Someone on my Facebook feed decided that beginner was 10-20 lessons, intermediate was 20-40, and advanced was 50+.
There is so much wrong with this I can’t even.
First of all, at one lesson a week, that would mean you weren’t even a beginner until you were riding almost three months. Sorry no. Just no. You can be a beginner from moment one, thanks.
Second of all that would make you ADVANCED in a year of monthly lessons. Which I find hilarious.
This persons argument does not take into account skill level, dedication, or actually anything except saddle time.
AND not even saddle time. Like, how long are your lessons? I’ve had ones that ranged in time from 20 minute to two hours. That’s a huge time difference.
This summer alone I’ve had enough saddle and lesson time to be intermediate, if you go by this logic.
Fuck that noise. I’ve been riding since I was five and I still consider myself a beginner.
So, what do you use to qualify levels of riding?
What is beginner, intermediate, advanced, and any other divisions you’d like to add?
I find this a really interesting question, and one I don’t really have an answer to.
I do know that I rode three times a week all through middle and high school, and easily considered myself an advanced-intermediate dressage rider (schooling 2nd/3rd level). BUT, because I spent my whole life at the same barn, with the same trainer, riding very safe and well trained horses, my overall experience and level as a horseperson was still quite limited.
It wasn’t until I bought a very green and neglected horse, started living on a farm, and began learning new things about care, training, and eating dirt that I considered myself even an intermediate horsewoman.
I may have had more experience early on, more technical training, more show opportunities than Natalie (@kremeroyale), but I consider her by far the more knowledgeable horse owner and more skilled rider. That has nothing to do with how many lessons we have each had, and everything to do with Natalie seeking out information, educating herself on every aspect of horse care and riding, and being willing to hop on ANY horse and take every opportunity to learn.
So yeah. I am a fairly timid rider. I have years of training and technical knowledge, but I find it hard to translate that into actual skill. It’s not something that comes naturally to me. I do very well with certain types of horses, but I do not have that knack for getting on anything and figuring out how to get the best work out of that particular animal. I don’t think I will ever be an “advanced” rider, and that is totally ok with me.
It has very little to do with the number of lessons, and everything to do with your tenacity for learning and your personal goals and purpose for being in the sport. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a lifelong beginner, who understands their limitations and rides purely for the enjoyment.
Also, I believe there is a huge, HUGE difference between being an advanced rider in a specific discipline, and being an advanced, knowledgeable overall horseperson. The two can definitely come together, but life and tumblr have shown me that they very often do not.