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Saddle 1: Elementary Saddle

Here we teach the horse the basics of carrying a rider in a saddle.

For the horse to pass this stage and move on to the next category, they must consistently demonstrate an understanding of riding basics and willingly cooperate with the trainer. The horse must be at least 3 years of age and consistently demonstrate safe behaviour.

Skills assessed in this category include but are not limited to mounting and dismounting, starting, turning both directions, stopping, backing, traveling and transitioning at walk, trot, and lope.

Trained Saddle 2 Horses have vast experienceIn general, at the completion of this stage the horse is suitable to be safely ridden by an experienced rider capable of continuing the horses training and development.

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Saddle 2: Experienced Saddle

The focus of this stage is experience and responsiveness.

For the horse to pass this training stage they must have a minimum of 350 safe riding miles in a variety of environments be at least 4 years of age and consistently demonstrate safe behaviour.

Training at this level includes improving the horse's responsiveness to the rider’s hand, leg and voice cues, as well as, developing vertical and lateral flexion. Practicing smoother and quicker transitions through the gaits, and reducing fear reactions while being ridden or handled. Horses at this level should approach new situations willingly when encouraged by the rider.

In general, at the completion of this stage the horse is suitable for an experienced or intermediate rider for recreation or to train for a specific discipline. Beginner riders would also be able to use the horse to learn on with an experienced coach/trainer.

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Saddle 3: Advanced Saddle

Level Three Trained HorseThis stage is about gaining a finer level of harmony and confidence with the rider. At this stage the horse has mastered numerous foundation skills that prepare them for a beginner rider to learn with or train in a discipline of their choice.

To be Saddle 3 the horse must have a minimum of 750 safe riding miles that includes at least 2 trail rides off premise, be at least 5 years of age and consistently demonstrated safe behavior.

Training for Saddle 3 includes collection, lead changes, neck reining and side passing. The focus of the training is to get the horse to readily yielded to the rider’s cues and teach them to move in a collected, controlled manner at all times with minimal effort from the rider.

At the completion of this stage the horse is suitable for anyone from beginner to advanced looking to enjoy a well trained to compete in a discipline or pleasure riding setting.

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