4 Part Pattern

This is a riding pattern I used a while ago when I had several riders of all different skill levels and goals. It was very adaptable to using with multiple riders, so I’d like to share it with you!

Set Up

  • 2 pairs of poles across one diagonal
  • another cone in the lower right corner, opposite the last weaving cone
  • weaving cones across the other diagonal
  • activity station at one end of the arena (I had: a basketball hoop, a barrel with a bucket containing a ball, a saddle parts activity, baby animals, and a white board with pen – so, lots of options)


  1. Ride a straight line between the lower two cones on the short wall
  2. 2 point over the poles across the diagonal (or no 2 point but work on steering). Note that if you have multiple riders on the pattern, you should review safely crossing the diagonal so as not to hit each other.
  3. Halt at the activity station, do one of the activities (depending on the rider)
  4. Either weave the cones, or trot the long wall (depending on the rider) and end back up where they started
  5. Repeat

Example (mini) lesson plans:

(Note that our riders work on several objectives within each lesson, including both riding skills and cognitive or physical improvements.)

Rider 1

  • Objectives
    • Use reins to direct rein steer min VP 4/5x
    • Demonstrate trot 1 wall with proper upper body control and posture
    • Maintain focus on 1 horse activity until task completion
  • Mount – croup, lift
  • Warmups – arm circles, trunk twists, 2 point on wall
  • Skill – Rein aids for steering (and review for halt)
  • Practice – ride pattern, focues on steering through pattern with weaving cones, 1 horse activity at station, use basketball as reward
  • Progression – SW assistance ankle hold > spot
  • Skill 2 – Trot, sitting – thigh hold – on long wall – depending on time add to pattern or do on own
  • Dismount – croup, lift

Rider 2

  • Objectives
    • Demonstrate direct rein steering 75% of the time with hand over hand assistance.
    • Reach for and transfer objects using alternate hands 2x during the lesson
    • Follow directions 5x with verbal and physical prompts
  • Mount – lift, croup
  • Warmups – walking, stretch up neck, reach for tail, ride no stirrups
  • Skill: Steering (review with team to verbal prompt first, then physical tap, then hand over hand)
  • Practice: Obstacle course, focus on steering and at activity station transferring baby animals across midline while following directions
  • Dismount – crest, slide down on side

Rider 2

  • Objectives
    • Demonstrate rein and seat aids for trot to walk transition with correct posture 4x
    • Demonstrate direct rein steering through pattern 4x at walk with L, SW spot, progressing to independent riding
  • Mount – wood block
  • Warmups – arms circles, trunk twists, 2 point
  • Skill – steering,
  • Unclip for independent riding
  • Practice – pattern, forcus on steering and memory, 2x – use white board to draw pattern
  • Skill 2 – trot to walk transitions with rein and seat aids
  • Clip horse to leader because trotting
  • Practice – add trot to long wall of pattern
  • Dismount – crop to ground, flies off, make sure she brings her legs together

I enjoyed the diversity of this pattern and being able to adapt it to so many students, as well as the figure-X shape which switched things up from usual. It’s very basic, but definitely involves multiple steps! May it offer some inspiration!


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! If you would like to contribute an activity or article, please contact me here, I would love to hear from you!

5 thoughts on “4 Part Pattern

  1. Hi Cindy, thank you for another great “pattern”. I am always looking for and trying out ideas, and this one looks very good. I am always inspired by your page, keep upp the great work. Happy Riding, from Nan xxx

  2. I am loving all these patterns and ideas. While i’m not new to the therapeutic riding world (have been volunteering 7 years), i’m new to teaching classes as I work towards becoming an instructor. This has helped me plan so many lessons! Thank you for your time!

    • It’s my pleasure! I’m glad you are finding the ideas helpful on your journey to become an instructor. All the best as you keep learning! Cindy

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