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Horse Matching and Lesson Levels

PFavaandollieintag2.jpgWhen it comes to campers and horses, our objectives are to:


  • Match each camper with a suitable, safe mount
  • Have the camper learn a lot and make great progress – while having a blast on horseback!

Selecting mounts for riders and placing riders into appropriate lesson groups is a three-step process.

Step 1: Camper’s Riding Assessment Form


PFrideronKiddo.jpgBefore each camp session, our instructor team use the riding assessment form you send us in your camp forms packet to select a potential Pony Farm mount for each the camper who does not bring her own horse.


The assessment form is so important for your camper – please take time to complete it thoughtfully!


The information you provide allows us to:


  • Make an educated choice about the right mount for your camper
  • Assign her to the appropriate riding group on the first morning ride

Step 2: Opening Day Evaluation


PFgymkanagettingready.jpgOn that first full day, our staff instructors and trainers evaluate each rider/horse pair. (This goes so much better if we know a lot about each rider from her riding assessment form!) They discuss their observations with the camper’s assigned instructor and with the camper herself.

We spend great deal of time to make sure of each camper’s horse match and riding group assignment. We encourage campers to let us know if they are not comfortable on their assigned horse.

We do a number of ‘re-rides’ each opening day so campers not satisfied with their initial mounts can try other appropriate horses or ponies. We want campers to be happy and feel confident with their equine partners!

Step 3: Final Evaluation of Mount and Group Assignment


PFriderandinstructor.jpgOn the second morning of camp, campers ride their selected horses in their assigned riding groups to make sure the matches of both mounts and riding abilities are correct.
If needed, we make adjustments to get it just right.

We assign each group to the instructor who has the best knowledge of the skills necessary to make good solid progression in skill building. Campers are always welcome to speak with the Camp Directors or the Head of Riding to discuss their group placement.

Our experience and knowledge may determine group placement for reasons that initially may not seem obvious. We urge both parents and campers to please remember that, although a rider may be performing specific skills at home, she may find riding to be different and more challenging at camp with a new horse, new environment, and a new instructor.

While safety is our top priority, we also want every camper to feel confident, appropriately challenged, and have a positive experience. Please be assured, our staff wants only what is best for each camper.


Pony Farm Riding Lesson Levels 1 - 6


PFconfidentriderinOC.JPGEach of the six riding levels that we use in Pony Farm lessons has a set of riding skills and horsemanship skills for riders to work on. You can download the lesson levels document (PDF), which identifies the full list of skills for each level and the prerequisites for riding at that level.


You may wish to share this document with your camper's current instructor or have it handy when you complete the riding assessment form.