The Horse Rider badge is an earned grade-level award for Junior Girl Scouts who want to learn how to care for a horse and ride safely on roads or trails. You choose six options from a list of 10 requirements that cover basic horse care and riding skills. If you already know the basics, you can take them to a higher level and learn to explain them to others. If horse-riding is new to you, you may want to pursue the Horse Fan badge first.
Four options cover caring for a horse and preparing to ride. “Get Ready to Ride” teaches you to fit a saddle, bridle and halter onto a horse. “Equipment Expert” explains different types of saddles, bridles and bits, what each type is for, and how to clean and care for tack. “Clips, Combs and More” covers grooming and stable safety. “Horse Anatomy” teaches you to name the parts of the horse and describes some of the ailments they can have.
Six options involve riding. “In Good Form” teaches the correct way to mount, dismount and make the horse walk, trot, turn and stop. “Ride On” covers planning and taking part in a group trail or cross-country ride, including a picnic stop. “Horses, Safety, and You” covers safety rules and good manners for riders. You must demonstrate proper hand signals when riding on roads, and explain what to do in emergencies, for example if your horse rears or bolts. “New Skills” involves learning two new riding skills, such as cantering or jumping. “Perfect Your Form” involves learning basic riding skills, or teaching them to others. “See for Yourself” includes a trip to a horse show to watch or to take part.
Where to Learn
You can take lessons, usually with others from your Scout troop, at a ranch or riding stable approved by the Girl Scouts of the USA. At some stables you can cover the Horse Rider program in a two-hour session; at others you build up your skills gradually over several lessons. You can also choose to earn the badge while attending a horse camp during school vacations. As of the date of publication, costs are typically about $20 per person per hour for tuition, and about $300 for a five-day camp.
Other Horse Badges
Beginners can take the Horse Fan badge, which focuses on safety and building confidence. You learn how to groom, saddle, feed and care for ponies safely and correctly. This badge does not cover riding skills, but the stables may offer you a ride while you’re there, or let you go straight on to the Horse Rider program. Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors can pursue Horse Sense badges, and Boy Scouts have their own Horsemanship awards.
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