I'd describe myself as a novice, although I have my own and ride a lot (most days when horses are sound and the world isn't flooded/under thick blanket of fog). When I was having lessons, riding lots of different horses and pushing myself a bit I think I might have been what 50bales describes as an improver. Except in the emerging discipline of sideways show jumping, in which I was once a brave and lone pioneer.
I would expect a novice to be able to hop onto an average horse and get round a smallish jumping course and be able to carry out a basic dressage test. All transitions, confidently and be able to cope with basic naughty behaviour, the odd buck/spook/refusal.
Beginner to me would someone who could canter and jump a very easy horse. A point and aim type horse. Probably has little style and maybe lacking confidence.
Someone who couldn't do very basic canter/jump i would simply say is unable to ride.Maybe my grading is a little harsh but i have seen people go from no experience to popping over a small cross country course in the space of a week. So they would be beginners to me.
Intermediate would be someone who has a bit more style than a novice and can probably cope with a quite naughty spirited youngster. A lot of confidence and no worries about riding an unknown horse. Should be able to do most dressage movements and get round most courses.
Advanced would be someone who would ride anything and ride it very well indeed. They make the horse look like a completely different animal. It all looks very effortless.
Just because someone has been riding for longer and owns horses it doesn't put them in a higher catogory. Well not in my book. They could very well have spent that decade riding dobbins and fall to pieces when put on anything else. I would put myself in intermediate with no chance of ever becoming advanced. Whilst i would have no problem jumping on any animal put in front of me, i probably wouln't get the very best out of it.
I'd say a novice is someone who can hack out safely on a well behaved horse, but who isn't particularly capable in the school, and who wouldn't cope with napping, sudden spooking, jogging etc from a hotter or less experienced horse
In the school I'd say a novice can do basic transitions, circles etc in all paces and can pop a couple of jumps on an experienced horse, but who doesn't necessarily have the horse in front of the leg and in an outline, doesn't understand varying the stride within the pace,or direct transitions (walk to canter for example) and can't do basic lateral work, see the line and strides to a fence and know when to collect. Once you can do those things I'd describe you as an 'improver'
A novice can ride a well behaved horse, staying balanced in walk/trot/canter and perhaps gallop, hacking out ok in company or alone, able to jump a small jump, perhaps knowing the basics of how to get a horse on the bit. For you, when you look for horses, anything that says 'not a novice ride' isn't for you.
Hmm, am now thinking there are going to be lots of answers to this, as 'novice' probably means something different in the competition world, of which I know very little. I'm just talking about generally, if I had a friend who wanted to ride my horse and I was wondering if she was experienced enough iyswim.
I think it is a bit of a grey area, as you've seen it means different things to different people! For me a novice (rather than a beginner) would be someone who knows the aids for basic transitions and turning, has a reasonably independent seat and can stay balanced at all paces on a steady horse. They may not necessarily be able to sit an unexpected buck or have the seat or reactions to deal with a nappy horse or one that's getting a bit strong. I would want a horse described as suitable for a novice to have manners enough to not rush off if other horses do, to be safe on the roads and in open spaces, basically to be straightforward, kind and honest.
I am a bit confused about the meaning of novice rider.
I describe myself as novice. I have ridden for a few years (on and off), have never owned a horse, know the basics of riding and horse care but nothing more advanced.
However my friend who has owned two horses and ridden every day for the last 10+ years also describes herself as 'novice' on the basis she does not consider herself to be 'advanced' ie. she just does hacking and light schooling.
I also recently went to a riding school which had 4 classes of lessons: Beginner, Novice, Intermediate and Advanced. The teacher said in my assessment class that I was 'Intermediate'. I appreciate that this was just in the context of that riding school though. (To be honest I think the criteria for 'Intermediate' was just being able to canter, whereas 'Novice' was learning to canter.)
I just want to establish the best way to describe my riding ability, for when I come to look for my own horse (hopefully in a few months). Should I describe myself as a 'Beginner' rather than 'Novice'? Or does 'Beginner' imply that I am a complete beginner as in just learning to trot?!
And if a horse is described as 'suitable for a novice' what exactly does that mean? Who exactly is that horse suitable for?