Trail Lesson Plan 1

Example lesson plan for a trail class.

Arena Setup:

  • 2 cones
  • 4 poles for walkover
  • 1 bridge
  • 2 poles parallel
  • 4 poles in L

Lesson Plan

  1. Mount
  2. Tack Check
  3. Warm Up – circle each obstacle so horse can see it, talk about introducing horses to new objects, explain Show Trail Classes and what judges look for
  4. Tack Check
  5. Teach Backing – what, why, how, where (in pattern)
  6. Explain Pattern – 2 point over poles, walk over bridge, woah between parallel poles and back 3 steps, walk through L poles (add woah between cones to start and finish, if desired)
  7. Practice Pattern 3x – talk them through it, slowly remove verbal prompts so they remember the pattern on their own; give corrections and praises; give hints about steering straight over poles, squeezing to ask horse to pick up feet; letting horse put head down to investigate bridge, etc.
  8. Progress to no leader
  9. Progress to Backing through L if time
  10. Tack Check & Practice Trotting if time (not really related to the lesson plan, but often kids are practicing trotting too – and love it – so I like to throw it in; an alternative would be to make trotting part of the pattern)
  11. Cool Down – pick 2 obstacles to do
  12. Dismount

Example objectives for this lesson:

  • Demonstrate woah, walk on, and steering with correct hand position 100% of the time, no leader, no prompts.
  • Demonstrate backing with correct aids 3/3 of the time, with leader, minimum verbal prompts.
  • Perform a 4 step obstacle course 2/2 times, with leader, no prompts.


Note: This is not professional advice, this is a blog. I am not liable for what you do with or how you use this information. The activities explained in this blog may not be fit for every rider, riding instructor, or riding center depending on their current condition and resources. Use your best personal judgement!

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