Riding

overview

This skill article is written with a slant towards horse riding due to the overwhelming prevalence of horses as mounts. However, the essential principles apply to all rideable species. When taking Riding as a skill, the mount animal must be specified, i.e. Riding (Horse), Riding (Dog).

Professional Applications

intro

Messenger: Someone with Professional-level Riding skill can work as a messenger within a polity, provided it is laid out in a way that enables riding from one area to another.

Courier: A courier travels between polities at speed, and thus requires at minimum the Endurance Expertise. Exceptional-level Riding (Working, Endurance, and any other) is strongly recommended for this profession.

Trainer: A character with the "Training" Expertise can set themselves up as a trainer of new mounts. However, they will need to progress in Animal Husbandry to do more than that basic training.

Fields of Expertise

Working: This expertise covers everyday high-effort activities such as galloping, herding, and roping, and is necessary for competitive racing. Working should typically be the first Expertise taken by a rider, but is not required as such.

Jumping: Encompasses guiding and sitting a mount through difficult jumps or multiple jumps in succession, and also managing them through very rough terrain. Necessary for competitive jumping.

Performance: This Expertise covers activities in which balance, control, and rhythm on the parts of both mount and rider are critical. Includes dressage, trick riding, and vaulting.

Endurance: The ability to ride over long distances and multiple days with minimal breaks. Also encompasses recognizing and to a basic extent dealing with health problems related to such extended effort.

Training: Specifically, this Expertise encompasses habituating a new mount to tack and rider and also applying corrective training to a mount with bad habits. Can be cross-trained with Animal Husbandry (Basic Training) provided one has an appropriate specialty in that skill.

Proficiency Levels

Amateur

Amateur proficiency encompasses those who have never ridden, those who are in the process of learning to ride, and those who ride casually, neither as part of their profession nor participating in competitions. People at this level may be familiar with routine riding-related care for their mount (i.e. grooming, hoof cleaning, cooling off), with the appropriate tack and its maintenance, and with directing their mount in basic ways, mostly through the use of external cues (e.g. reins) and trained responses to them. They are not competent to ride at high speeds (canter, gallop), but routinely use low and medium gaits (walk, trot).

Amateurs are still establishing good posture for themselves in the saddle. They are liable to lose their balance, give multiple simultaneous (and contradictory) directions to their mount, give incorrect directions, simply be ignored by their mount, or find themselves rapidly out of their depth as a simple situation escalates beyond their experience to handle. Amateurs should only ride well-trained mounts with amicable dispositions.

Professional

Exceptional

Master

Resources

  • The Great Big Hole in the Middle - An essay regarding the fine points of communication between horse and rider, particularly through the seat (rider posture), and differences in what horses and riders expect. (webpage)
  • Dressage Moves - An introduction to three basic dressage moves. (pdf)
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