Educational resources

Riding Progression Flow Chart

1) Ground Rails: intended for riders showing in their first few horse shows or beginning their show career at a very young age. Eligibility: 1 year after age 8.  

2) Walk/Trot Cross Rails: intended for riders able to navigate small jumps over very simple courses but not ready to canter in competition or to jump modest fences. Eligibility: 1 year after age 8.  

3) Beginner Hunter and Beginner Equitation: intended for riders ready to canter and to jump small simple fences higher at 18” that may include small boxes and gates. Eligibility: 2 years.  

4) Short/Long Stirrup Hunter and Equitation, Introductory Medal: intended for riders comfortable showing at the canter jumping slightly more complicated jumps at a slightly higher height. Eligibility: two years.  

5) Children’s Pony Hunter, Pre-Child/Adult Hunter, Modified Medal, Modified Equitation: Riders ready to show in these divisions are generally able to canter and maintain correct leads, jump higher fences over somewhat more challenging courses. Pre-Child/Adult riders may not be ready to show at 3’ but are developing skills to move into those divisions.  

6) Children’s/Adult Amateur Hunter, Intermediate Medals, Intermediate Equitation: Riders showing at 3’ should be capable of handling greater riding tests and fence heights while demonstrating greater performance acuity.  

7) Junior/Amateur Owner Hunter and Equitation, Hunter Seat Medal, Jumper Talent Search: riders are expected to be advanced riders capable of significant riding challenges and fence heights.  

8) Open divisions (Schooling, Modified, Low, Performance) are available for use by junior and adult amateur riders as well as for professional riders working with green animals, higher performance animals, or for schooling purposes. These divisions are unrestricted and fill a number of needs.  

9) Green Hunter: is intended to offer advanced training opportunities for horses ready to polish their performance in preparation for the advanced Performance, Junior, Amateurs or high level Equitation divisions and classes.  

There is NO requirement for riders to move through the flow chart sequentially, nor to start at any given point. This chart is offered merely to assist those unfamiliar with Horse Shows to understand typical progression.  Riders may begin their horse show career at any level they feel is appropriate and skip to any other level as long as their eligibility to move backwards down the flow chart has been observed. As an example, a Short Stirrup rider may no longer show in the Beginner divisions.