Straightness Matters!

Sign up for this FREE 4-Day Exclusive Online Training.

The Challenge begins November 21, 2018

(Not sure if this is for you? Scroll down to read ALL about it!)

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What is Straightness and WHY does it Matter?!

The price you and your horse pay for crookedness is high. A crooked horse will:

- make his turns smaller than intended towards his stiffer (convex) side and larger than intended towards his hollow (concave) side.

- tend to veer away from the line of travel towards the stiffer side.

- tend to stop crooked or with the hind leg of the stiffer side out behind.

- be difficult to bend towards the stiffer side.

- possibly have trouble cantering on the stiffer side.

- find it difficult to sidestep with the hind leg on the hollow side.

- lean onto the rein of the stiffer side, while staying behind the rein of the hollow side. 

- overload the legs of the stiffer side, making them susceptible to repetitive stress injuries like spavin, ring bone, and tendon injuries.


Crookedness causes imbalance and any imbalance also leads to muscle blockages in an attempt to prevent falling down. True relaxation and suppleness is only possible when the horse is balanced, and balance is not possible as long as the horse is crooked. 

When the horse braces his muscles against the ground and against the rider in order not to fall down, his gaits will be uncomfortable to sit because the hind legs don’t flex and open their joints in an elastic manner. This creates tightness in the horse’s back and a roughness in the gait: the back won’t swing. It won’t take you with it into the movement.

The rein contact on a crooked horse will not be light, steady, and even, when the horse is unbalanced. It will be significantly heavier or harder on one side than the other. On the stiffer side it will be difficult to get the horse to make contact with the outside rein.

When the horse’s hips and shoulders are not aligned properly on the line of travel, due to crookedness, the horse won’t be able to bend correctly, which has negative repercussions for his “throughness” (Durchlässigkeit), suppleness, rein contact, impulsion, and collection.

Sucking back and hiding behind the aids often leads to shying and even dangerous behaviors like bucking, rearing, and bolting, which is why many of the old classical authors mention that crookedness opens the door for dangerous disobediences.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Is it time to explore developing Straightness in your riding?

But you don't know where or how to begin?...

Then this Challenge is custom-tailored for YOU. (and it is totally FREE)

Okay, I'm in! Sign me up!

Straightness is the underpinning for all the other elements in the training scale.

When you look at the German Training Scale that consists of Rhythm, Relaxation, Rein Contact, Impulsion, Straightness, and Collection, you can see that four out of the six elements (Relaxation, Rein Contact, Impulsion, and Collection) are directly dependent on Straightness.

And even the purity of the Rhythm can be compromised by a lack of straightness. A crooked horse can move so  much out of rhythm that he actually appears lame.

It is in some ways the most basic part of the training scale which is why it should not be placed at the end, but rather at the very beginning, together with Rhythm. Straightness and Rhythm together enable the horse to find his lateral and longitudinal balance, which then allows the horse to relax, become “through” (durchlässig), find a light, steady, even rein contact, bend correctly, and to develop impulsion and collection.

You will learn:


  • What is the horse's stiff side and hollow side.
  • HOW to use exercises to help you identify which is which on your horse
  • How to incorporate your horse's responses and feedback into your assessment.
  • HOW to use those same (and other) exercises to address those crookedness issues
  • How exercises can make this process FUN and INTERACTIVE with your horse.
  • How to begin. The first step can be the hardest. And we're going to guide you.
  • 3 SIMPLE exercises YOU ride immediately which will help you understand the concepts better, identify where your horse's issues are, and determine how to address them.

Meet your Instructors

Thomas & Shana Ritter

Located in Germany, Thomas is an International Clinician and author of  "Dressage Principles based on Biomechanics" and "Long Reining: From the Beginning through the Levade" (published by Cadmos Press in both English and German) and countless articles in many publications. Shana is a USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist. Together they create and orchestrate the Artistic Dressage program.

WHAT is a Challenge and HOW does it work?

√ Sign up by clicking the button below. On the confirmation page, you will receive a link to the Facebook group for the Challenge. Please request to join.

√ We will create an account just for you (if you already have one with us, you will access the challenge through your existing account).

√ If this is a new account, you will receive an email with your login information and password. Log in immediately and get oriented with the course platform.

√ You will also receive a welcome email with instructions and the full schedule.

√ In that email there is a link you can click to sign up for Facebook Messenger Reminders. We highly recommend it so that you do not miss the live trainings. And if you do, we will send you the link to the replay.

√ The first three days of the Challenge (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) you will receive an email shortly before we begin with a link to the PDF of the exercise.

√ You can attend the LIVE training sessions in the Facebook Group or via Zoom Webinar. Instructions are provided beforehand.

√ In the LIVE training we explain how crookedness works and shows up in your riding. We will teach you how to use the exercise to help you identify your horse's stiff side and hollow side accurately. 

√ If you can't watch the session LIVE, you can still watch the recording for a few days before it is taken down.

√ There will be a downloadable PDF for each training which will include the exercise for the day and tips to help you ride it well.

√ You will also get access to video footage of the exercise being ridden by other riders with our commentary, so you can see how it works "in action" and learn through watching.

√ If you are able to, we want you to go ride the exercises with your horse within the next day or so. Put what you learn into practice right away.

√ You can post your updates, progress, and discoveries in the Facebook group.

√ On 3rd day you will receive "homework" to work on over the next 5 days.

√ On the 4th day of the challenge (Thursday November 29), we will meet for a Recap and Summary Live Training where you can come with the results of your homework and ask any questions that came up as a result of the work you did.

√ and... The person who shares the most significant progress or discoveries within the Challenge will WIN deluxe enrollment in our upcoming Straightness Course. So get your video cameras out and get filming those exercises!!!

I want to do this! Sign me up!


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