My policy on riding is that if you are brave and determined, have a safe riding area (good fencing & footing), a lungeline, good books to study, and perhaps a good helper (or even just someone around in case of an emergency) you can take on the world.

I can't count the number of times I've been afraid of one horse or another but kept on going by sheer determination. I'm a better rider today because I have often challenged myself with green, sour, or strong horses.

If you are babying yourself or have a trainer that is holding you back or doesn't challenge you, you will never really become a strong rider. I would encourage all riders to learn to fall well first so that when a challenging ride presents itself the fear of falling is less of a hinderance.

In the end, if you have trouble finding the "perfect" horse you must look inward toward yourself and decide how much stronger you can be as a rider. Once you have conquered your fear, improved your strength and balance, and read books and gathered information about successful training methods you will find that more and more horses stand a chance of being the "perfect" horse for you.

At the bottom of each page you will find that each horse has been evaluated for the minimum skill level its rider must have to continue to progress in training. When a bad match is made it is frightening for the rider but worse for the horse because they can learn bad habits that are difficult to correct. I want to leave room for you to grow into your new horse but still achieve a safe, lasting, match that will improve over time.

The evaluation strives to create a standard for comfort level ...

Walk-Trot - those who are in their first or second year of riding with some riding lessons (even if infrequently) and have had little experience in any form of competition.

Walk-Trot-Canter - those who have been riding for around four calendar years with frequent lessons and participated in some local (unrated) competitions. These riders may have ridden for a greater length of time but with infrequent lessons.

Advanced Walk Trot Canter – those who have been riding four or more calendar years and have competed frequently in unrecognized competitions. These riders are often still learning to jump and may not be comfortable jumping on an unfamiliar horse.

Novice – those riders who have lessoned for many years and competed at both recognized and unrecognized shows. They may have jumped up to 3' on familiar horses and should feel comfortable jumping 2'3"-2'6" on almost any horse.

Intermediate – those who have won more consistantly at recognized and local shows up to the 3'6" level, have competed at 2nd level dressage or higher, or have competed in a recognized combined training event at the Training Level. They may also have achieved a Pony Club "B" or "HA" rating. An intermediate level rider should be confident riding and jumping up to 3' on a new horse.

Advanced - riders who have won an USAE Medal or equivalent recognized 3'6" equitation class or a Preliminary level Event in recognized competition; riders who have competed in an Intermediate or Advanced level Event, or competed in USET Medal or Young Rider competition, or in recognized Dressage tests 4th level or higher; or A-rated Pony Club Riders. They may also have won more than 2 blue ribbons over fences 3'3" or higher or more than 8 blue equitation ribbons on the flat in recognized shows. Advanced riders are competent on green or seasoned horses up to 3' or higher depending upon the horse's training.