Posted on Nov 6, 2014





Mounted lesson plans.

When using any of these lesson plans, understand that these plans are only a place to start

from. The only limitations are you and your riders’ imaginations. The skills required for success in all riding, but especially in show jumping at all levels, are based on the effectiveness of the riders’ balance, position and aids at all gaits on the flat and over fences.

These plans are aimed more toward the D ratings and use a games or fun and play format to introduce some of the required riding skills for beginning riders. However any of these plans can be adapted for older and/or more experienced riders with some simple changes. For example, the difficulty of the Lesson #1, “Riding a cones course”, can be increasedby adding poles on the

ground, jumps, or by having the riders ride one handed or without stirrups or bareback.

Safety 1stmust always be our mantra and any changes to these lessons must be appropriate for the riders’ skills.

Next you will see a template for developing the lessons using a games format. The basic concepts and headings will be similar whether you are developing plans for the ‘fun and play’ groups or more traditional lessons plans.


Mounted Show Jumping Lesson Plan #1

(Multiple lessons can be developed from this one plan to fit any D and C and/or higher certified riders by making changes as appropriate; i.e. one handed steering, riding without stirrups or bareback, riding over ground poles or jumps at an appropriate gait, adding transitions at anytime on course, etc.)


TITLE: Riding a “Cones Course”




Short Term:

–          Ride between and around cones set in a pattern or as a course – with ground poles or small jumps if appropriate.

Long Term:

–          Develop skills to ride in control at Walk, Trot and/or Canter (WTC) while learning to use leg, rein and position aids to guide mount.

–          The jumping or 2 point position can  also be introduced at this time. Developing these skills can allow riders to jump SJ courses successfully at any height in the future.



–          Cones to use for “course(s)”, ground poles and/or standards,  ball(s) or objects for passing back and forth and possibly a stopwatch.



Age and Certification  Levels of  Students:

7 – 14+ and D1- D3: Note age generalities; lessons/exercises will help develop riders’ capabilities in these ways:

Age 4–7: lateral motion, body position, spatial body awareness and use lots of imagination

Age 8–11: group socialization, key concepts and increase vocabulary

Age 9–14+: one-to-one focus with teacher and as well as all of above.



Introductions and explain game – riding around or through cones as a course. Choose teams and/or leaders for group(s). You can use poles on ground or small jumps if appropriate.

(Teacher’s goal is to set up for success by developing comfortable learning conditions.  10+min.)



–          Have riders safely WT and/or C around the arena to see riders’ skills and to practice turning using some of the individual cones. Review aids needed for transitions and body balance and position.

–          Practice passing or ball or other object at halt and walk if appropriate. (15+min.)



–          Ask the riders to tell you what was difficult or easy and what they learned.


Teacher’s Assessment:

–          Check for understanding and emphasize safety at all times when riding in group. (5+min)



–          Ask a more experienced rider in the group to go one time around the course to show other riders

–          Explain they will do the same or different course, but maybe one at a time, or part of course will be at T and/or C.

–          Ensure riders know rules and “course.” ( 1+min)


Notes to Instructor:

–           Use cones to design a “course” or “courses.” Use your imagination to set limitations according to riders’ skills and control. Position cones according to riders skills and experience at different gaits.

–          Make “course” as hard or easy as appropriate by riding between or around cones at W,T and/or C – one at a time or on parallel courses in teams or pairs. Use stopwatch for fastest time if appropriate. Use ball or other object for relay competition. (20 +min)



–          Allow students to practice course once, then again after specific feedback relating to rider’s position, appropriateness of pace and so on.



–          Teacher & students ask/answer questions relating to each rider’s strengths and specific teaching points throughout the lesson.

–          Ask riders what they learned by “doing” themselves and by “watching” the others during the lesson/games. Check for understanding and feedback for next lesson And ask for questions, comments and ideas for other lessons/games. (5+min)


As you can see this one lesson plan can be developed into numerous lessons for any group of riders at any level and yet the basic concepts remain the same. The general headings in each

lesson part will stay the same no matter what game or lesson you are developing.


The time indicated for each section is for a guide; lessons probably should not last longer than 1 hour for the younger and less experienced riders because of mental and physical fatigue.


Lesson Extensions:


Listed below you will find some more ideas for mounted lessons using the ‘cones course’



–          Play ‘Follow the Leader’ and trade out Leaders while on course.

–          Play ‘Simon Says’ with Simon at the back of the ride with safe spacing.


–          Engage the riders’ observational and verbal skills by having each rider play ‘The Teacher’ for 5+ minutes to direct the group and make corrections. Emphasize how to  comment respectfully and objectively in each instance.


–          Ride all or part of the course in 2 pt position at W, T, and/or C.


–          Change gaits at designated points on the course.


–          Build parallel courses and have match races at W, T, or C if appropriate.


–          If appropriate, add trot gymnastic lines mid-course to emphasize control during their rides.







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