Aware Rider 2022

 "Curiouser and Curiouser" 

Join us as we go down the rabbit hole of exploration on what it means to be in relationship with our horses, ourselves, and the training process.

What previous Aware Rider Students had to say:

"I’m ready for part 3!! These courses are so thought provoking and packed with information! I have listened to them at least three times each!! I learn something new every time. My body awareness, my connection with my horses, and my riding have improved so much from what I learned I can’t wait for more!"
- Barbara Farino

"What I have received from The Aware Rider course is a message of hope. Both Catherine McCrum and Charlotte Zetterberg have pointed me in new directions regarding my body. So many of their teachings help me defy aging! The deceptively simple movements and techniques these two ninja women generously share are all gems in their own right. Not only are the things I learn here applicable and useful for my own riding but for everyday living and moving about! They are kind guides, leading all of us on a wonderful trail towards less pain, more awareness and suppleness that I never thought possible. The old rules I lived by of "push through" drift away once I have been exposed to their teachings. I am humbled and amazed by both of them and grateful that Shana and Thomas Ritter discovered and fostered a platform for them!" - Ingrid Edisen, USA

The 2022 Aware Rider Program Schedule:

Week 1 - Building a strong and mutually beneficial partnership with your horse
Monday, June 27 - Discussion & Short ATM Lesson 6:00pm GMT+1
Wednesday, June 29 - Exploration Meeting 12:00pm GMT+1 (optional)
Thursday, June 30 - Full Length ATM Lesson 10:00am GMT+1

Week 2 - A dialogue not a monologue - walking in your horse’s hooves
Monday, July 4 - Discussion & Short ATM 6:00pm GMT+1
Wednesday, July 6 - Exploration Meeting 3:00pm GMT+1
Thursday, July 7 - Full Length ATM 10:00am GMT+1

Week 3 - Somatic communication - an embodied and whole-hearted approach to conversation
Monday, July 11 - Discussion & Short ATM 6:00pm GMT+1
Wednesday, July 13 - Exploration Meeting 12:00pm GMT+1
Thursday, July 14 - Full Length ATM 10:00am GMT+1

Week 4 - Seeing, sensing and engaging with the *phenomenological world of your horse
Monday, July 18 - Discussion & Short ATM 6:00pm GMT+1
Wednesday, July 20 - Exploration Meeting 3:00pm GMT+1
Thursday, July 21 - Full Length ATM 10:00am GMT+1
One-Week Break (July 25-31)

Week 5 - Finding the focus (yet remaining adaptable!)
Monday, August 1 - Discussion & Short ATM 6:00pm GMT+1
Wednesday, August 3 - Exploration Meeting 12:00pm GMT+1
Thursday, August 4 - Full Length ATM 10:00am GMT+1

Week 6 - Ending well - savouring the moment and knowing how to rest
Monday, August 8 - Discussion & Short ATM 6:00pm GMT+1
Wednesday, August 10 - Exploration Meeting 3:00pm GMT+1
Thursday, August 11- Full Length ATM 10:00am GMT+1


More from previous Aware Rider Students:

"My whole seat changed. My horse's back comes up, because my legs give room to do that. She breathes better because there is less tension in my thighs. For me, it feels like I am sitting with more connection more inside the horse. My back problems got much better, also my knee pain is gone. I have scoliosis and the left side of my pelvis was moving differently that evened out and my shoulders and neck are not (so) tense anymore. My posture and movement changed and feels easier and I move with less effort. I grew awareness in my upper spine and how every movement is producing an echo that resonates through the whole body." - Verena Meyer, Germany

"For me, Feldenkrais has and is still opening new doors of knowing my body and it's movement patterns. I have always been very analytic and concious of my body but Feldenkrais has given me tools to get to know my "black spots", help change bad habits and evening out my sides. Feldenkrais + Ritter dressage learning shows many positive ways in my riding. From sessions I have learned little movements and feel which I can use in my ordinary life, like supporting good posture. The best part is how calm and rested I feel after each session, helping reduce stress." - Maija Ylämäki, Finland

"For me, I now have an increased awareness that was absent before. I really never paid much attention to habits and replacing those habits with new ways of doing things. I can now detect subtle differences in my body position. And I also am paying attention to moving in different ways. So the increased awareness has been the biggest change for me. I've never been one to spend much time on visualization and imagination. So imagining a movement, instead of actually doing it has been very successful. I still need to work on applying all of this in my riding and other aspects of my life, but I am starting to make it a part of who I am. Instead of pushing myself physically, to the point of needing to back off, I now have another option available to me to make improvements in my way of going." - Brenda Foster, Canada

“I loved the Aware Rider course. I had never thought about body movement in that way and it was a huge eye-opener for me. It made a big difference to my posture in general not just my riding position. An added bonus was that the lessons really relaxed me; I'm not sure they were supposed to but I am certainly not complaining!” - Jane Amaku, UK

“Developing an 'Intelligent Riders Seat' has been brought about by my participation in the Ritter Aware Rider Program. Warning!! The sense of achievement is addictive. I realized that I was a rider that lacked 'feeling' resulting in stiffness in my aids & seat. I'm now aware enough to be able to ride half half to halt halt as opposed to dressage movement to movement, just like the pros do!!! Happy days. I rode my first ever extended trot sitting while on this course. This is the course that keeps on giving even after it finishes, providing learnings that continue to change the way I move in and out of the saddle.” - Anne-Marie Spear, South Africa

"For me, the concept of elbow hip connection, the bridge and kneeling seat have been instrumental in helping me develop a better connection. I find I feel things more subtly when I’m out hacking but not so much in the arena. Perhaps I am more relaxed out of the arena as is my horse. I seem to put less pressure on myself or my horse to get things right. At the moment I feel there are so many things I need to work on myself as well as with my horse. Out hacking I only choose 1 or 2 ingredients to work on which seems to go better for me and my horse." - Sharon France, UK

“Hello everbody, my name is Yvonne. I'm a holistic equine therapist in Northern Germany. This is the course I have been waiting for! When I started Feldenkrais 10 years ago, I had several herniated vertebral discs, was in severe back pain, and felt really crooked. I was very unhappy because I could not find my center and didn't know how to change it. The first thing I learned in the Feldenkrais group sessions was, that it is okay not to be perfect. It helped so much to notice that it is all about becoming aware of how my posture and my body confirmation are not about judging... I then could leave the state of wrong and right behind me and enter the world of exploration and finding what feels good for me. On the mat practicing, I learned a lot about the rider's seat and why some positions are counterproductive on the horse. Needless to say, my back pain completely vanished.
I started to take some habits of the Feldenkrais lessons into the arena. For example, when I get on a horse now, I start with a body scan: how do I sit (literally), how does my pelvis move, How is the horse today, his energy, how are the hindlegs moving.... and so on. I do the same with my students. It helps bring them into the moment and get connected with the horse. This was a good start, but I wanted more! I wished so badly for an instructor who would combine classical dressage with Feldenkrais. Who was able to put lessons together that addressed specifically riding-related movements. You can imagine HOW HAPPY I was when I found Shana and Thomas Ritter. The moment I found out, they were working with Catherine McCrum a Feldenkrais teacher. Taking The Aware Rider course, took my riding to the next level. It didn't bring big changes for me, but many small ones which make a big difference in the quality. I can't wait to learn more.
A big thank you from the bottom of my heart, Shana Ritter, Thomas Ritter, and Catherine McCrum, for putting this course together!” - Yvonne Lübcke, Germany
(NOTE: Yvonne has now joined us as one of the teachers for the Aware Rider 2022 course!!!)