Seven Levels

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Level One: During the first level  our team will introduce the veterans to the horses and our crew. They will learn all about the basic’s of horse care. Participants are given the opportunity to choose a horse, secure the horse with a halter, and begin gently brushing and grooming it.  This exercises begins the human to horse bonding process.

Level Two: Is essential. The participants learn how to create trust & respect by following ground training rules and completing ground training exercises with their horse. Veterans will also learn the importance of creating a healthy home life for the horses by participating in chores from stall cleaning, to general maintenance of the horses  home area. They will also participate in watering and feeding chores and learning about healthy horse care from hooves to supplements.

Level Three: After all the hard prep work, the fun begins during step three. Members of the crew will focus on teaching participants about basic equipment and accessories necessary for  their equestrian experience.  A member of our crew will teach  riders how to effectively communicate with their horse prior to putting on a saddle.  Horses aren’t passive built for one-way communication, they are built to communicate with humans.  The crew member will demonstrate how the  horse uses it’s body language to communicate. Movement of ears, position, stance, eyes, nostrils, facial tension, head and neck movements.  All these signs keep the rider safe and are important to keep in mind when saddling, grooming, brushing, and working with their horse. The rider can then begin to saddle their horse, adjusting the stirrups, and completing the mounting process  with confidence.

Level Four: With the horse waiting, groomed and saddled up, we are ready to ride! The best way to learn to ride is with a competent coach.  A crew member will teach the steps in understanding how they mount their horse and once they’re up,  how to sit correctly in the saddle as they ride. The first thing the  instructor will explain is how to cue the horse to walk, then  as the riders confidence increases it will be time to learn to ride at faster paces to prepare for level six, loping.

Level Five:  We start to focus on teamwork teaching veterans to help level one veterans We want to build a strong community and  comradeship.

Level Six: We  begin teaching riders to lope and work with the horse on patterns such as keeping palance and position in a trot, transitions between trot and canter, increasing./decreasing circles, keeping balance and position in the saddle which demonstrates to the rider they have learned valuable skills such as control, confidence, perception, problem solving and expressive/receptive language and good horsemanship.

Level Seven:
If participants wish to go farther then we encourage them to participate in fun activities such as helping with chores at a working ranch or riding out on the range, or competing in cowboy or cowgirl competitions.  A list of equestrian sports can be found by going HERE.

All of these levels are built for comfort levels of the riders. Instructors will wait for them to feel confident in moving to the next level. We will take as much time as it takes to get the rider comfortable before proceeding to the next level. We are so excited to see these veterans grow, heal and create a bond with these horses. Most importantly they are welcome to continue participating at the ranch as long as they like. We offer a fun safe haven where participants can relieve stress, build friendship’s and create many life long memories.


NOTICE: Crusaders Equestrian Team has changed its name to Crusaders Valor for Veterans.