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TRAINING TREE FOR RIDERS, A Systematic Approach to Rider Development

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A Revolutionary Way to Approach Rider Development
For riders and riding instructors

Riding Instructors:
We know how to teach, but wouldn't you like a tool that would help you and your students get more out of their lessons?
Training Tree for Riders enables you to get more, better, faster results from your teaching. Your students progress more rapidly into safe and effective riders.
Training Tree for Riders doesn't change your teaching style, but enhances it, adjusting the order in which you teach skills, clarifying the purpose of some commonly used rider exercises while adding some new ones to your toolbox.

What is it that you want to achieve? Safety? Effectiveness? Ribbons? Security? A gorgeous position? The ability to stick when your horse spooks? Clearer communication with your horse? Training Tree for Riders will enable you to reach your goals faster.

Learn why each step on the rider training scale is important and how it supports the next step. Work through the steps to become a fluid, balanced, natural rider regardless of discipline. At less than the cost of a single lesson, what do you have to lose?


• What do riders need to know?
• What prerequisites need to be in place in order for them to learn?

• How can these skills be most effectively taught and confirmed?
• Each step has lessons for instructors and also for those working
“On Your Own.”

128 pages, illustrated, index, lesson plans softcover




Amanda Berges has been training horses since 1985 and teaching riding lessons since 1988. She has experience with a variety of disciplines including Western, saddle seat, and sidesaddle, in addition to her specialties of hunt seat and dressage.

Her teaching experience has ranged from children to adults, from backyard farms to national champion show stables and college equestrian programs, and in fact the concept for this book came to her while a member of the equestrian faculty at Lake Erie College.

Always fascinated by teaching in both practice and theory, Amanda has been certified by the American Riding Instructors Association (ARIA) for over a decade. Amanda is also a licensed teacher and a busy horse show judge and clinician. Her articles have appeared in Riding Instructor magazine, ARIA’s official publication, and others.


1. Longeing
Equipment • Technique • Lessons
2. Relaxation
Focused Relaxation • Posture and Relaxation
3. Balance
Vertical • Lateral
4. Rhythm
Walk • Trot • Canter • The Training Bush
5. Fitness
6. Suppleness
Ground Poles and Cavalletti • Sitting the Trot
7. Feel
Through the Seat • Through the Reins


8. Influence
Through the Seat • Through the Reins
9. Position
Order of Progression • Form Equals Function
10. Off the Longe
Restructuring the Tree • The Horse
11. Warm-up and Evaluation
Have a Plan • Locate and Inspect the Foundation
Lesson Plans
Skills Developed Concurrently
About the Author



"A great addition to any equestrian's library. The multitude of exercises and information contain something helpful for every rider of every discipline."
     –U.S. Eventing Association Bookshelf

"I am very impressed with this book. It is well organized, well written and presents a unique perspective on teaching and learning. From the solid basic training learned through the six branches of the training tree, the rider will be prepared to move on to any equestrian discipline."
     –Suzanne H. Coen, Former Dean of Equine Studies at Lake Erie College, past president of the Intercollegiate Riding Association 
"This handy paperback is as valuable to the beginner rider as the keen competitor or coach. It can help rider and trainer stay on track and answer the question “why do I have to ride these exercises again?” It acts as a reminder of the bigger picture and is packed with keen observations and practical advice. . . . Far from being a checklist or workbook to complete, the Training Tree for Riders offers readers the know-how to realise their potential and solve problems as they arise. Well worth reading; I’ve ridden all my life and have already used Berges’ ideas to step back and remedy a few things."
    –Samantha Mattocks, The Arabian Magazine




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