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Grading System

This system has been developed by us, based on years of experience teaching beginners and novices. It gives riders a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of correct, classical riding so

that they can progress to higher levels, both on the flat and over jumps.


The Grades run from 1 to 6 and riders can’t move onto the next grade until all the requirements of the previous grade have been completed. Each time a rider completes a grade, they can purchase

a Progress Certificate if they wish.  Riders who pass Grade 6 will be above the level of the BHS Stage 1 Riding exam and equipped with the skills for doing dressage or jumping at a local level.


Grades 1 and 2 are assessed by a rider’s regular instructor. Grades 3 and above are assessed by Mary Stitson.


The following gives a sample of what is included in each grade.


Please note that jumping is optional.



Grade 1

Mounting, dismounting and leading

Correct position and balance

How to halt, walk and turn

Sitting trot with stirrups


Grade 2

Walk without Stirrups

Rising Trot

Learning to change direction

Large circles in walk


Grade 3

Understand what it means for a horse to be ‘going forwards’

Using reins effectively

Starting sitting trot without stirrups

First canter


Grade 4 - Flat

Learning to move horse or pony sideways (leg yield)

Trotting over a line of poles

Sitting and rising trot without stirrups

Cantering large


Grade 4 - Jump

Correct balance and position

Transitions between trot and canter

Courses of poles in trot

Single fences


Grade 5 - Flat

Understanding the horse’s way of going


Leg yield in trot

20m circles in canter


Grade 5 - Jump

Linking fences together

Riding consistently forward over poles and jumps

Keeping balance and position in canter

Changes of lead through trot


Grade 6 - Flat

Understanding outline

Increasing / Decreasing stride in trot

Acute transitions

Canter without stirrups


Grade 6 - Jump

Grid work

Uprights and narrow spreads

Courses in canter

Walk to canter transitions

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