Sterling Hill Riding Academy - Horse Training - Murrieta, CA
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Horse Training

We specialize in Morgan Show Horses with disciplines in English Pleasure/Pleasure Driving, Park Saddle, Classic Pleasure/Driving, Western Pleasure, Hunter Pleasure, Equitation, and In Hand. Sterling Hill Training's  goal is to customize your horses training to make the horses suitable for the rider/owner and mold them into top contenders in the show circuit.  Our main focus is to encourage Jr. exhibitor and amateur riders to have solid skills and confidence being with their team.  We strive to teach each rider that although we all want to win, it really is the journey to the victory that makes it so great.

In any competition and discipline, classes may be broken down by age division and experience.

but not limited to:

English Pleasure: 

English Pleasure is a style of riding  designed to show off the high trotting action of certain breeds. The style developed into its modern form in the United States, and is also seen in Canada and South Africa.

Horses that naturally have an upright neck with high head carriage, as well as animated gaits and high action are best at English Pleasure. They should be very energetic but still remain responsive to the rider's aids. 

Morgans offer different divisions like Park, English Pleasure, and Classic Pleasure classes. Each class may ask for different variations of the gaits, extended gaits, and sometimes for any specialized gaits. 

There is sometimes confusion between saddle seat and hunt seat disciplines among individuals who are neither familiar with different styles of English saddle or the substantial differences in rider position and attire between the disciplines.

Hunter Pleasure:

In the Hunter Pleasure Division, the horse is judged "on the flat," meaning jumping is not involved. In show hunter classes, the horse's movement and manners are judged, with quality of movement paramount.  Horses are shown at the walk, trot, and canter. In some classes, backing, an extended trot, and a hand gallop may also be required. The horse's manners and suitability for the rider are ranked more highly than quality of conformation and movement. The horse should look like it is a pleasure to ride.  Suitable hunt seat horses should have a long stride with a little knee action.

Western Pleasure:

Western style competition at shows evaluates horses on manners and suitability of the horse for a relaxed but collected cadence and relatively slow speed of gait, along with a calm and responsive disposition. The brilliant silver trim worn on their saddles and bridles only enhances the Morgans' natural beauty. Western horses work at a walk and a jog trot suitable for covering miles of range, and a slow, rocking-horse-like lope. The term “pleasure" comes from the relaxed appearance of the horse and the style of riding used in the show arena. In reality, western pleasure horses have countless hours of training put into teaching them to achieve this look.


For horse training purposes, "driving" may also include the practice of long-lining, wherein a horse is driven without a cart by a handler walking behind or behind and to the side of the animal. This technique is used in the early stages of training horses for riding as well as for driving.  Horses are then introduced to pulling a very lightweight one-person cart

 Pleasure competitions are judged on the turnout/neatness or suitability of horse.  Pleasure driving, horses are usually hitched to a light, two-wheeled cart, and shown at a walk and two speeds of trot, with an emphasis on manners. 

Fine harness: (also called park harness) Horses are hitched to a light four-wheeled cart and shown in a manner that emphasizes flashy action and dramatic performance. Most fine harness competition requires horses to perform a high-stepping, animated walk, and two types of a high-action "park" trot, a slow trot with more controlled but elegant action, and a faster, flashier trot where the horse exhibits the most animation possible, often announced by the command "show your horses".  

Roadster: A horse show competition, usually for ponies, (a few light horse breeds also offer roadster classes), where exhibitors wear racing silks and ride in a sulky in a style akin to harness racing, without actually racing, but focusing on manners and performance. Roadsters are shown at two types of trot, known as road gait and at speed.

Cowboy Dressage:

A combination of the best of both worlds: Traditional western and classical horsemanship. Each discipline of horsemanship is time honored and recognized on its own. When you combine the philosophy and practice of each and add music, you create art. Art is what Cowboy Dressage is all about: a medium of self-expression through the freedom of pure horsemanship.  Emphasis is placed on a "soft feel" concept which showcases the true partnership between horse and rider.

Please See Equitation Page 

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