Policies & Lesson Content

Atlanta Riding Academy Policies

Attire: Paddock boots with half chaps or tall boots. Riding Helmet. No sleeveless shirts. Do not chew gum. Hair should be tied back and neat under helmet.

Cancellations: 24 hours notice is required to cancel or change a lesson. If notice is given, there is no charge. Otherwise the cost of the lesson is due. No exceptions please. It is critical to horse assignments and those looking add or change an appointment, that notice be given. I understand that sometimes we have car problems, school or work obligations, illness. However, in order to stay on the schedule, last minute cancellations must be covered.

Weather: The calendar changes seasonally. Appointments are later in the heat of summer and earlier in short days of winter. Inclement Weather: In Case of severe storms, you MAY cancel with less than 24 hours notice. However, you MUST reset the appointment within 30 days subject to availability.

Lessons: Beginners, please arrive 10 minutes before your lesson time. All others please arrive 20 minutes before your lesson time.  All riders must know trot diagonals, demonstrate correct leg position, and be able to trot ring figures without stirrups before cantering. Lesson content is adjusted based on conditions. This includes cold/windy days that affect the energy levels of the horse, crowded rings (ring time is shared with another instructor and boarders), footing, feed time etc.

Scheduling: Hours at the Academy change according to season. A new schedule is made prior to the beginning of each month. Riders are booked in order of seniority. Appointments are scheduled weekday afternoons and evenings. Ring space is shared with another instructor and each instructor sticks to posted ring hours.

Showing: Twice a year Little Creek hosts a horse show for all clients. In addition, the students Level 2 and up can attend local shows spring and fall. Little Creek is also home to a pony club.

Skills: The Atlanta Riding Academy and Jump Club Inc offers an Equestrian Skills Ratings Program to recognize excellence among Academy riders. Please see skill content for each level below.

The Little Creek Conservancy. The Conservancy is a non-profit dedicated to preserving Little Creek as a horse farm. Riders at Little Creek should consider becoming members. Membership is only $25 per year and you will get updates on farm events.

Barn Rules: Make sure you clean all manure is aisle, wash stall and indoor ring. Only use halters labeled for Atlanta Riding. Follow posted barn rules and ring rules. A rider will put on probation for rule violations. Grooming and Cool Down procedures are posted at the cross ties.

Guests: Guests who come to view your lesson must follow all barn rules while on the property. Please make sure your guests know the rules. When mares are turned out in the pasture, access is restricted to the lesson client only for safety and liability reasons. PLEASE ASK BEFORE YOUR GUESTS ENTER PASTURE AREAS.

Rider Expectations and Responsibilities: Riding and working with horses takes tremendous discipline and dedication. Academy students are expected to seek excellence and practice good horsemanship at all times. Time for tacking and cool down is included in your lesson. Please help keep wash stalls swept. Please take care in maintaining the tack. If tack is dirty, rags and leather cleaner are always on hand. Becoming an accomplished rider can take decades. Some lessons will be more challenging than others. Ring conditions, weather conditions, and the mood of both the rider and the horse can all be factors that affect lessons. All riders also need to understand the risks associated with riding. It is a sport not unlike down hill skiing in terms of the level of coordination and physical condition required to excel in riding hunter jumpers. All riders will eventually have a fall. You must decide for yourself if that is a risk you are willing to assume.


New In 2017 Unmounted Intro to Horsemanship This class is an opportunity for the non-rider or the new rider to become acquainted with horses and learn basic ground skills.  It is a four week, 2 hour course for children or adults. Children’s classes will incorporate games and introduction to vaulting. The first classes will be held this summer for children ages 8 and up:

Monday June 5th to Thurs June 8th 1pm to 3pm and

Monday July 10th to Thurs July 14th 1pm to 3pm

Please contact dana@atlantariding.com to schedule. Cost is $175 per person.

Intro to Horsemanship Course Objectives:

  • Develop an appreciation of the horse.
  • Develop good safety practices in the barn.
  • Understanding of horse behavior.
  • Knowledge of parts of the horse, breeds and equipment.
  • Learn about Little Creek Farm and it’s programs.

Day 1 covers history of the farm and safety.

Day 2 is an in-depth look at grooming, horse care, colors, breeds, confirmation and equipment.

Day 3 will introduce the student to horse behavior and types of training. Students will get a introductory vaulting lesson.

Day 4 continues to explore ground work, styles of riding and types of competitions. Students will learn about a dressage test and a jump course.



Atlanta Riding Lesson Skills Syllabus

Becoming a good rider involves repetition. The skills listed for each level requires hours of practice over and over. Riders will work on each level about 24 months before moving to the next level. Everyone progresses at a different rate. Level 1 riders must be able to perform ring figures posting trot on correct diagonal, without stirrups and ride 4 lessons in a row without being reminded to keep heel down before cantering. All level 1 skills need to be strong before moving to Level 2. There are no short cuts for mastering the material.


Correctly girth
Two point at walk and trot
Correctly adjust stirrups
Posting trot
Good use of eyes/ track
Reins adjusted correctly
Leg and hand position
Ring figures
Sit and post at trot without stirrups
Drop and pick up stirrups and walk and trot
Part of tack, parts of horse
Lengthen and shorten stride at the walk
Intro to leg yield at the walk
Accurate upwards and down ward transitions
Correctly use a crop
Emergency pulley rein
Intro to Canter work (pre-novice)
Reading: US Pony Club 1st level Manual by Susan Harris

Level 2 (Novice)

Quick release knot
Pick hooves
Boots, bandages and leg wraps
Show grooming
Anatomy, confirmation, lameness
Annual vet, farrier, worming, teeth
Re-test on girthing
Vital signs
Tack fitting
Retest on crop
Diagonals by feel
Lengthen and shorten at the trot
Leg yield
Canter on a circle
Identify canter leads
Canter from Walk/canter to walk/canter to trot transitions
Correctly demonstrate releases over cavelleti
View lessons/intern.
Trot Cross Rails (adv novice)
Gymnastics (adv novice)
Novice Written test
Reading: Care of the Competition Horse or Grooming to Win by Susan Harris
Reading: Man who Listens to Horses by Monty Roberts or Don’t Shoot the Dog
Reading: US Pony Club Intermediate Manual

LEVEL 3 Intermediate

Simple Changes
Canter without stirrups
Cross rails without stirrups
Pick up stirrups at canter
Re-test crop at the base of a jump
Demonstrate correct use of outside rein
Lengthen and shorten at canter
Turn on forehand
Turn on haunches
Apply Beginner and novice skills to a variety of horses
Cantering courses of 8 jumps

Level 4 Advanced
Courses 2.6 and up
Flying Changes
Hunter vs Jumper vs Eq courses & design
Shoulder in/Haunches-in
Influence your horse’s frame. Working horse on contact. Vertical flexion
Counter Canter
Ability to ride a variety of horses
Jump a course without stirrups
Unmounted and mounted lesson plan.
Pass advanced skills on at least 3 horses