I'm sure everyone has their own opinion, and I'm sure it's also pretty subjective, but I was wondering how folks define the rider experience levels. Beginner, intermediate, advanced? What do they mean to you? Advanced beginner? Advance intermediate?
I'm working on wording for a sales add and want to get a feel for what other people think when they read "horse suitable for beginner/intermediate/advanced rider"
Beginner-appropriate: virtually bombproof; no spook/bolt/buck/rear/spin, turns with a light tug on each rein, stops and stands with light tug and/or WHOA, walks with a little kick, trots with a cluck/bigger kick/squeeze, canters with a kiss/bigger kick/hard squeeze thing, doesn't get sassy or test the rider, stands at the mounting block, lets you lean all over. Will pop at least a small jump without a fuss.
Intermediate-and-up-appropriate: may have a minor quirk or two (hops the first time you ask for the canter/first stride unless you TELL them you mean it, or a "fake" spook), may be fussy about the mounting block or allowing you to take contact on the reins, may need to be "worked down" a few minutes before settling, may not pick up the correct lead without really asking, may be more touchy about leg, or may just be too sensitive to the aids for someone that doesn't know what they're doing.
Advanced-and-up-appropriate: young/green horses with little-no training, horses with major issues/holes in training (confirmed buckers, confirmed bolters, rearing as evasion, etc.), horses very sensitive to hand/seat/leg and need a very quiet ride, horses with a LOT of training that would get fried doing up-down type stuff.
This is all very general though...more like a lesson-horse guide. Of course most horses advertised as packers should be beginner-safe. I consider a made horse one with all the "buttons" but perhaps not always suitable for a "dummy" rider or an inexperienced one. As far as what you can safely allow on any horse's back, I think my descriptions above are pretty accurate.
Then again...when I was four years old my aunt got me a show pony to trail ride that had a terrible confirmed spook and bolt (but I survived) and when I was 13, I got a "intermediate appropriate" TB that bucked/hopped instead of cantered, ran at jumps, and ran and bucked after jumps. But I was okay with that too.
I guess it is somewhat situational. As a young teen, I was often in the "advanced" group at horse camp because I could WTC and go over small jumps. However, I'm sure any buck, spook, or other weirdness would have put me on the ground.
Now that we are searching for a horse for my daughter (who is probably around the same level), I realize that in the world of horse-shopping, we are essentially looking for a "beginner" or maybe "advanced beginner" horse. If the ad says, "Need intermediate rider!" it's probably not good for a kid rider who is still gaining confidence.
I do think that occasionally, someone will write in an ad that they want an intermediate rider, not because the horse is difficult, but just because they think their horse so well-trained they don't want it "messed up" by a beginner rider.
Beginner- as bombproof as you can get. A true packer horse that has no buck,bolt,bite,kick,rear. More of a kick ride than pull ride but should go easily between gaits when asked. Not fussy about much of anything. A been there done that type of horse. One that you'd feel safe putting a little child that's never rode on and teaching them to ride. Still can nicely jump courses if asked.
Adv beginner-still close to bombproof as you can get. Maybe a a little less easy off the leg but not by much. Still no bite,buck,rear,kick etc. Maybe has a little bit of an opinion but not much and still happily goes around. Can nicely go around a course but Maybe needs a little more of a rider to go around not just auto.
Intermediate-little more spirit in the horse. May have a spook or crow hop but no bucking or rearing. nothing to major. May have more of an opinion and needs someone to really ride not just passenger on. Could be more of a pull ride
Adv intermediate-even more spirit. Maybe more of a pull ride than above but still controlled. May have a crow hop or spook that's larger. May need more training or wet saddle pads but pretty sane. Needs to learn some new things possible or taught to jump a course. Not a been there done that horse that may have a little attitude
Advanced rider-horse has issues. Either buck,bite,rear,kick, or bolt Horse needs a lot of training is not an easy ride. Possibly very green or just under saddle. Needs a lot of training or attitude adjustment.
Also this could mean a horse that is very forward yet well behaved that needs a strong ride to ride. I see it a lot in dressage horses ESP upper level horses not that they are dangerous but the buttons are there that you better hit the right one.
Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole