Seaton Hackney Stables’ Troop Horseback Riding Program operates Fall, Winter, and Spring.

Whether your child is a beginner or advanced rider, Seaton Hackney Stables’ Troop Horseback Riding Program is a great social sport, allowing the riders to learn together…from each others’ successes and mistakes.

Riders learn much more than just how to ride a horse. In developing relationships with the horses, they learn responsibility, love, and trust. In addition, through riding, they improve their balance, and develop self-confidence while being physically active and enjoying the great outdoors. More importantly,

Seaton Hackney Stables’ Troop Horseback Riding Program operates Fall, Winter, and Spring. Participants are invited to attend our Fall and Spring Schooling Show to demonstrate their newly acquired riding skills prior to advancing to the next troop level.

Only when the criteria and goals of each level and their sections have been met, will the rider be able to progress to the next level. Because a rider has been in a certain level once, does not mean that they will automatically proceed to the next level or section. Riders may repeat a specific session based on the instructors recommendation. Instructors have the right to not graduate a rider to the next level if they do not feel that the rider is ready to progress. Instructors also, in the rider’s best interest, may advise that a rider move back into a previous level/section if they do not feel the rider is capable of handling the tasks and demands of the current level. Riders must be present for at least eighty per cent (80%) of the lessons in order to “graduate” to the next section or level.

In case of TWO inclement weather situations throughout the Session, there will be no rain –or personal- make-ups from Level 1 through Level 4. In case of bad weather, a badge will be offered instead of the riding lesson. Should there be a third occurrence of bad weather during a particular Session, a collective rain date will be decided upon by the instructor. Badge will be decided upon by the Instructor. At Levels 5 & 6, in case of bad weather, a collective rain date will be decided upon by the Instructor.

All sessions are one hour in length. Riders must arrive 15 minutes prior to their scheduled start time.
In case of inclement weather, riders will participate in a badge lesson in lieu of riding.

Troop Level Curriculum and Requirements

Troops are based upon different riding levels, ranging from Level 1A through Level 6. The beginner level Troops rarely consist of more than four riders at a time, often aided by assistant instructors, walkers and lead riders. Once the riders are able to efficiently control their horses, the number of riders in a Troop increases to six.

Most riders new to Troop will be initially evaluated and the evaluation will not only help the parties involved determine the Troop level, but also help us decide which horses and Instructors would benefit this rider the most.

During the last Troop session, the Instructor will determine whether a rider is ready to move up to the next Troop level.

When is troop offered?

Troop is 6 to 8 weeks in length and offered during the following months:


Winter Troop: January – February


Early Spring Troop: March – April


Late Spring Troop: May -June


Summer Troop: July – August


Early Fall Troop: September – October


Early Fall Troop: September – October

How do I register for a troop program?

Visit to our forms page for all the latest troop registration forms.

What are the advantages of riding in troop?

The Equestrian Learning Pie attributes equal importance to both private and group instruction. In Troop, participants are able to:

Witness the performance of their peers
Assimilate the good points while understanding the not so good ones
Feel less self-conscious and less pressure than in a private lesson
Get to ride different horses, accelerating the learning process
Benefit from a regular, structured schedule
Troop is also the most affordable way to ride at SHS!

What are the rules that apply to troop?

The Equestrian Learning Pie attributes equal importance to both private and group instruction. In Troop, participants are able to:


Riders must arrive 10-15 minutes before Troop starts. Once the group has started the session, late comers may not be able to join in


If a session is missed because due to tardiness or personal reasons, that session may not be made up


It is quite normal to remain at the same Troop Level for several semesters while mastering skills required to move up


There are Badges associated with moving from one Troop level up to the next. These Badges are either pre-scheduled by the Stables, or, in case of bad weather, up to two indoor Badges per semester will be substituted for the riding lesson

What are the progressive goals of each level?


PEP Troop (5-7y.o.)

Geared as a sequel to PEP, this entire lesson is on horseback with nearby walkers helping riders follow the Instructor’s prompts. Safe and entertaining!


Level 1 Progressive Goals

Can safely handle and control the horse while on the ground and astride; pay attention to the Instructor, focus and follow directions and demonstrate the “1,2,3” method of picking up, holding, and adjusting reins. Understand and perform Equisthenics; check and tighten the girth and adjust proper stirrup length from the ground; mount with a mounting block or leg-up; master the correct walking position; and maintain the proper distance in the ring.

As Level 1 progresses: Learn to post the trot; lead a Level 1 horse to the ring without assistance; ask a horse to stop, walk, trot, and turn; learn to adjust stirrups while mounted; hold and use a crop; lengthen and adjust reins at the walk and trot; trot with rhythm and consistency; learn to check and change diagonals; practice the two-point position at the walk & trot.


Level 2 Progressive Goals

Learn to properly groom and tack up; lead horse to ring, adjust stirrups and girth; maintain the trot an entire ring length; correct wrong diagonals; demonstrate improved position at the walk and trot; As Level 2 progresses: Know how to cool off a horse; change diagonals without prompts; perform half-voltes, half-schools and diagonal changes; perform 20 meter circles; learn ring letters; learn the sitting trot without stirrups; stop, walk, turn and control the horse bareback.


Level 3 Progressive Goals

Can groom, tack, mount & walk the rail without instruction. Smoothly complete transitions and consistently maintain requested gait. Learn and demonstrate a proper half-halt; able to change direction at the posting trot and automatically change diagonals as needed. Able to walk and trot figure-8s and use ring wisely. Show proficiency at the walk and trot with or without stirrups, sitting or posting, with or without saddle; able to ask for the canter and maintain pace for two laps. Can recognize lead and perform a simple lead change.

As Level 3 progresses: Confident trotting over single 18” cross rails in a straight line while maintaining a rhythmic trot. Willing to confidently ride horses levels 1-3. Can demonstrate a proper half-halt. Can ride a smooth posting trot with heels down, legs and hands quiet, body tall, and on the correct diagonal; able to adjust speed at any gait using half-halts; able to post the trot 3 full laps without stirrups and addressing diagonals; able to change from half-seat to full-seat while cantering; become secure at the canter and demonstrate it by cantering on the lunge line without holding on to the reins or to the saddle for approximately one minute. Able to pass other horses in the ring, allowing sufficient spacing, and alerting the other rider with “inside/outside”; canter a single vertical. Able to ask horse to lengthen and collect at the walk & trot, know the difference between working, collected and extended gaits. Begin to understand movement of the horse and start to establish the correct diagonal without looking; able to count strides at the canter while working over small verticals.


Level 4 progressive goals

Meets the goals of all prior levels. Able to post the trot bareback 5 laps. Understands leg yields and is able to correctly execute. Consistently canters on the correct lead without breaking. Can demonstrate a proper simple lead change (canter-trot-canter). Uses seat aids appropriately, especially during sitting trot, half-halts and transitions. Is able to collect (in full seat) and extend (in half seat) at the canter. Able to canter a circle without breaking. Consistently demonstrates proper two-point position over jumps. Learns, understands and applies the Jumping Theory (Pace-Ask-Line-Ask-Line. Can trot in, canter out 8 jumps (outside & diagonal lines) to complete a full course.


Level 5 Progressive Goals

Meet the goals of all prior levels. Understands and applies correct aids at the walk, trot, canter and halt. Maintains correct position and control at the walk, trot and canter. Consistently picks up the correct diagonal from the walk or sitting trot without being prompted. Able to feel leads and correct them immediately, bend, and put the horse on the bit at all gaits. Can show groom, braid, use clippers, apply bandages, pick hooves and help teach these to lower level riders. Can properly perform upward and downward transitions including walk-canter. Can pick up a canter from the walk, without using a corner. Is able to collect and extend horse at all gaits. Is confident and has correct position over a course of verticals up to 2’3”.


Level 6 Progressive Goals

Correct diagonal and leads immediately and without looking. Feel confident jumping fences up to 3’. Is able to complete a course of 2’6”- 2’9 verticals, judging correct distances, and employing simple or flying lead changes without instruction. Able to hand gallop a horse around the track safely and in control. Can perform any First Level dressage test with a minimum score of 70%. Can perform a Novice Level cross-country course clean or a Training Level cross-country course with no more than one refusal. Is able and willing to teach any Badge taught at the farm and can teach or assist with the teaching of beginner riders.

Demonstrate ability to work with green or young horses patiently and confidently; can ride any horse used in the program; can maintain control, calm and consistency in correcting a green or evading horse. Able to bend a horse, use lateral aids and ask a horse to come onto the bit at all gaits. Understand and apply the free walk, as well as working, extended and collected walk, trot, and canter. Able to spot and correct a wrong lead from the first foot placement.

Understand and apply turn on the haunches / forehand and ride a shoulder in / haunches in. Able to hold the counter canter in a serpentine and figure of 8. Able to place/perform well in a Training Level combined training event.


Dear Marc and all the team,

Our daughter, Selda, loves her experiences at SHS. Riding first in PEP, then in troop sue has many encouraging, confidence-building instructors. In shows she feels proud and capable. As a volunteer, she enjoys the feeling that of responsibility and solving problems. Now as a CIT she loves the nice people, the responsibility and the appropriate level of challenge. She has become so independent, in part because of the trust and mentoring everyone their gives her: from the office, to the ring, to the stalls, and now at Lake Rickabear.

We applaud you all for the encouraging, safe, positive culture you have nurtured. We are also grateful for all the opportunities for self-development, learning and job skills you have offered Selda. I can imagine you might have some stress and hard days. Hold on to this screenshot and know that you are doing a great job! 7/2022

I would like to thank you and your staff for the time you dedicated to our kids. It was such an incredible day all around and you just topped it off for them. They loved the horses. Your staff and your kindness is so greatly appreciated. We will be sending an email to all the parents of the students that participated to give them your name and phone number of your stable. Thanks again and if there is ever anything we can do to help you as a organization please ask. The Lions club and Leos club would gladly help.
Barbara G.

Looking forward to it! Jillian is proudly riding in your groups for children with special needs and we continue to be very grateful of your support and for giving our daughter a place where she feels like she belongs!

Jodi G.

My son Anthony “AJ” Laska attended pony share camp at Alverthorpe Park in Abington, Pennsylvania from July 7-10, 2014. I have to tell you how impressed I was with the program and the staff. Fernando was very organized and kept the program moving at a good pace. I loved how he taught them the basic safety rules, which is not easy with younger children. Emily, Luisa, and Hector were FANTASTIC too. They really made the activities enjoyable and fun. My son was one of the youngest children there, and they were so kind and patient with him. The staff demonstrated their knowledge of the horses and took good care of them. They also made sure that each child had time to ride. As a mother, I was just so delighted and thrilled with the program that I can’t wait to enroll him again next year! So a big “thank you” again to Fernando, Emily, Luisa, and Hector for a wonderful week.

 Mary L.

I was one of your first Equishare riders back in the mid ’80s. My horse was DJ. I am still thankful for the training you gave me. I still ride for pleasure and enjoy watching my daughter ride who is starting to show and is part of the USEF High School Equistrian Athlete Program. Looks like you are doing amazing work with children in NJ. Wish you all the best for a great 2015.

Trish M.

My daughter has always had a wonderful experience at Seaton Hackney, the staff have never been anything but welcoming, the horses are wonderful and Kaylea loves them all. We have tried other barns, but as a beginning family we were not welcomed at other barns as much as we have been at SHS. Thank you for all you do for your riders and horses!

Erin M.

Seaton Hackney has helped me become the rider that I am today, especially Gillian. Gillian is fun but focused on my safety. My daughter has ridden at Seaton Hackney Stables since she was four-years-old. She always enjoyed participating in the horse shows at the facility and enjoy the Barn shows in the fall and spring. I also had fun at Seaton Hackney at camp this past summer.

I have learned responsibility of taking care of the horse and the tack. Riding has helped me learn about competition and both winning and losing.

Kathyrn D. 

I love the stables because I get to ride my horses and it’s fun. I also like grooming the ponies. Elvis always remembers who I am and licks my hand. He’s fuzzy and cute.

Cat Z.

As the dad of a young lady that rides at Seaton Hackney, I could not agree more about the quality of the facility and of the instruction they provide.


Seaton Hackney Stables has changed my life. I can honestly say that without the joy of horses, I would have gone through life with an emptiness that I didn’t even know existed. The horses and the staff are part of my family. It’s an amazing facility with quality instructors and horses.

Stacey G.

Trail Riding

Two friends and I decided to go horseback riding and we were looking for a stable in Northern NJ. While there were a few in the area, we chose Seaton Hackney and had a great time. When you call to set up your ride in advance, they prep you extremely well and set great expectations. It didn't feel commercial what so ever, and we always felt we were in great hands. Our instructor Jen was AWESOME, always making sure we were good but also empowering us to ride. Price was pretty decent for a group, less expensive than other stables in the area. The trail was pretty and actually public, so a bunch of people were so happy to see us. Every point of contact was very welcoming, and I will definitely be coming back here.  

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