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
- Changing direction
- 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
- Leg yielding
- Turn on hunches
- Shoulder in
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: