The Rider's Training Scale

Become Effective and Efficient! Able to Influence the horse every stride.

The main goal of the Rider's Training Scale is to learn how to manage your body while riding in order to gain the abilities and skills necessary to naturally handle and influence your own movement and that of the horse.

Reflective Horsemanship feels the training of riders should be structured by a methodical system in much the same way as horses are trained.  The horse’s scale of training, or the principles of riding theory, is known to most riders since it is the backdrop of correct training of the horse and rider combination.  

 In training order:  

  • Rhythm  
  • Suppleness  
  • Contact  
  • Impulsion  
  • Straightness  
  • Collection

On the other hand, the Rider’s Scale of Training is little known. For many years, this training system has not been sufficiently integrated into riding lessons. Today, students do not receive or understand the value of a tested and successful rider training system. Because of this, many riders have gaps in their riding abilities. This becomes apparent in the training of the horse, as the horse is a mirror image of their riders. Furthermore, there is little emphasis placed on the physiological and psychological systems of the human body.  Riders must be coached both mentally and physically; a holistic approach.  Riderology™ integrates the six principles of the rider’s training scale to produce an effective and efficient rider.   

In training order:  

  • Relaxation  
  • Balance  
  • Following the Motion  
  • Applying the Aids  
  • Coordinating the Aids  
  • Influencing the Horse

"If you don't have influence, you will never be able to lead others."  ~John C. Maxwell

Before starting each ride and as the rider progresses through the training scale, we emphasize and encourage the development of particular physical and mental skills. Riders must continually develop these talents between each riding lesson, to ensure success and deny frustration. The ability to be proficient in the following skills will allow the rider to achieve and maintain internal and external stability in all situations—in riding, as well as in life.


  • A prerequisite for learning how to ride. The rider must trust the horse and riding coach.  


  • Mind and body; not being preoccupied with emotional or other nagging issues.


  • Reduces imbalance and tension in individual areas of the body.  

Balance and Rhythm 

  • When the rider’s flexibility increases, balance and timing become more in sync and riders are better able to follow the horse’s movement.  

Strength & Stamina 

  • Building and maintaining muscular tone for the ability to direct the horse. Avoiding fatigue is vital to prevent muscular, joint and other injuries.


  • Awareness of your body’s position; movement awareness. When balance and rhythm are firmly established, the rider will be able to sensitively start influencing the horse one stride at a time.  


  • While interacting with the horse and harmoniously combining the aids needed, it is possible to achieve the final step in the rider’s scale of training; influencing the horse every stride.     

"Efficiency removes the fluff and fanfare, disregards the gimmicks and trends, and gets to the heart of the movements that create improvement and keep everything in tune."     ~Gray Cook