DARC Horse Riding Syllabus is a systematic approach designed for anyone to learn horse riding. It is an unique way of training new riders to excel in horse riding effectively. DARC Horse Riding Syllabus is divided into Yellow, Green, Blue, Orange and Red. Find out more about the syllabus here.
When you sign up for the first time, DARC will enroll you as a Yellow Rider from day one. In the beginning, you will have to go through the Beginner Introductory Session. Upon successfully completing the session, you will start your 1st riding lesson.
You will learn how to get on a horse. In the equestrian world, we refer it as to mount on a horse. Your instructor will show you how to hold the rein correctly. Also, you will learn where the correct location is to put your feet on the stirrups.
Don’t be afraid to start riding a horse at this stage. Your instructor will put you and the horse in a round pen, which is an enclosed and limited small area. The purpose is for you to get comfortable with the horse. Your instructor will also attach a lunging rope to the horse. The instructor will control the horse movement within safe speed for beginner.
In the beginning, you will learn how to find the balance while sitting on the horse. You will learn how to use your legs, waist and core strength to balance yourselves. Your instructor will guide you to put your hands on your hips or at your sides. This will help you to discover you do not need your hands to hold on to something for balancing.
To get a real sense of riding a horse, you will then learn how to ride the trot. The trot is a two beat diagonal gait where the horse’s legs work in paired diagonals. Trot is slightly faster than walking. Your instructor will guide you on when to come up and to sit down as the horse moves. Establishing your legs strength is important in this level to communicate with the horse.
Level Yellow Assessment
Each training session is around 30 minutes. It takes about ~10 sessions for you to complete Level Yellow. There is no formal assessment at this level. As your instructor sees you ride stable enough, you will be promoted to Level Green. You will then be ready to move on to the main arena.
Level Green is the beginning for your independent riding without the lunging rope. This is where the fun begins, yeeha~ You will start to ride in the 40m x 20m (small) arena or the 60m x 20m (large) arena.
As you have learned rising trot earlier, you need to practice and sharpen rising trot in the bigger arena. Your instructor will not be staying close to you like in the round pen earlier while you do rising trot. You will be independently steering the horse in rising trot on your own in the arena.
While rising trot takes slightly more skill than walking, the next challenge for you is sitting trot. The horse’s leg still move in paired diagonals, but you will not be rising up. You will be sitting on the saddle as you move together with the horse. This motion looks relaxing from the outside. However, you will need to engage your abdominal, back and leg muscles to follow the motion. This is slightly more challenging for beginners at the start. Do not feel discouraged if you do not get it right in the first few times. Your instructor will allocate plenty of time for you to practice sitting trot.
Level Green Assessment
In Level Green, you will learn:
Basic figures such as 20 meter circle
Turn across arena
Long & short diagonal
Changing rising diagonal
Each training session is around 30 minutes. It takes about ~25 sessions for you to complete Level Green. Upon completion of the necessary sessions, you will book an assessment. The Chief Instructor will assess your riding skills while your instructor issues you command. You will be awarded a certificate of accomplishment for Level Green upon the Chief Instructor passed your assessment.
Level Blue is where your riding skills start to get serious. While the horses in Level Yellow and Green are usually easy horses, you will be given slightly more challenging horses in Level Blue. Here, you must be able to perform riding techniques you learned in Level Green in close to perfection manner. Including the challenging sitting trot.
You will start to work with horses without the stirrups. We refer this training as cross stirrups, as the stirrups are crossed over the saddle. In other words, there is nothing for your legs to hang on to while riding. Although it might sound scary, it is actually an extremely effective exercise to improve your sitting trot. You will gain the confidence you do not need the stirrups to be able to ride steadily.
More complex figures (for example, three loop serpentine) will be introduced to you at this level. You will need to make use of what you learned previously such as changing diagonal to perform this figure. You will start to feel you have good maneuver on horse’s direction upon mastering such figures.
In mid Blue (approximately 20th-25th session), you will be introduced to canter. Canter is a controlled three-beat gait that is slightly faster than trot. The speed is around 15–25 km/h depending on which horse you are riding. This is the most common gait to ride when you need speed safely yet not exhausting the horse. You will learn how to canter in a round pen or the 20m x 40m arena for a start. Later, to the 20m x 60m arena.
Level Blue Assessment
The assessment for Level Blue will include
Sitting trot in perfection
Mastering all riding techniques in Level Green
Cantering on basic figures such as 20 meter circle
Catering on the correct lead
Each training session is around 30 minutes. It takes about ~40 sessions before you should go for your assessment. Upon completion of the necessary sessions, you will book an assessment. The Chief Instructor will assess your riding skills while your instructor issues you command. You will be awarded a certificate of accomplishment for Level Blue upon the Chief Instructor passed your assessment.
Level Orange is for the determined riders who want to strike for excellence in their horse riding journey. You will learn and practice with more advanced riding techniques here. Also, you will have the opportunity to test out your riding skills with different horses including the challenging ones!
You will spend a lot of time to focus on practicing the canter with your instructor. Cantering is one of the more enjoyable gaits while riding horses for many riders. You will practice sitting your canter in full seat, half seat (or light seat) and in two points. While the horse still canter the same, you have to adjust your body into different styles for riding in the canter. Each style has its purpose and you will discover them in Level Orange.
Your instructor will start to introduce basic dressage to you such as:
Upward & downward transition
The next interesting part for your riding is to work with poles. You will be doing trotting poles and cantering poles. This will prepare you for your first jump! Then, you will start jumping with horses at 20cm – 30cm in the beginning and move higher gradually. Jumping is an entirely different discipline from dressage. Some riders choose to specialize in jumping as they progress further in their equestrian journey.
At Level Orange, you learn both basic dressage and basic jumping. You will get a taste of both disciplines. You can choose either one or both to specialize in. This will depend on how much time, effort and energy you can dedicate to the sport.
Level Orange Assessment
Before going for assessment, you need to practice everything you have learned in Level Green and Blue. You need to master all previous riding techniques on different (sometimes challenging) horses assigned to you.
Riding at this level is relatively more advanced and technical. Some riders tend to fall behind if they do not practice consistently. If the rider leave the riding practices behind for too long, the rider risks being demoted to Level Blue. This will happen when the instructor notices the rider is struggling. Of course, the rider will be promoted to Level Orange again once the rider sharpen the riding skills.
Each training session is around 30 minutes. It takes about ~50 sessions before you should go for your assessment. The Chief Instructor will assess your riding skills while the another instructor issues the command to you. You will be awarded a certificate of accomplishment for Level Orange upon the Chief Instructor passed your assessment.
Level Red is where your horse riding skills become a pride. You will represent DARC for external competitions in jumping and dressage. In fact, you should be aiming to win games and bring back medals. Level Red is the Black belt equivalent in martial arts!
You will learn more advanced dressage techniques such as
Turn on hunches
As a Level Red rider, you will be jumping higher at 60cm, 80cm, 1 meter and beyond.
A Level Red rider is considered a competition level rider. Sometimes, you will train by yourselves for continuous improvement on your riding skills. At this level, you have the ability to recognized what is correct and wrong while riding on your own. You need to be able to rectify your mistakes and reinforce the correct riding techniques independently.
Apart from riding, you will also need to demonstrate your excellent horsemanship. You will learn to understand horses beyond riding. You will work with horses at different levels including training young horses. Activities such as tacking up by yourselves, grooming, showering become part of your riding routine.
Red Level is a prestige level in DARC. Very few riders accomplished this level. Although there are a few hundred riders in the club, there are only 5 Red Level riders at the point of writing this.
DARC Horse Riding Syllabus
DARC Horse Riding Syllabus is designed to keep the passionate horse riders progress on track in a systematic approach. According the Mr. Sulaiman, Manager in DARC, this syllabus is a practical approach to ensure riders’ progress does not get lost when there is a change of instructor. If a rider has achieved certain competency, it is recognized and respected across in the riding club.
Mr. Joshua Teo, Chief Trainer in DARC is personally conducting DARC Horse Riding Syllabus in the riding club. Be assured that you are in good hands when you train under the experienced trainers in DARC.
For more information, please contact Mr. Sulaiman at +60 10-240 2606. Visit DARC website or visit the riding club at following location:
DARC Beginner Introductory Session is the basic lessons for new riders in Denai Alam Recreational and Riding Club. I had the opportunity to sit into the session conducted by Ara and Trisya from DARC Y.E.S. (Young Equestrian Stars) Club.
The Beginner Introductory Session started off by Ara sharing basic information on how many movement horses have: walk, trot, canter and gallop.
She moved on to explain the basic equipment involved in riding such as saddle, snaffle (or commonly known as bit accordingly Ara), girth, bridle, stirrup, saddle cloth and saddle pad.
Then, Trisya took over the stage to explain the different colors for horses and the marking we can find on horses.
This briefing took about 30 minutes and then we moved on to the stables.
We gathered at Zone A in front of the stable.
Trisya gave us a quick briefing before entering the stables. She has prepared some cut carrots for us to feed the horses. Carrot is the favorite snack for our four leg friends! Trisya showed us the correct way to put the carrot on our palm to feed a horse.
Once we entered the stable, Trisya distributed the cut carrot for us to feed the horses. The kids got excited and they were totally loving it!
While we were in the stable, Ara and Trisya gave us more explanation on different horses. The kids were paying full attention to the briefing. One of the kids was asking Trisya how can we tell if a horse is a male or female.
We spent approximately another 30 minutes in the stables and we moved on to the washing bay for horse care briefing.
Trisya explained the importance of hoof care. The horse in front of us is called Bulan.
Trisya showed us how to clean the hoof.
Trisya explained the different type of brushes.
Once the grooming is completed, Ara showed us how to tact a horse.
After fitting the saddle, Ara explained how to put on a bridle.
The horse care and tacking session also took about another 30 min.
We move on to the grazing area. Ara and Trisya gave us a certificate of achievement for attending the introductory session.
You will be getting a certificate as following for completing the Core Skills Horse Care and Management.
It has been an informative and fun session conducted by the Y.E.S. Club. Ara and Trisya are both very knowledgeable in answering our questions and skillful in handling the horses.
If you are interested to join a session, please contact Mr. Sulaiman at +60 10-240 2606. They will conduct such session every Saturday at 2.30PM – 4.00PM.
You can visit DARC website or visit the riding club here:
It’s the first week after cross-state travel is allowed since MCO, Jac and I went to Bidaisari Stables in Janda Baik for an outride on Sunday. Here is our awesome hacking group photo.
Warming up in paddock.
We went to the kampung trail today. It was not a very long trail since the horses are just getting started again after a long break. It was approximately 8km and we completed that in about an hour.
While coming back, we took some time to pose for photos.
Upon coming back to the stable, I dismounted first while the other riders continue riding in the paddock.
Solea looking a little tired after coming back from kampung trail. It’s the first time I ride with Solea. She was naughty in the paddock trying to canter around on her free will for a short while. She has been a really good girl out in the trail by following the horses in front. Her trotting is easy and cantering is smooth. I think she can be a good horse for taking to endurance.
After we came back, we saw Natasya was practicing her walking and trotting on Bella.
Natasya has been absent from riding for some time. She was trying to get back her rhythm on the horse. Jac was busy body kind enough to help her out by leading the horse in front.
Coach Yasman was giving some extra pointers to Natasya after a few more rounds of riding in the big paddock.
I didn’t get to play with Bomber today but she has always been such as a darling for the us in Bidaisari Stable. Go try riding with Bomber, it’s so fun!
Here is a couple a video of us training the rested horses a week before inside the paddock.
Here is an outride video we did back in November 2019 where we took an endurance trail for almost 20KM. It was a really fun trip, be sure to check out the video!
Here is the address: Jalan Cherengin 1 28750 Kampung Janda Baik, Pahang, Malaysia. You can also check out the Google Map.
For more information, please contact Yasman at (+60 11-3229 3111) or visit Bidaisari Stable Facebook page.
My hacking buddy, Suki Low whom I met in GHRCtexted me out of nowhere “U keen on jumping?”. Jumping has always been at the back of my mind. I have always been impressed by how professional show jumpers elegantly cantering and jumping over tall fences. Throughout all my visits to different stables, I particularly like AS Equestrian Center when I went hacking with Aqil few months back. I replied, “Yup, let’s give it a try!”
Sunday, we met up in AS Equestrian Center for our first jumping lesson. Well, it was my first jumping lesson but not for Suki. She was jumping back in Netherlands 20 years ago. In one jump, her pony (1.35m tall) and her were jumping an oxer of 1.10m got his belly stuck in mid air. He felt down, rolled over her and the obstacle collapsed. You can imagine it was quite a chaos. Since then, she has lost her confidence in jumping and has not been jumping. Last Sunday was her first jump since 20 years!
Aqil started the lesson by explaining the basics of the equipment.
Aqil got Marco for Suki to ride on to warm up.
Aqil got me another horse, Nixs Bahamdan to warm up. A fairly tall and slightly slim dark brown horse.
While trotting at one particular corner, he consistently likes to start cantering. Probably due to his previous training that got him cantering at that corner.
Then, Aqil taught us about sitting 2-point to get ready for our jump.
Here go Suki’s first jump on Marco!
Suki made a turn at the corner and go for another jump.
She continues to go on for another 10-15 jumps throughout the lesson.
We exchanged horses. Suki definitely looked super happy for making so many jumps after 20 years!
First I trot on Marco for a round or two. Then, Aqil arranged the jumping pole for me to trot over. Next, he made a low barrier for me to jump over.
Here goes my virgin jump!
And another jump…
The poles are there to make sure we pass through the yellow section to stay in the middle.
At one jump, Suki was walking across the landing area. I was shouting “Horse coming!” to make sure she knows I was approaching.
Aqil was explaining a similar experience he had while he was training in Europe doing a 1.6m jump. There was a person standing and chatting right in the middle while Aqil was approaching fast. The horse was too fast to stop. Since he knew his horse could jump over that person, so he jumped!
After a jump, Aqil coached me on what could be improved further.
Aqil showed me I was hunching my back.
Aqil showed me I should be straightening my back instead while jumping.
People say horse is the reflection of the rider. I didn’t really quite understand that until I do jumping.
Obviously, I was a little unsure and worried in my first few jumps. When Aqil asked me if I was scared, I acted and responded confidently that I was not. However, Marco could picked up such subtle hint and amplified the emotion by 10 times. This is a time when Marco moved away from the jumping poles while I was approaching with an unsure emotion. A little worry on the rider has such an impact on the horse.
To be fair, I’m sure Marco is a very well trained horse for jumping. If it’s not for such a well trained horse, I wouldn’t be able to make so many jumps in my first lesson. Well, instead of saying I learn jumping, I should say Marco taught me how to jump.
Aqil was taking a photo of my jump. How thoughtful!
After making about 10-15 jumps, we slow walk to let Marco rest.
Jumping is not as hard as I initially thought. I often see people falling off from horses on YouTube videos. That gave me really bad impression how dangerous jumping could be. Well I’m not saying jumping is not dangerous, it is just not as bad as I initially thought. In fact, throughout our jumps in our first lesson, none of us felt down.
Big part of the reason for such a satisfying and pleasant jumping lesson has to do with Aqil and Marco. First, Aqil is a very experienced jumper himself and he still actively jumps. He breaks down the transition so seamlessly to the point it felt so natural for us to jump 80 cm at the end of our first lesson. Second, Marco is a fantastic jumping horse. Like I said earlier, instead of claiming I’m learning how to jump, the more accurate way to say is Marco was teaching me how to jump.
Obviously, our hands might not be in the right position, our heels might not be pointing down, our back were hunching (okay probably just me) and I’m sure there are still a lot to improve. But the important thing is we did jump. A lot of jumps!
Frankly, I did not have much expectation before stepping in. It took me a long time to trot steadily and to canter when I first started learning horse riding. I thought jumping is going to be another steep learning curve. However, it was surprisingly easy with the right coach and the right horse. Thanks Aqil! Thanks Marco! Also thanks Suki for giving me a kick to get me started in jumping!
It was a really pleasant jumping lesson, really looking forward for my next lesson!
If you want to learn jumping, I highly recommend you to visit AS Equestrian Center. The fee is pretty affordable at RM80/lesson. Give Aqil (017-620 0027) a call and he will he happy to assist you further.
Here is the location. Please note that the location in Waze is incorrect.
MAEPS (Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang) is located in Serdang, approximately 30KM from KL city center.
I went to MAEPS for a ride on Kolonel Fakharuzi’s recommendation whom I met in Unit Ekuin UPM few weeks back. He is one of the guys who helping running the stable operation in MAEPS. Last week, he was out of town so he got his partner, En. Faud to take care of my riding arrangement.
MAEPS is a massively huge place. The stable in MAEPS takes a little effort to find. Make sure you check out the map at the end of the article to get there easily.
After circling around for 10 minutes and asking 3 different people, I finally arrived the stable.
There was a stable management course going on. The staff was explaining the importance of horseshoe the participants.
This handsome young man is Aziq, son of En. Faud. Aziq brought me out for the trail ride later on. Aziq is only 17 years old but he is already a solid rider. He has been riding for many years. He is now actively training for endurance competition and he even trains horses for other private owners.
I got my horse, Rohill for my trail ride. Although Rohill is a schooling horse, he is surprisingly responsive. I could easily pop him into trot and canter without using a whip. With a whip, a light tap on his shoulder will get him to canter really fast.
I brought Rohill into the arena to warm up while waiting for Aziq to get ready. The arena is pretty big to the point there are another 2 smaller circles within the big arena for other riders to train.
I was trotting and cantering in the arena for about 15 minutes to warm up Rohill.
Shortly after, Aziq and I left the arena to head to the trail.
Trail at MAEPS
Here is a video of my ride inside the arena and at the trail.
We walked on tar road and passed by a pineapple farm.
Aziq got back up on his horse after he got down to open the gate to trail entrance.
We started trotting at the entrance of the trail.
One thing you can be assured is to get a good view of greenery and wide clear sky in MAEPS.
The trail has swallow trace.
You can also spot a lot of trees along the trail although they are not big enough to provide shade.
There are plenty of hilly path where you can canter up comfortably.
Overall Riding Experience
The track in MAEPS is not particularly long. If you are new to trail riding, this will definitely be a good start. I spent most of the time trotting. I did not get a lot of chance to canter because there are plenty of turns I was not familiar with. Once you are familiar with the turns, it will be a really good place to test your cantering skill. Also, we took the shorter trail because the night before was raining hence we could not go to another trail which is supposed to be more challenging. I will definitely go back for another ride to try out another trail. The fee is affordably at RM80/hour.
If you want to ride in MAEPS, feel free to call up En. Faud (019-2770449)