Lesson Plan: Direct Rein Steering

This is an example lesson plan that my group came up with at my certification workshop.

These were the made-up students (I forget their exact medical diagnosis):

  • Bob – left side hemiplegia, can walk and steer independently, needs a leader spotting and 2 sidewalkers with ankle holds
  • Lisa – fatigues easily, needs to learn to rider independently, can steer, fears falling


Objective: Perform direct rein steering at the walk without a leader, through a pattern of 4 cones 2x each way.

Arena Setup: 4 cones on the quarterline, wide enough to steer through.


  • Bob – Leader, 2 Sidewalkers, ankle hold
  • Lisa – Leader, 2 Sidewalkers, spot (if not enough volunteers can do 1 Sidewalker, but tends to be fearful so 2 are preferred)



Safety/Tack Check


  • 1st – Bob – crest mount because left hemiplegia – after mounts have him do a small circle in every corner as the second rider is mounted, not using the reins, working on balance
  • 2nd – Lisa – mount second because fatigues easily, so mounting second and dismounting first shortens her lesson time

Safety/Tack Check

Warm Up

  • small circles in the corners – airplane arms, hands on helmet (upper body)
  • change directions
  • small circles in the corners – no stirrups, roll ankles (lower body)


  • What
    • direct rein steering independently
  • Why
    • learn to steer their horse
    • a step toward riding independently
  • How
    • 1 pull rein gently (to hip/to belly/to the side you want them to go – however you choose to teach it) – demonstrate using your own hands or via hand over hand on a student, explaining we pull gently or else we will hurt the horse’s mouth
    • 2 hold until horse turns
    • 3 release so the horse stops turning
  • Where
    • weaving the cones


  • 1 weave cones with leader close 1x
  • 2 weave cones with leader 3 feet away 1x
  • 3 weave cones with leader unclipped 2x
  • 4 weave cones with leader unclipped and in the middle of the arena 1x
  • this whole time give praises, corrections, and posture adjustments
  • keep in mind: Bob could get frustrated/tired, and Lisa could get tired/scared so may need to keep leader close


  • take away sidewalker support
  • add more cones to weave

Wrap Up

  • Standing (because these students tire easily)
  • “What did we do today?”
  • “Why?”
  • “Be proud of yourselves!”


  • 1st Lisa– over the croup – first because tires easily
  • 2nd Bob – over the crest
  • Have them thanks the volunteers and pet their horses


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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