Connected Horsemanship
            at Valkyrie Ranch

Connecting horse and human in
relationship and communication

Educational Programs

"But there is one principle that should never be abandoned, namely, that the rider must learn to control himself before he can control his horse. This is the basic, most important principle to be preserved in equitation."
- Alois Podhajsky

Integrative Riding© 

The Integrative Riding© Program at Valkyrie Ranch uses a variety of exercises on the ground and in the saddle to help the rider improve flexibility, balance, coordination and strength (the boost in confidence is just a bonus!). After a warm up on the ground the rider will work through different exercises on the horse at a halt, walk, trot and canter (if comfortable). They will intentionally challenge their balance and movement patterns to relieve tension in their own bodies and find their center. This will naturally lead to an "effortlessly" correct seat and posture for riding. The horse works on a large circle on a lunge line under the control of the trainer; this allows the rider to focus on themselves instead of being distracted by the horse. Lessons in Integrative Riding are approximately 30 minutes; for best results we strongly recommend scheduling several lessons consecutively- e.g. 5 days in a row, every other day for 2 weeks, etc. Lessons in Integrative Riding are beneficial to all levels of riders but can also be used by the inexperienced horse lover who would like to reconnect with their body while forming a connection with horses at the same time! For more information or to schedule an Integrative Riding Session please follow this link and submit the completed form.

Equine Good Citizen©

Do you feel that your horse is safe to handle, even when he is nervous?
Would you consider her a joy to handle?
Does your horse remain calm and attentive during stressful situations?
What if there was an emergency: would your horse be cooperative in the care of an inexperienced handler?
Connected Horsemanship's Equine Good Citizen© certificate program is an in-hand program where horses (and their handlers) must learn skills to make them SAFE and a joy for anyone to handle. Horses will be required to learn good manners, obedience, confidence with obstacles, and useful skills such as lining up to a mounting block and loading into a trailer. The EGC© program can be used in a variety of formats including: a clinic series, lessons, or enrolling your horse into training. At the end of the program horses must receive a passing score on a test demonstrating their skills and confidence before being awarded their Equine Good Citizen© certificate. 

Bandana Club©

Connected Horsemanship's Bandana Club© was originally designed to be a fun, educational and motivating program for kids, but we now use it as a basic curriculum outline for all students wishing to climb the ranks of horsemanship.
When you meet the requirements and are ready, you can test for each progressive level to earn your Bandana and correlating 'privileges'. There should be at least one month (4 lessons) in-between each test. If you have previous experience, you can request to test into a specific level. In order to jump into a higher level you will need to show proficiency in all of the skills of the levels below the one you are testing into. For example, if you would like to test into the Orange level then you will need to be able to demonstrate/complete all of the requirements for white, gray, yellow and orange. There are a total of 10 levels, with each level getting progressively more difficult and requiring more.
It is our goal that all students should be able to work their way up to at least the green level (5). Please read through the levels and call or email me if you have any questions or would like to start your journey up the ranks of horsemanship!

Below are the first few Bandana Club© ranks and the requirements for each:



  • Has taken a minimum of 4 lessons (1 month)
  • Understands and can explain the basic difference between ‘natural aids’ and ‘mechanical aids’

Ground Work

  • Basic liberty work (walk, stop and turning)
  • Can lead and groom horse



  • Stop and turn left and right (figure 8) at a walk and trot



  • Identify the basic parts of the horse
  • Understands and demonstrates the "classical seat"
  • Has completed at least 2 riders seat and posture lessons


Ground Work:

  • Backing with you and away from you
  • Bending
  • Disengage hindquarters
  • Turn on haunches



  • Disengage hindquarters
  • Post the trot (only if students height allows for safe use of stirrups)
  • Walk and trot over ground poles
  • Softening to the bit- vertically and laterally
  • Back up
  • 20 meter circle at a trot
  • Change direction across the short and long diagonal


Complete test pattern:

  • Successfully complete Western Dressage Intro Test I




  • Identify the parts of the saddle and bridle
  • Can tack up horse (based on size of the student)
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the geometry of a dressage court by being able to draw, walk or ride a 20, 10 and 5 meter circles


Body Work:

  • Can compress horses legs and check into neck (based on size of student)
  • Can apply ‘figure 8’ body wrap


Ground Work:

  • Beginner round penning: walk, trot, canter both ways and change direction towards you



  • Side pass to and away from you



  • 90* turn on the forehand
  • 90* turn on the haunches
  • Leg Yield at a walk
  • Smooth & prompt walk to trot and trot to walk transitions at intervals of no more then 12 strides
  • 10 meter circle at a walk
  • Can canter/lope in the arena or round pen in a controlled manner


Complete Test Pattern:

  • Successfully complete Weshern Dressage Intro Test II



Level requirements subject to change without notice.