A Test / Working for the A Test

This is written to explain the standard of work required to pass ‘A’ Test, and to show the need for a long-term programme of preparation.


  • The preparation for ‘A’ Test should be progressive and continuous.
  • The years between ‘B’ Test and ‘A’ Test must be spent in conscious preparation. Intense or ‘crash’ courses are rarely successful.

Note: You may apply to take the ‘A’ Test before the date of your AH Test but you will have to withdraw if you fail to pass AH. Candidates must have had practical experience with horses as well as ponies.

To pass the A Test you must:

  • Have a genuine desire for knowledge and a need to understand the reasons behind what you do.
  • Be physically fit enough to ride without strain.
  • Be competent and brave enough to ride young and awkward horses.
  • Have a correct riding position which has become natural, so that you will not drop back into bad habits under stress.
  • Apply the aids correctly. A rider cannot expect a horse to be accurate and submissive if the aids are not clear and consistent.
  • Be practical; theoretical knowledge alone is not enough. It must be accepted by the assessors that you are practised and at ease with the tasks you have been given.
  • Know and understand the reasoning and logic behind the facts.
  • Show the ability to get an improved performance out of all horses that you ride.
  • Develop ‘feel’ for the way a horse is going, and know when and how to make corrections. It is even more important to be aware of when the horse is going well.
  • Expand the ability to suggest plans of work for each horse as an individual, rather than generic plans that will do no harm.


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