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English Learn to Ride Program


Resources (click here)  

English Rider Handbook 9-10 (click here)  


 New long-term athlete development (LTED) reference guides specific to each discipline:

icon LTED for Dressage
icon LTED for Eventing
icon LTED for Hunter/Jumper

The EC Learn to Ride program was developed for individuals who wish to learn safe horsemanship and practices. The purpose of this program is to produce safe and knowledgeable horseman and to assist in the development of future instructors and coaches.

The Rider Level 1-10 program is a national program with national standards that rewards all riders, recreational to competitive, for advancing their learning with Certificates of Achievement and badges. This program provides riders and coaches with an attainable progression throughout the rider level framework. In addition, encourages all riders to ride, learn and enjoy the sport of riding while providing guidelines to coaches and instructors.

Rider Level 1-3 program will still be recognized and equivalences have been established to assist riders in transitioning into the Rider Level 1-10 program.

 These are:

 Old Rider Level 1  New Rider Level 2
 Old Rider Level 2  New Rider Level 6
 Old Rider Level 3   New Rider Level 8

Please note that these equivalencies are set only as a guide for riders and coaches to assist with placement in the Rider Level 1-10 program. It is at the discretion of the candidate's coach and evaluator to determine the appropriate competency level with in this framework.  

The Rider Level 1-10 program has been tailored to further assist those riders who seek to further their riding skills on the flat but who may not wish to continue over fences. Candidates will have the option at Rider Level 3 to either take the full riding phase or only the flat section. This option is continued through Rider Level 4-8.

**Candidates who wish to attain their Equine Canada NCCP Instructor certification must have successfully passed either the full riding OR the flat section of Rider 6.

**Candidates who wish to attain their Equine Canada NCCP Coaching certification must successfully complete the full riding sections at all levels.

Required Rider Level 1-10 candidate resources available to assist in a candidate's preparation for a particular level of evaluation include:

All resources listed below are available through Equine Canada or your Provincial Equestrian Federation

  • Rider Level 1-10 Candidate CD
  • Equine Canada English Rider Handbook Levels 1-2, 3-6 & 7-8, 9-10
  • Stable Management in Canada

To evaluate in the Rider Level 1-10 program all evaluators must be active Equine Canada NCCP certified Instructors or Coaches.

Prior to conducting an exam all evaluators must have had a full overview of the Rider Level 1-10 program presented to them by their Provincial Equestrian Federation and be familiar with the content which appears on the Equine Canada Rider Level 1-10 Evaluator CD. Failure to do so in advance of an examination date may jeopardize a candidate's results. Please contact your Provincial Equestrian Federation for additional information on clinics in your region.

Whom May Evaluate English Rider Levels

Official evaluator forms for Rider Level evaluations can be obtained from the local Provincial Equestrian Federation. All results from Rider Level examinations must be submitted to the Provincial Equestrian Federation on the official evaluator forms received by the Provincial Equestrian Federation.

Evaluator forms will only be released by the Provincial Equestrian Federation to active Instructors and Coaches who are eligible to evaluate at a particular level.

Rider Level 1-10 evaluator fees should charged at an evaluator's regular lesson rate. Additional expenses may be incurred by the evaluator which may increase the total cost such as mileage, hotel, etc.

Evaluators should review the results of an evaluation with the individual candidates at the conclusion of the evaluation day. However, please note that all English Rider evaluation results are to be returned to the Provincial Equestrian Federation. Not to the candidate.

Submitting results - all Rider Level 1-10 forms are to be submitted to the Provincial Equestrian Federation by the evaluator. These forms must include: candidates mailing address, phone number, PSO membership number or membership application with appropriate administration fee.

Certificates and badges will be mailed directly from the Provincial Equestrian Federation to all successful English Rider Level candidates.

English Rider Level 1-10 Program- an overview by level
Rider Level 1

Riders at Level 1 should be in the beginning stages of their Equestrian development. At the Rider Level 1, riders acquire the basics of riding and demonstrate of:

  • good position,
  • knowledge of "aids" and
  • emphasize "safe" habits

Rider Level 2

Riders at Level 2 will develop their skills and knowledge acquired during Rider Level 1. At this level the rider will become more independent in both their riding and in their stable management skills.

Rider Level 3

Riders at Level 3 will develop stability, control and will now demonstrate the ability to ride independently.
Riders at Level 3 are now expected to ride an individual flat test and complete a cross-rail jumping course.

Rider Level 4

At this level, riders are starting to co-ordinate the use of the independent aids i.e. leg being used to support hand contact. The Riders must be able to recognize an incorrect lead within a few steps and correct it without delay. The riders at this level must demonstrate knowledge of arena rules as required.

Riders are expected to complete a flat test and ride jumps at a height of 2' (0.6m).

Rider Level 5

Riders at Level 5 should have a solid awareness of a horse and an ability to maintain rhythm and relaxation. At this level non-progressive transitions are introduced. Examples of non-progressive transitions included walk to canter and halt to trot.
Riders at this level will be jumping fences at a height of 2'3" (0.7m) in addition to a flat test.

Rider Level 6

Riders at Level 6 will demonstrate the ability to ride forward from leg to hand. They will be able to ride the horse forward with impulsion (energy) while maintaining rhythm, regularity and evenness of pace.

Riders at Level 6 will complete a flat test and jump fences at a height of 2'6" (0.8m).

Rider Level 7

Riders at Level 7 ride with consistent contact supported by the leg maintaining rhythm, suppleness contact and impulsion. The Rider at Level 7 is now aware of lateral and longitudinal suppleness and appropriate suppling exercises. They can lengthen and shorten stride at trot.

Riders at Level 7 will complete a flat test and jump fences at a height of 2'9" (0.88m).

Rider Level 8

Riders at Level 8 are competent rider with sound equitation skills. The Rider 8 is able to recognize "true" quality of movement. The Rider 8 is beginning to ride the horse with impulsion and engagement. They can achieve consistent bend and straightness as required. The Rider Level 8 is able to identify basic training problems and offer options for their correction.

Over fences, the Rider 8 will complete a flat test and jump a medal type courses of 2'9" (0.88m) - 3' (0.91m). The Rider Level 8 will be able to influence the horse in a positive fashion and improve his way of going.

Rider Level 9 & 10

Candidates for Rider 9 have realized that their skill progression has been achieved by doing, and now have developed their ability to assimilate information by exposure to various training opportunities. They can now apply it to their own practical application in the riding, training and care of their horses.

In the jumping module, candidates will ride a predetermined medal style course set at 3'3"-3'6" (1.0-1.10M). For the Dressage module, the test will be a Third Level. Candidates taking the Eventing module will be expected to ride at the Training Level.


The Rider 10 will be required to perform all of the requirements of the Rider 9. However, the Rider 10 will be evaluated on their ability to ride three unfamiliar horses at the evaluation.