Class Description

This course offers an introduction to horsemanship and horseback riding. Students will follow the beginner lesson program which includes basic riding goals, horse care and safety. This program was created for those with limited horse experience who wish to broaden their knowledge. Students who feel they have mastered the basics are welcome to contact us and discuss our more advanced lesson programs.

Students will begin by learning how to safely work around equines, followed by how to properly care for and ride their horses. At the end of the course, students will receive a certification stating they have mastered the first level of equestrianism, confirming they are able to safely and competently care for, mount and ride their horses. We offer continuing education lessons to all class graduates.

Participants must not weigh more than 200 lbs. Those who exceed the maximum weight limit may join us for non-mounted lessons only. Students must be 10 years-of-age or older and in good health.

Fee includes two hours of horse-based learning, incorporating both time on the horse and ground lessons. A riding helmet will be provided. Participants must wear closed, hard-soled shoes with a 1 inch heel and long pants.

Participants may purchase the United States Pony Club Manual for an additional $20.00 fee.

Class Schedule

Session #1: Mondays, March 25- April 23, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Session #2: Mondays, March 25- April 23 7:00- 9:00 p.m. 

Additional Class Information

After completion, students will be able to:

On the Ground

  1. Lead a horse
  2. Run up stirrups
  3. Loosen girth

On the Horse

  1. Mounts correctly (can be assisted)
  2. Holds reins correctly
  3. Walk and halt with control
  4. Correct body position at halt and walk
  5. Holds two-point position at halt and walk
  6. Can post at walk
  7. Steers at walk
  8. Can ride a circle at the end of the arena
  9. Can change directions at walk through a half circle
  10. Can trot with assistance
  11. Can correct body position when asked
  12. Dismounts correctly (can be assisted)

Course Vocabulary

  • Inside – the side of you and the horse closest to the center of the arena
  • Outside – the side of you and the horse closest to the wall of the arena
  • Stirrup – the part of the saddle that your foot sits in
  • Saddle – what you sit on while you are on the horse
  • Girth – what holds the saddle on the horse; goes under the horse’s belly
  • Bridle – the piece of equipment on the horse’s head while you are riding
  • Bit – the metal piece that goes in the horse’s mouth, used to stop and steer
  • Reins – leather pieces that you hold in your hands, attached to the bit
  • Martingale – piece that goes around their neck and is attached to the bridle and girth
  • Saddle Pad – pad that goes under the saddle to protect the horse’s back
  • Mounting Block – box used to get on the horse (mount)
  • Tack – the equipment used to ride the horse
  • Tack Room – room where all the equipment for the horse is stored (tack)
  • Muzzle – nose/mouth area of the horse
  • Poll – the part of the horse right between their ears
  • Forelock – the “bangs” of the horse – mane that extends onto the face
  • Mane – the hair down the horse’s neck
  • Withers – the high bone where their neck and back connect
  • Hoof – foot of the horse
  • Tail – the hair off the back end of the horse

Instructor information

Michele Koury

Michele Koury Riding

Valley Ridge Farm, Inc is the fulfillment of Michele's life long dream. Michele rode for 10 years at the renowned New Canaan Mounted Troop in New Canaan, CT. During that time she also rode with the late Victor Hugo-Vidal and Ronnie Mutch. While at NCMT she became the highest ranking officer. Michele not only learned to ride but also to teach, organize horse shows and manage a barn Upon graduating from NCMT, Michele went on to Franklin College and graduated with a degree in Sociology. After college, she went to work for the late Wayne and Frank Carroll of Elmwood Farm in New York. Michele and her husband, Kevin, moved to West Virginia in 1976 and in 1980 they started Valley Ridge Farm, Inc.

Read more about Michele