Full Horsemanship Program

NCMT takes pride in its unique approach to teaching horsemanship through a hands-on experience.  All programs are designed to encourage children’s personal growth by promoting fundamental values such as leadership, responsibility, confidence, work ethic and teamwork in a safe, fun, family atmosphere.  These are important around the barn but are also highly valuable through life: they can help each child excel in his or her future.

Whether a student rides once or twice a week, everyone is required to attend an “Equine Care or Barn Day” once a week.


The bond between horse and rider is depicted so eloquently in this

YouTube video, enjoy. (Click the link below)

Equestrianism: It’s quite a Unique Sport by raythegoth 

The Junior Cavalry of America ranks Troopers based on participation level, spirit, horsemanship skills and years of service. All new members start as Inductees and are promoted through the ranks of Cadet, Corporal, Sergeant, Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant and Captain. The Cadet Major is the top ranking Officer and is elected by peers to be the leader of the entire Troop for the program year. The promotion process is based on a combination of the following criteria:

  • General program attendance
  • Equine Care “Barn Day” performance and work ethic
  • Overall effort and dedication
  • Troop spirit, sportsmanship, courteousness, willingness to help
  • Horsemanship Skills
  • Observance of NCMT rules

Troopers can expect to serve a minimum of one year at each ranking level before earning the right to be promoted at the Review Ceremony.

Children initially join NCMT as an Inductee. They officially become a Cadet at either the December or the June Review Ceremony. Tradition calls for them to recite the Cadet Pledge, as originally worded by Margaret Cabell Self, during the ceremony.

Cadet Pledge: I pledge myself to be kind to animals. To be a sportsperson, win or lose. To be courteous and obedient to my Officers. To work and play with other Cadets as I would have them work and play with me. To hold honor, truth, and courage in high regard.

Review Ceremonies are held in December and June. Troopers are honored with awards and promoted to recognize individual achievements at each ceremony, which is followed by a horse show. This is an important NCMT tradition that all Troopers should attend.

The Full Horsemanship and Equine Care programs are available to children ages 7-17 (after graduating high school, students are considered adult riders). The program combines weekly group riding lessons and participation in the Equine Care Program. Students are required to attend both riding and a designated Equine Care Day, also called “Barn Day”. All riding lessons are taught in a group format, with up to 5 riders per class. Each class is one hour long. Students learn to ride a variety of horses/ponies appropriate for their level. Professional instructors teach the fundamentals of hunt seat equitation using a comprehensive curriculum that ensures consistency across all riding levels. ALL registration forms must be fully completed to participate in the program. All Troopers are required to select one Equine Care Day shift. Children aged 9 and under are expected to devote 1 1/2 hours to their designated barn day. Children aged 10 and older are expected to devote 2 to 4 hours to the barn day, depending on their scheduled day. When an officer (Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant or Captain) needs to miss a barn day, he or she is required to find an appropriate substitute and to inform the office. Lower ranking cadets must notify the office of their absence and schedule a makeup.

The curriculum is structured to incorporate all facets of horsemanship, equine care, and showmanship. Each week will feature a particular equine-related topic such as:

  • Barn and Equine Safety
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Horse Tack and Apparel
  • Barn Tools and Practices
  • Grooming Techniques
  • Equine Disorders, Diseases and Treatment
  • Showmanship
  • Rider Equipment and Apparel

It is the role of the Captain to mentor, assist and train younger Troopers on how to complete the barn day tasks to ensure that the tack room, grooming stalls and barn aisles are clean and orderly. Tasks that must be completed at each Barn Day include:

  • Sweeping and blowing aisles
  • Grooming horses
  • Putting away grooming tools
  • Laundry
  • Feeding hay and grain
  • Watering
  • Cleaning tack and organizing the tack room
  • Appropriate footwear – paddock boots or work boots – is required.  Sneakers, sandals, flip-flops, and open-toed shoes are not safe in the barn and not permitted.
  • Long trousers/pants/jeans are strongly recommended.  For safety, these should not drag on the ground.
  • Tank tops are not recommended.
  • Gloves are recommended.
  • Please wear warm clothes in winter to ensure comfort during barn day.

Troop Leadership Council 

The Leadership Council is open to Troopers who are in High School or a 1st Lt. and wish to further their commitment to NCMT. Based on our mission statement which is “devoted to building leadership, responsibility and confidence in youth”, the Leadership Council provides an opportunity for those Troopers to take a leadership role. A member of the Leadership Council must attend his/her workday regularly, have a strong work ethic, and be a role model to fellow Troopers. Juniors and seniors are expected to be responsible for organizing one social event each year.

Drill Team

Leadership Council participants typically join the Drill Team and demonstrate their riding skills as a group at special NCMT events. An exciting event for all to watch!

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