Single-handed Skill

Riding Level 4: Single-handed Reining

For Level 3 you were asked to demonstrate single-handed reining at a walk, trot, and canter.  For Level 4 we also want to see:

8. Single hand reining. Control & confidence at all paces.  Turns, halts.

This Level 3 blog post covers the mechanics of single-handed reining.  For Level 4 we are simply looking for more control and precision, particularly with turning.  Aside from the rather unhelpful suggestion of ‘do it better’, here are some activities that will help you hone your reining skills.

  • Work on a loose rein to develop leg and seat aids.  This just happens to be the subject of last week’s post, so if you missed it, go back and review it now.
  • Warm up and cool down single handed.  Not only our horse will appreciate the slightly looser rein during warm up and cool down, this will give you 10 – 15 minutes of one-handed practice for each ride.
  • Practise mounted games.  With mounted games you almost always have a prop, forcing you to use one hand on the reins.  The beauty of games is that you are focussed on a goal such as navigating obstacles or picking up and passing off objects, and you develop instinctive seat and leg aids without thinking about it.

Upcoming Courses

Note that all the March courses are full, with the exception of regular weekly Mounted Combat Classes.  The next series of Riding, Horsemanship, and Mounted Combat Fundamentals classes begin in April.

Youth Riding & Horsemanship

This course for kids aged 6-13 will introduce your child to ponies and horses in safe, fun, and friendly series of six classes taught by Pony Club qualified instructors. Each class contains a riding lesson as well as a horsemanship lesson where students will learn to handle, groom, and care for ponies and horses. Curriculum follows the Canadian Pony Club D level lessons and will prepare students for testing Academie Duello Mounted Combat Riding 1 or Pony Club D Level.

Thursdays 4pm – 6pm
30 Mar – 4 May
cost: $300 + gst for 6 classes
instructor: Kate Landels

Mounted Combat Fundamentals

This 6-week series of classes is intended to give you the basics of swordplay from the ground to prepare you for fighting from horseback.  Participants at this level will practise from the ground and the falsemount to achieve the combat skills needed to attain the rank of Green Spur and participate in Mounted Sparring clinics and tournaments.  Students who have their Riding and Horsemanship Level 1 and who attend all five classes can reasonably expect to attain their Green Spur by the end of the series.  Once you have your Green Spur, you can sign up for Intermediate Mounted Combat, and can spar in our regular Playday event, as well as competing in our annual Carosella tournament.

Sundays 1pm – 3pm
23 Apr – 28 May
cost: $135 + gst for 6 classes
instructor: Clinton Fernandes

Register here, or bundle with Riding & Horsemanship and save $36.

Ongoing Mounted Combat Classes

These 2-hour sessions focus on the weapons skills needed to progress from Green to Blue Spur.  Regular tuition includes classes taken entirely from the ground (no riding skills necessary).
Sundays noon – 2pm
cost: 2 hours tuition
instructors:  Clinton Fernandes / Jennifer Landels

Beginner Riding & Horsemanship

If you’ve never been on a horse, or if it’s been a long time, here’s the place to start.  When you arrive at the barn at 11am, you’ll begin with a horsemanship lesson, familiarizing yourself with the horses and their tack, as well as how to groom, handle and tack them up.  Then you will have a riding lesson, working through the requirements of Riding Level 1 — the prerequisite to most of the fun stuff we do on horseback!

Saturdays, 5pm – 7pm
22 April – 27 May
cost: $300 + gst for 6 classes
instructor: Stephanie Laversin

Register here, or bundle with Mounted Combat Fundamentals and save $36.

Riding & Horsemanship Level 2

This course is intended for riders who have taken classes through the program and are comfortable tacking up their own horses.  Riders should arrive at 9:30am, to tack up and warm up their horses before starting their riding lessons at 10am, followed by Horsemanship Level 2 or 3 lessons at 11am.

Saturdays, 5pm – 7pm
22 April – 27 May
cost: $300 + gst for 6 classes
instructor: Stephanie Laversin

Register here, or bundle with Mounted Combat Fundamentals and save $36.

Riding Level 3+

This class is intended for independent riders who have achieved Level 2 or higher.  Riders are expected to be tacked up and warmed up prior to class.  Your own helmets, boots, and half chaps are recommended, as are safety vests for the occasional cross-country class, weather permitting.

Saturdays, 4pm – 5pm
22 April – 27 May
cost: $200 + gst for 6 classes
instructor: Stephanie Laversin

Horsemanship Level 3
Saturdays, 5pm – 6pm
22 April – 27 May
cost: $200 + gst for 6 classes
instructor: Stephanie Laversin

Beginner Horseback Archery

Whether you are an expert rider or archer, or a complete beginner at both, this is your starting point.  You will spend about an hour and a half on the ground learning the techniques of Hungarian archery from the Kassai school.  After that you will begin shooting from horseback while our handlers lead your mounts past the targets at the walk.  Experienced riders may have the option to try shooting at faster paces without handlers if they are competent and comfortable at the walk.

Sunday 26 July, 10am – 1pm
cost: $149 + gst
prerequisites: none

Intermediate Horseback ArcheryRob & Winnie

If you have taken our Beginner course previously and have a minimum of Riding Level 1 or the equivalent this course is for you.  Riders with Level 1 will walk and trot, Level 2 Riders will be able to shoot at the canter.  Last time we practised multiple targets on canter circles — what will we get up to this time?

Sunday 26 July, 2pm – 5pm
cost: $75 + gst
prerequisites: Riding Level 1, Beginner Horseback Archery



Mounted Combat Membership

Our six-month and one-year membership packages are a great way to get more out of the program.  With a membership, you get two free practice rides a month, a 10% discount on all Riding, Horsemanship and Mounted Combat courses, a $5 discount on private lessons at Red Colt Co-op, and free weekly Mounted Combat Practice sessions on Monday nights.

6-month membership, January – June 2017: $200 + gst
1-year membership, January 2017 – December 2017: $300 + gst

To acquire a membership call the front desk at 604 568 9907 or email

Jennifer Landels heads up Academie Duello's Cavaliere Program. She has been swordfighting since 2008, and riding since before she could walk. She started the program as an excuse to combine those passions.
Read more from Jennifer Landels.