There are 3 Factors that Preserve & Improve Soundness

 

1. Balance

2. Straightness

3. Suppleness

And yet...

Without Straightness, there is no Balance.

Without Balance, there is no Suppleness.

And there is no Suppleness without Straightness, either.

So, if we look further into it... 

Balance consists of the two aspects of longitudinal balance and lateral balance.

Longitudinal balance  (i.e. an even weight distribution between front legs and hind legs) develops out of a regular tempo that is neither too fast nor too slow.

Lateral balance is the ability to distribute the weight evenly between the left pair of legs and the right pair of legs, or to transfer it more to one lateral pair or the other.


Balance is not rigid or static, as in a statue. It’s DYNAMIC.

 

This means that the horse is able to shift his weight from one lateral pair of legs to the other, from the front legs to the hind legs, or from one diagonal pair of legs to the other.

 

This is where balance intersects with straightness.

 
One of the consequences of crookedness is that the horse habitually supports the majority of his weight with the legs on the so-called stiff/convex side, especially with the front leg of this side. The legs of the so-called hollow/concave side therefore participate much less in the work. The hind leg of the concave side supports the smallest share of the weight. Over time, this can create excess uneven wear and tear, and eventually, lameness.


But, as the horse becomes straighter in the course of correct training, he becomes more BALANCED and learns to control the weight distribution over the support base. This keeps him sounder and happier, for many more years.

okayyyyy...   but what's with the BANANA?!?!

We found that using it as a simple way to illustrate the TYPICAL presentation of bend and crookedness in the horse helps riders learn to better visualize and conceptualize the issue.

(and it's funny!)  🤣
(and who can't benefit from a little humor? hmm?)

 

Straightness… Crookedness… Alignment... Hollow side… Stiff side… Weak side… Strong side... Convex... Concave...

 

Are you confused yet???  You're not alone.

This is a BIG topic. It is also a confusing topic for soooo many.
It is a big topic for HORSES. Everything you do (or try to do) is affected by the horse's alignment (or lack thereof). Crookedness blocks the energy of the horse, and it impedes progress and stability in every aspect of the training of the horse. Crookedness even causes spookiness and behavioral issues! 
It is a big topic for RIDERS. The rider's alignment has a HUGE influence on the horse. After all, the horse can only be as straight as the rider! But did you know that the horse's misalignment (a.k.a. crookedness) also affects the rider? It can even cause health problems for the rider's body if the horse is crooked.

And... well... It is WRONG.

 

 

Well, it is not completely wrong. There is definite validity to the Training Scale (a.k.a. Training Pyramid) but it is NOT A ROADMAP. It is more a general overview of the progression of the RESULTS of the training.

The contribution of the training scale is to draw attention to some of the most important elements of the gymnastic training of the horse, that had not been expressed in this way before. Unfortunately, equally important concepts like balance and permeability to the aids were not explicitly included.
And there is a certain danger that many riders follow the sequence of the training scale concepts to literally.  It would be a mistake to think that you can work off each step in the same sequence with every horse, without being allowed to move on to the next step before having completely mastered the previous one. The reality is that all these elements are mutually independent. An improvement in one area leads to improvements in all areas. Conversely, a deterioration in one area immediately leads to a deterioration in the other areas.
The elements of the training scale also support each other in different ways. 

So... what is this whole thing about "Straightness" and why do we need Straightness... anyway?

Good Question! If you followed the German FN Training Pyramid as a rigid roadmap of the process you follow to train your horse in Dressage, you would assume that you do not (or can not, or should not) work on Straightness until you had already achieved Rhythm, Relaxation, Contact, and Impulsion. Look at the training scale...

Everything is interconnected.

In reality, Straightness is very important. It is interconnected to... EVERYTHING ELSE. 

The elements of the training scale support each other in many different ways. All components are connected with each other like the spokes of a wheel.
And each of the components (Rhythm, Relaxation, Connection, Impulsion, and Collection) are reliant upon Straightness.

RHYTHM: An unsteady or uneven rhythm often stems from the horse stepping unevenly with his hindlegs. This is usually a consequence of crookedness. When you can help the horse to step under evenly with each hindleg (which is what happens when we make the horse straighter), the rhythm improves. The tempo improves, too. The too-quick tempo improves because the horse is no longer unbalanced and the horse with the too-slow tempo becomes sharper to the aids and more responsive because the energy circuit (circle of the aids) is no longer obstructed by his crookedness.

RELAXATION: Relaxation is unachievable without balance; and balance is, in turn, a combination of steady tempo, straightness, and a certain flexion of the haunches, i.e. collection. Tension, spookiness, and anxiety often stem from the horse's crookedness. When the horse is able to become straighter, these behavioral issues and psychological  tensions dissolve away with the physical tensions and the horse becomes more relaxed in his work.

CONNECTION: The connection will never be even and light as long as the horse doesn't step evenly with each hindleg, doesn't travel straight, and is unbalanced laterally and longitudinally. A light, steady, even rein contact requires a considerable degree of straightness and a certain ability to collect. When the horse becomes straighter, the horse's balance improves laterally and longitudinally, and the quality of the contact and connection improves.

IMPULSION: Impulsion can only develop when both hind legs step evenly underneath the center of gravity; in other words, when the horse is straight. The crooked horse's energy leaks out in the many places where the horse is not aligned.  When the horse becomes straighter, he travels with more efficiency, becomes easier and more comfortable to ride, and can develop more powerful, expressive gaits.

Wait... I should tell you a bit about us before we go any further. We are Thomas and Shana Ritter.

Thomas wrote about his system in his first book, “Dressage Principles Based on Biomechanics” published through Cadmos Press in 2011, and he further expanded upon the practical application of those principles applied to the training at the Long Rein with his second book, “Long Reining: From the Beginning through the Levade” in 2014.

 

We now live in Portugal having moved here from Germany in early 2020. Thomas is an International Dressage Clinician, teaching all over Europe, the United States, and Canada. Shana is an FEI competitor, USDF Silver Medalist,  and developer of the Artistic Dressage Online Course Program.

We have spent our lives researching and diving in deeper. We have studied the biomechanics. We have extensively studied the classical equestrian literature. We have ridden with many of the great classical masters of our time. We have distilled our years and years of learning down into a system which is straight-forward (Pun fully intended!) and gives you actionable, concrete tools to make real change in your riding.

We have developed (and continue to develop) a program of online courses.

Each of these courses is structured around the real-world problems and needs of our students. We listen to what you tell us you need help with, and we create live trainings and courses to help YOU learn how to solve your problems so that you are:
💡 no longer confused
💡 no longer feeling hopeless or defeated
💡 no longer handing the destiny of your riding future over to other people who do not understand where you are coming from or what is important to YOU
💡 empowered with the educational tools you need (theory and practical advice) to train your horse, fix the problems you encounter, and take your Dressage Riding Journey into your own hands.

A Course About Straightness with Ritter Dressage

Using The Straightforward Straightness Method

The perfect system for all DIY riders and aspiring dressage enthusiasts.

A 16-week course about achieving Straightness as a horse-rider unit. This is THE course to learn the fundamental biomechanics of straightness (and its opposite, crookedness) and how it impacts everything else you do in your riding.

 

Learn easy-to-use exercises to identify, address, and FIX your horse’s crookedness issues under saddle without having to spend months on groundwork first.

Some of the exercises are designed to be done on the ground, but most can be done on the ground as well as under saddle. Nearly all were designed to be ridden.

So therefore with The Straightforward Straightness Method, you do not need to stop riding for a year just to work in your horse’s Straightness. You can begin immediately with the ridden exercises.

You’ll learn:

BIOMECHANICS THEORY

Accurately understand the biomechanics of crookedness and straightness. You will learn to identify and diagnose exactly which biomechanic fundamentals are related to your horse's crookedness and how to use that same information to FIX your horse's crookedness (so you can accurately identify the source of the problem rather than chasing after the symptoms)

RIDING EXERCISES

Quickly learn how to draw upon a wide variety of interesting and fun biomechanics-based riding exercises which reliably address the exact crookedness issues your horse has in his training and HELP him to build the skills and strength he needs to move correctly (no more plateuing because you only have one exercise or idea to fix your horse's crookedness issues)

STRATEGY

Strategize your day to day training and your overall training plan for your horse so that everything you do contributes effectively and beneficially towards your training goals (no more lack of cohesiveness from one day to the next or even within the session)

UNDERSTAND THE METHOD

See how straightness underlies everything you do and how the entire training is a coherent, and connected system where each part influences every other part (no more confusion and not understanding how everything ties in to everything else)

USE LATERAL MOVEMENTS AS TRAINING TOOLS

Learn the actual real FUNCTION and PURPOSE of the lateral movements (shoulder-in, haunches-in, renvers, counter shoulder-in, half pass, pirouettes) and how you can use them to HELP your horse become straighter, sounder, stronger, and more supple. (no more riding around without having a clue)

SPECIAL MOVEMENTS

Use the Old Masters' secret tools of the Full Pass, Plié, Pirouette Renversée, Mill exercise, and Zigzags to supple and strengthen your horse more effectively  (so that you always have a variety of tools in your toolbox, because more tools means you are less likely to run out of possible solutions)

TROUBLESHOOTING

Troubleshoot any crookedness problem , analyse any situation (so that you can eventually be your own trainer and figure out solutions to any problem you or another ride may have)

BUILDING BLOCKS

Experience how each exercise can build upon previous exercises to create an immersive experiential experience for your horse which MAKES SENSE to him. (so you can prepare the horse for anything you want to do by building the horse's understanding with these building blocks)

DISSOLVE RESISTANCES

Dissolve resistances by isolating and removing their cause. Learn how to interpret the resistance in the horse as useful data that can lead you to the ANSWER and resolution of that resistance. (no more futile frustration with fighting with the resistance)

ACCURACY

Improving your straightness drastically improves your accuracy in test and pattern riding. But it goes both ways: Paying careful attention to your accuracy and using tools and tips that can help improve your accuracy will improve your straightness. (no more scrambling to recover from imprecise turns down the centerline)

BENDING

Effectively improve your horse's ability to bend equally well to the right and left, as well as smoothly and gracefully change bend and shift the weight from the right side to the left side (which are the prerequisites to most of the upper level movements) 

THROUGHNESS

One of the biggest obstacles to real THROUGHNESS (or Durchlassigkeit in German) is the horse's crookedness. You will learn how much of your horse's throughness depends upon straightness and you will experience first-hand how much the QUALITY of your horse's throughness improves as a result of this work.  (so you don't have to get stuck in the tired-out and unproductive thinking that it is all about getting the head and neck down)

BALANCE

Before you can effectively shift the horse's weight to his hindquarters, you have to enable his ability to shift his weight laterally, from side to side. This can only be done with training for Straightness. You will learn how to develop your horse's ability, step-by-step to shift weight from the right pair of legs to the left, and vice versa. (so your half halts go "through" and don't get stuck in the crookedness-based energy leakages that prevent the horse from shifting weight into the hindquarters)

POWER AND IMPULSION

True impulsion can never be developed in a crooked horse. By learning how to straighten your horse systematically, you are rewarded with power and impulsion (...because nagging your horse to go forward was never going to work anyway)

How the Straightness course came into creation...

In Spring of 2018, we began production on a course... well... about Straightness!!! With the help and suggestions of an outstanding roster of Founding Members, we designed a course that addresses everything our students wanted to know about straightness, crookedness, biomechanics, stiffness, weakness, unevenness, alignment, rider influence, weight distribution, and more. We fleshed it out with the theoretical explanations NO ONE COULD FIND ANYWHERE ELSE.
And then the exercises! The course is lavishly embellished with THE practical exercises for horses which Thomas is so well-known for. Exercises which address the stiffness, the weaknesses, the crookedness, and the unevenness that so many horses and riders struggle with and can not figure out how to move beyond on their own.

On top of this... for the rider, we have a selection of Feldenkrais, Imagery,  and Yoga lessons (because the rider is at least half of the equation!).

So many Success Stories! These are our "Straightness Heroes"!

The Founding Members didn't just give us advice on how they wanted this course to be, they also got to work! They worked with the materials, they rode the exercises, put them to the test, and they IMPLEMENTED what they were learning. Their efforts REALLY paid off!!! Riders like...

Julie Graber and her Percheron/QH cross

Julie's partner for the Straightness course was a Percheron/quarter horse lesson gelding because he was "unsafe to ride" due to a double-whammy of spookiness and imbalance. His tripping was always a concern, but this concern matured into a genuine fear when he "spectacularly plowed into the earth"—twice—on a right lead canter. Julie thought she would have to sell him, and the Straightness Course was her last resort. When she began the exercises in the course, he was slow and unresponsive, but "Even after a week of exercises, I noticed a difference: less tripping and more responsive." By the end of the course, he rarely trips anymore, can canter 2'6 courses, and is a safe, reliable lesson horse.

"Straightness was the key in getting his attention as well as unlocking his body so that he could move safely."

 

Anne-marie Spear and Paint

Paint, a South African Warmblood, was ridden through the course with Anne-marie. The pair had been stuck at 1st Level Novice for three years. "I had never in my life ridden above Novice on any horse," stated Anne-marie. Beginning to develop the mentality that she was "just an average rider with no talent," Anne-marie was drawn to the Straightness Course due to the warmth of the community and how the exercises "brought about horse and rider self-awareness, and that OUR [as a horse and rider team] straightness was key to my ability to move up the dressage grades." She feels that Straightness "impacts every level of the training scale" and states that "The Ritter system has improved my confidence as a rider and has given me tools to solve problems when I'm in the arena on my own."

Dawn Gray and Copper

The first years of Dawn and Copper's partnership "were rough." The American Saddlebred x Thoroughbred x Boerperd gelding was "spooky, unpredictable, and his antics terrified" Dawn, who had sustained injuries when being thrown. Every trainer she rode him with pressured her to ride "Forward! Forward! Forward!" which only resulted in turning Copper into "a sewing machine… little legs going so fast they actually blurred." She knew she needed the Straightness Course when she connected that his speed was related to his lack of balance and that his "bad behavior was him feeling out of balance and insecure in his own body." She states, "Becoming stronger through his body and learning how to use all four corners of it has made him a happier horse" and that "the little horse that had me at my wits end is now a happy, positive partner, always ready for the next adventurous exercise."

Carole Cox and Sniper

When Carole began with Sniper, he was not yet owned by her. He was aa very sweet horse but had a history of unexplained lameness, his muscling was very poor (as you can see in the photos she shared), and his owner had exhausted her resources taking him to multiple vets with no clear diagnostic results and no improvement through the multiple therapies they tried. This was "the end" for him. She was considering sending him to a horse trader. Carole took him on as a project for the course and got to work with the exercises. The improvement was gradual but consistent. His sweat marks evened out, and the muscling improved, too. By September, he was so much improved (and sound!) that Carole bought him! Carole reports that he is now "supple, much, much straighter and balanced."

What's In "A Course About Straightness"?

Course Duration: October 4, 2021 - January 22, 2021

Each Module is broken down into instruction and exercises

Each week you get new exercises you can implement into your riding program. Some are designed to help sharpen your awareness and some are designed to give you the tools you need to improve your and your horse's straightness. You get a combo of PDFs and videos to learn each exercise. Pick the ones you want to ride now; save the others for later.

This is a course about learning through implementation... not just learning the theory.

 

 

👉 Biomechanics-based Video Instruction (Theory and practical application)

👉 PDFs with Graphic illustration of the exercises with elaborate instructions. Often with checklists so you know what to watch for when riding the exercises.

👉 Feldenkrais and  Yoga Exercises for the Rider which address the rider's awareness, asymmetry, coordination, suppleness, and core strength.

👉 Exclusive Access to a Private Facebook Group with a safe, supportive atmosphere.

👉 5 Assistant teachers in addition to Thomas and Shana Ritter: Marcella Becker, Kristen Guest, Caroline Duff-Riddell,  and Feldenkrais Practitioner, Catherine McCrum

👉 You also have the opportunity to post your video of yourself riding the exercises for feedback and tips

WHAT'S INCLUDED

The perfect system for all DIY riders and aspiring dressage enthusiasts. This is a 16-week highly interactive course that addresses BOTH THE HORSE AND THE RIDER.
This course develops your understanding through:
-  theory lessons which demystify and clarify the core central issues
- gymnastic exercises you can ride with your horse
- exercises for the rider to address the rider's crookedness
- and amazing ongoing support and community that doesn't just stop when the course is over.

 

BIOMECHANICS THEORY

Biomechanically-based theory components which explain the biomechanics of straightness and crookedness, as well as how both affect the horse's body and the entirety of the dressage training. The theory is designed to give you the understanding so that when you ride the exercises, you know what each one is supposed to accomplish and why. Each theory lesson builds upon the previous module, but they can also be used as a reference library.

GYMNASTIC EXERCISES

Each module has several biomechanically-based gymnastic horse exercises which correspond to the theory instruction, so you are are able to immediately apply the theoretical lessons into your riding, and experience first-hand how they work. Each exercise comes with a PDF with complete instructions outlining what to do, why to do it, and how to do it.

 

INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS

Each horse riding exercise is accompanied by an instructional video in which we expand upon the material in the exercise PDF, showing you where the problem spots are in the exercise and how to address the various problems that can come up while riding it. We also explain how to modify the exercise if you need to make simpler for a less trained horse, or more challenging for a higher level horse.

RIDER DEMO VIDEOS

Almost every exercise in the course has at least one video with footage of the exercise being ridden by a range of horses and riders, with our commentary explaining what is happening and why. This is one of the most important parts of the course because we know so many riders learn best by SEEING the exercise being ridden, and also because there is no better way to understand the gymnastic influence on the horse than to see it in action. You can learn through watching what to do, what not to do, and how to correct the mistakes that commonly occur.

FELDENKRAIS LESSONS

Periodically throughout the course, you will be given the opportunity to supplement your horse riding education with Feldenkrais lessons which help you, as the rider, to learn better body awareness, coordination, flexibility, and control. Taught by Feldenkrais Practitioners, Catherine McCrum and Charlotte Zetterberg, you are in for a treat. These are pre-recorded videos you can do over and over and over to reap the benefits over and over again.

 

CURATED YOGA LESSONS

One of the bonus features in the course is a selection of yoga  videos, selected by Shana Ritter and Catherine McCrum specifically to help you address your own crookedness issues. You like "Yoga with Adriene"? Well, hop on board. You are going to love our highlights selection of our favorite videos of hers. Enjoy!

 

COMMUNITY

One of the most thrilling parts of this course is the incredible community. The community that has built around this course is most enthusiastic, supportive, diverse in experiences and viewpoints. As a member of the course, you are granted a lifetime VISA into the community. It spans many continents, several languages, includes riders of all levels and types, and is your new homeland. Welcome home!

 

Q&A COACHING SESSIONS

You have questions and we actually encourage that!!! You can ask your questions at any time (even after the course has ended) in the Facebook Group but there is just nothing like getting your questions answered LIVE where we can ask follow-up questions and so can you. You will get access to the 8 LIVE Q&A Coaching sessions. If you can't make it live, no worries - they are all recorded so you can watch at your convenience. Not only that, you will be able to attend future Q&A coaching sessions when we re-run the course again in the future.

 

LIFETIME ACCESS

You never lose access to your course materials, as long as we are alive and able to support the course platform (and we hope that is a very, very long time). That means that you can work as fast or as slow through the materials as you wish. That means that if you get sick, tired, injured  - you can pause at anytime and come back to it whenever you and your horse are ready for more. It will always be there for you, and so will we. In addition, you will always receive a HUGE discount on all upcoming versions of the course, if you wish to upgrade.

You will also learn...

🥑 The Definition of Straightness and Crookednes
🥑  The Biomechanics of crookedness
🥑  How to understand the difference between your horse’s stiff side and hollow side and how this impacts the rest of your training
🥑  The key symptoms of crookedness which you should be aware of and on watch for at all times in your training
🥑  What happens when the horse becomes straight
🥑  How your own crookedness plays a role in your riding
🥑  Typical asymmetries in the rider
🥑 How to analyze and assess your own level crookedness
🥑  Exercises to develop your awareness of crookedness
🥑  Exercises you can ride to help you define and diagnose your horse’s crookedness
🥑 Strategies to cultivate while addressing your and your horse’s crookedness
🥑  What to work towards and how
🥑  Exercises you can use to improve your horse’s straightness
🥑  Exercises specifically effective on the horse’s hollow side
🥑  Exercises specifically effective on the horse’s stiff side
🥑  Exercises which are effective at making BOTH sides more even
🥑  Rider Exercises you can use to improve your own straightness

 There are Bonuses you won't want to miss!

BONUS: Straightness and Work-in-Hand  

A Bonus Module about the role of straightness in the work-in-hand and how you can help correct your horse’s crookedness with work-in-hand, including tips you can use right away.

BONUS: Straightness and Longeing

A Bonus Module about the role of straightness in longeing and how you can help correct your horse’s crookedness with longeing, including tips you can use right away.

BONUS: Straightness and Long Reining

A Bonus Module about the role of straightness in long reining and how you can help correct your horse’s crookedness with long reining, including tips you can use right away.

BONUS: Straightness and Double Longeing

A Bonus Module about the role of straightness in double-longeing and how you can help correct your horse’s crookedness with double-longeing, including tips you can use right away.

BONUS: Improving straightness with bodywork

An interview with Yvonne Lübcke. In this upcoming conversation, we will discuss ways you, as a rider, can improve and help your horse’s straightness through various forms of Bodywork. Includes Q&A session. Attend live or watch the recording afterwards. Date to be announced.

BONUS: Rein Lameness Masterclass

In this upcoming Masterclass with Dr. Thomas Ritter, we will discuss what “Rein Lameness” actually is, what it means Includes Q&A session. Attend live or watch the recording afterwards. To be held on Sunday, December 12, 2021 at 1:00pm GMT.

BONUS: The Introduction to Stirrup-Stepping Self-Study Course

In this mini course, you get a comprehensive introduction to the subtle art of stirrup stepping as an incredibly effective and helpful training tool. 23 videos, 5 introductory patterns, PDFs, audio files.

BONUS: One FeldenHorse Lesson

Taught by Catherine McCrum, FeldenHorse is a new concept where we apply a Feldenkrais approach to hands-on bodywork with the horse. We chose a special FeldenHorse lesson you will be able to do with your horse that will enhance your perception, relationship, and subtlety… all very relevant for you to develop straightness in yourself and your horse.


What’s Inside The 2021 Straightness Course Package...

The complete 16-week 2021 Straightness Course (value €1200)
 The complete 2021 version of the 16-week Straightness course with all of the Theory, Gymnastic Exercises, NEW Feldenkrais Rider Lessons, and Curated Yoga Lesson Selections. Lifetime access to all of the materials and discount options for future versions of the course. Videos, audio files, PDFs.


Straightness Course Facebook Group (value €150)
 Lifetime access to the amazing community of our Straightness Course members. This amazing community has been growing since our first Straightness Beta course in 2018. These are your partners and comrades in your journey to Straightness.

2021 Straightness Course Completion Certificate (value priceless)
 When you complete the 2021 Straightness course, this is something to celebrate and deserves recognition. When you finish the completion process, we will send you a personalized Completion Certificate, signed by Thomas and Shana.

BONUS: The 2021 Dressage as Physiotherapy Challenge Recordings, September 2021 (value €150) 
The complete recordings of the September 2021 Dressage as Physiotherapy Challenge, including all of the bonus Q&A sessions. Downloadable audio and video files, so you can listen “on the go”.

BONUS: Straightness and Longeing (Value €100) A Bonus Module about the role of straightness in longeing and how you can help correct your horse’s crookedness with longeing, including tips you can use right away.

BONUS: Straightness and Double-Longeing (Value €100) A Bonus Module about the role of straightness in double-longeing and how you can help correct your horse’s crookedness with double-longeing, including tips you can use right away.

BONUS: Straightness and Long Reining (Value €100) A Bonus Module about the role of straightness in long reining and how you can help correct your horse’s crookedness with long reining, including tips you can use right away.

BONUS: Straightness and Work-in-Hand (Value €100) A Bonus Module about the role of straightness in the work-in-hand and how you can help correct your horse’s crookedness with work-in-hand, including tips you can use right away.

BONUS Masterclass: Rein Lameness with Dr. Thomas Ritter  (value €150) 
In this upcoming Masterclass with Dr. Thomas Ritter, we will discuss what “Rein Lameness” actually is, what it means Includes Q&A session. Attend live or watch the recording afterwards. To be held on Sunday, December 12, 2021 at 1:00pm GMT.

BONUS: Interview with Yvonne Lübcke on “Improving straightness with bodywork”  (value €47) 
In this upcoming conversation, we will discuss ways you, as a rider, can improve and help your horse’s straightness through various forms of Bodywork. Includes Q&A session. Attend live or watch the recording afterwards. Date to be announced.

 

The Straightness Course Q&A Group Coaching Package (value €350)
 Your personal questions answered all the way through the entire program and beyond! Not only do you get access to attend live, you also receive the recordings for every Q&A in both video and audio form so you can watch or listen to the recordings at any time. Now includes closed captioning for the hearing impaired (added within a few days to the course platform).

Straightness course Q&A Archives (value €350)
 Complete archive of every Q&A session for the 2018-2020 Straightness Courses. With the range of questions answered in these sessions, you are bound to find the answers to any question you have, and answers to questions you didn’t even know you had. You receive every Q&A recording in both video and audio form so you can listen in the car, while walking, or doing chores. Great way to multi-task and get your daily dose of Ritterizing. 


BONUS: Straightness Exercises eBook - released in January 2022 (value €197)
Exclusive eBook only available to Straightness course members. In this first edition of the Straightness Exercises eBook, you get a compilation of all of the exercises contained in the Straightness course with graphics and brief explanations. You can download this onto your phone so that you can take this with you into the arena in order to reference any exercise whenever you need it. Not available for separate purchase.

BONUS: The Introduction to Stirrup-Stepping Self-Study Course (value €110) 
In this mini course, you get a comprehensive introduction to the subtle art of stirrup stepping as an incredibly effective and helpful training tool. 23 videos, 5 introductory patterns, PDFs, audio files.

BONUS: Stirrup-Stepping Masterclass Recording (value €47) 
In this 2017 masterclass you get an overview of stirrup stepping including suggested patterns and recorded Q&A.

BONUS 8 Masterclass Recordings  (value €225) 
This Masterclass package includes recordings from our top-requested topics: Longeing for Rehabilitation interview with Patrick Molenaar, Bodywork and Intuition interview with Noor Tanger, Work-in-Hand for Rehabilitation interview with Noor Tanger and Patrick Molenaar, The Role of Tempo and Speed on the Horse’s Soundness with Thomas Ritter, Points to consider when rehabilitating an unsound or injured horse with Thomas Ritter, What is Stirrup Stepping with Thomas Ritter, The Full Pass with Thomas Ritter, and The Half Halt with Thomas Ritter

.

BONUS: One FeldenHorse training by Catherine McCrum (value €50) FeldenHorse is a new concept where we apply a Feldenkrais approach to hands-on bodywork with the horse. We chose a special FeldenHorse lesson you will be able to do with your horse that will enhance your perception, relationship, and subtlety… all very relevant for you to develop straightness in yourself and your horse.


 

The 2021 Straightness Course Package

✯ 12 modules of course content, delivered module-by-module over 16 weeks (Valued at €1200)
✯ Bonus modules on Straightness and Longeing, Straightness and Double-Longeing, Straightness and Long Reining, and Straightness and Work-in-Hand (Valued at €400)
✯ The Straightness Course Exclusive Facebook Group for support and feedback (Valued at €150)
✯ The 2021 Straightness Q&A Coaching Package, with closed captioning for the hearing impaired (Valued at €350)
✯ The 2018-2020 Straightness Q&A Coaching Archives, with closed captioning for the hearing impaired (Valued at €350)
BONUS: Stirrup-Stepping Masterclass Recording (value €47)
✯ BONUS - Intro to Stirrup-Stepping Self-Study Course (Valued at €110)
✯ BONUS 8-session Straightness Masterclasses Bonus Package (Valued at €225)
✯ BONUS: The 2021 Dressage as Physiotherapy Challenge Downloadable Recordings (Valued at €150)
✯ BONUS: Straightness Exercises eBook - released in January 2022 (Valued at €197)

✯ BONUS: Interview with Yvonne Lübcke on “Improving straightness with bodywork”  (Valued at €47)
✯ BONUS: Masterclass: Rein Lameness with Dr. Thomas Ritter  (Valued at €150)
✯ BONUS: One FeldenHorse training by Catherine McCrum (Valued at €50)
✯ 2021 Straightness Course Completion Certificate (value priceless)


 

Total Value = €3.426 ($4,022 USD)

Today's Price = €597 ($700 USD)

Calculate the Value! €597 for 16 weeks of instruction with support and feedback comes to only €37/per week. That is not even the price of a mediocre riding lesson. And you get lifetime access to everything, so the benefits last much longer than 16 weeks.

 

2021 Enrollment Options

 WE HAVE MULTIPLE PAYMENT AND CURRENCY OPTIONS, SO YOU CAN CHOOSE WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU.

 

FULL PAY

€597 

BEST DEAL. Pay in Full.

 

Currency Options:

USD $ 700.00

GBP  £ 510.00

CAD $ 887.00

AUD $ 960.00

NZD $ 991.00

3-MONTHLY PAYMENTS

€217/mo

NOTE:  Payment plans are not a subscription.

Currency Options:

USD $ 255/mo x 3

GBP  £ 186/mo x 3

CAD $ 322/mo x 3

AUD $ 349/mo x 3

NZD $ 360/mo x 3

6-MONTHLY PAYMENTS

€117/mo

NOTE:  Payment plans are not a subscription.

Currency Options:

USD $ 137/mo x 6

GBP  £ 110/mo x 6

CAD $ 174mo x 6

AUD $ 188/mo x 6

NZD $ 194/mo x 6

12-MONTHLY PAYMENTS

€67/mo

NOTE:  Payment plans are not a subscription.

Currency Options:

USD $ 79/mo x 12

GBP  £ 57/mo x 12

CAD $ 99/mo x 12

AUD $ 107/mo x 12

NZD $ 111/mo x 12

I'M READY TO GET STARTED RIGHT AWAY

ENROLLMENT CLOSES...

The course begins on Monday, October 4th. Enrollment will close FIRMLY at midnight PST on October 3, 2021. If you have any problems enrolling, email [email protected]

00

DAYS

00

HOURS

00

MINS

00

SECS

"A spontaneous decision that has permanently changed my approach"

"I made a huge leap of faith when I invested in this course, having no experience of how one can learn dressage online. I have been astonished - in a good way - at the depth of information, at Thomas' ability to explain a physical sport through understandable science, and at the improvements in me. It was a spontaneous decision that has permanently changed for the good my approach to dressage, and my horses' benefit from it. Thanks to this course, now I know what I am doing in one aspect of my training!"

- Jacky Davies (Alberta, Canada)

"I can see a huge difference in how my horse moves."

"An unbelievable course. Totally outstanding. I have learnt a phenomenal amount and can see a huge difference in how my horse moves. I was nervous at the start of the course that I would be the numpty of the students, but you can learn/study at your own pace and Shana and Thomas were always happy to answer any of my questions."

- Fran Griffith (Ceredigion, UK)

"I no longer go round in circles with no purpose."

"I started in the dark, not sure how to improve on basics taught years ago but knowing there was 'more to it'. I can't believe how much I have learned from Thomas and Shana. I now have the building blocks to work with any horse, not just mine. The improvement in my own horse is measurable. I am so motivated to ride and explore every single day. Massive thank you. I no longer go round in circles with no purpose."

- Ann Savage (Lincolnshire, UK)

Our Guarantee


We hope you will love this course as much as we do. We want you to LOVE this course. You will have a full 30 days  RISK-FREE to see if this course is right for you. This gives you full 30 days to try it out fully and see if it is a good fit for you. If it doesn’t resonate with you, just let us know and we will refund your money. No hassles. No hard feelings.

Course Begins on October 4, 2021.

Take the Straightness Hero's Journey. What to expect...

The Course Content

12 Modules of course materials

4 Bonus Modules

Theory Lessons

Horse-focused Exercises

Rider-focused Exercises

Tips and Strategies

Videos, Audio files

Instructional PDFs

All downloadable

Lifetime access

 

The Live Q&As

Welcome Party/Orientation Training with Q&A in Week 1

7 Scheduled Q&A Coaching Calls spread throughout the course duration

All Q&As with closed captioning for the hearing impaired (added within a few days to the course platform)

Ask your questions on the spot or in advance

Get individualized "coaching" tips

All of the Q&As are recorded

Download the video & audio to watch/listen later at your leisure

See the FAQ below for the 2021 schedule.

Private FB Group

Exclusive Members-only Community

3 Assistant Teachers in addition to Thomas & Shana

Safe, ultra-supportive atmosphere

Post your videos for feedback

Ask your Questions

Get feedback and help

This is a course about learning through implementation... not just learning the theory.

Each Module is broken down into theoretical and practical instruction and horse and rider exercises

Biomechanics-based Video Instruction

Theory and practical application. We break down the biomechanical components in a clear, simple, straight-forward way that strips away the mystery and confusion so that you can simply understand the what, why, and how.

Horse Exercise Videos and PDFs

Videos where we explain how to strategically ride the exercises. PDFs with Graphic illustration of the exercises with elaborate instructions. Usually they also include checklists so you know what to watch for when riding the exercises.

Rider Demo Videos

Videos where you can see the exercises being ridden by a variety of horses and riders. We record commentary to explain what is going on, what mistakes are happening in the video, and what you can do to correct those if they happen when you ride the exercises.

Rider Exercises

Feldenkrais Lessons taught by Feldenkrais Practitioner, Catherine McCrum to help you improve your awareness, asymmetry, coordination, suppleness, and core strength. Also included are Curated Yoga selections chosen by Shana Ritter and Catherine McCrum to complement your journey through the course. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How does an online course work?  Do I need to be sitting at the computer at a set time on certain days?

Distance learning is really set up so that you can make it work for your schedule. We have many people in many timezones, and all of them are busy horse people like you. Each week you will get a new module of information for that week. You will receive an email announcement when it has been released. In that module you will find a selection of videos and PDF files. You can watch these on your own timeline, or even download them for offline viewing. The PDFs contain the instructions for the riding exercises. There are instructional videos where we explain in greater detail how to ride the exercise, what you are looking to attain in the exercise, and how to deal with any problems that may arise while riding the exercise. You will also find that there is a demo video of each exercise being ridden by a variety of our course member demo riders, with voiceover commentary by Thomas explaining what is happening, and pointing out mistakes as they occur so that you can recognize then if/when they happen to you.

There are LIVE Q&As at certain times, and we alternate between different times to accommodate the course participants in different parts of the world. You do NOT need to attend these live, but we highly encourage you to do so, if you can because you can ask your questions live and interact with us. These are all recorded and can be watched later or downloaded for later viewing/listening.


What type of horse and rider is this course appropriate for?

We try to be all-welcoming. That means if you want to learn, we will do our very best to teach you... regardless of what kind of horse you have, what kind of tack you ride in, and what kind of background you have. We have course members with Icelandics, Welsh Cobs, Saddlebreds, Ponies, etc. as well as the more common dressage breeds. We welcome riders from all backgrounds, NOT just dressage riders - jumpers, eventers, western riders, natural horsemanship, working equitation, trail riders, etc.
 
What level is this course appropriate for?
You should be able to ride, or at least willing to learn to use lateral movements. If you have  no experience with them but an open mind and curiosity to learn, you'll do fine.
 
What type of tack / equipment do I need?
A horse to ride, relatively level space to ride in (arena with adequate footing is recommended but our course members have had success even without a standard "arena" to ride in). Not required but recommended: cones or other arena markers.

You do not even need a dressage saddle. We have participants who do the course in their western tack. We even have participants who do most the exercises on the ground in-hand or at the long-rein. The beauty of it all is that you can adapt it to your situation and your needs with your horse. We will support you wherever that may be.

Highly recommended, but not required: Arena markers and cones to make precise figures. If you cannot purchase these, we highly encourage you to make your own. Be creative!

Tech: You will need a device to access the course materials, such as a PC/Mac, tablet, or even a smartphone. You will need internet access. If you wish to video your rides for feedback or personal observation, we recommend a video camera, smartphone, or a Pivo (the other course members are happy to give their tips and recommendations). If you wish to edit your videos, basic simple video editing software (included with all modern devices) is completely adequate. You simply need to be able to cut a long video into a shorter one, more suitable for uploading online. Again, the other course members can help with this. If you wish to use the Facebook Group, you will need some sort of Facebook account, but this is not required. You will also need to download the free zoom software (instructions provided) to access the live Q&As.

What if I can't watch the Q&A's live?
No problem. They are all recorded. You can watch the recording afterwards in the course platform. If you have a question you want answered but cannot attend live, you can post it beforehand, or alternatively post your question in the Facebook Group and we can answer it there.
 
When are the modules released?
October 4 - Module 0: Preparation Week
October 11 - Module 1
October 18 - Module 2
October 25 - Catch-up/Assimilation Week
November 1 - Module 3
November 8 - Module 4
November 15 - Module 5
November 22 - Catch-up/Assimilation Week
November 29 -  Module 6
December 6 - Module 7
December 13 - Module 8
December 20 - Holiday Break, Catch-up/Assimilation Week
December 27 - Module 9
January 3 - Module 10
January 10 - Module 11
January 17 - Final week, Module 12
 
When are the Q&As?

Q&A Coaching Call Schedule:

🎉 Welcome Party 🎊 - Monday, October 4 at 9:00pm GMT+1
→ Monday, October 11, 2021 at 10:00am GMT+1
→ Monday, October 25, 2021 at 8:00pm GMT+1
→ Monday, November 8, 2021 at 10:00am GMT
→ Monday, November 22, 2021 at 8:00pm GMT
→ Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 9:00am GMT
→ Sunday, December 19, 2021 at 8:00pm GMT
→ Monday, January 3, 2022 at 10:00am GMT
→ Monday, January 17, 2022 at 8:00 pm GMT

Are there HotSeats in this course?
Yes, it is an option. After you register for the course, you will have the option to add on HotSeats coaching, as well. :-)
 
What if I can't keep up?
You can do this course at ANY pace. You do not need to keep up with the pace that the course contents are delivered. You have lifetime access to the materials and the Facebook group, so you can work through the materials at your own pace.  You CAN and SHOULD follow what is right for you and your horse.
 
Then, when we run the next round of the course, you can take it again! You can use your course materials which you already have access to, or for a SUPER crazy nomimal fee, upgrade to the next version of the course. Regardless of whether you upgrade or not, you can attend the future Q&As, ask your questions, and get ongoing support for as long as you want.


What if I am not riding right now? What if my riding is interrupted by illness or injury part way through the course?
We have instructors who no longer ride take the courses and they use the exercises with their students. We have had people recovering from injuries, etc. take the courses. We have had people stop partway through and pick it back up again later. It is not a problem. These are your materials to do with as you wish - work through them at a pace that works for you. Learn the theory first and apply the riding exercises later, etc.
 
How do I join?
Easy. :-) Click this button bellow for the payment options.
 
Have questions or payment problems?
Email us at [email protected]  .
 
 

I CAN'T MISS THIS!

What the course participants have to say about the course:

 

Sandra: How to Learn to Ride from an Online Course

Sandra Schindlbacher shares her story about how she and the Lipizzan gelding she rides were mostly not working well together. In her words: “There were a lot of conflicts and fights.” Things were not working out well and she knew she needed to change something, but she thought that there was nothing that could make it better. She shares what she first thought when she heard about our What, Why, How online course… “How should I learn riding from an online course?!” She really didn’t think it was possible. But she was desperate so she decided to give it a try. Well!!!! She goes on to show you the exercise that she found helped her the most. She shares how the canter, in particular, is much better than it was before the course and she says her trot now is in no comparison to the trot she had before the course… it is smoother, lighter, softer in the hand… “There is no comparison in the feeling!”

Watch the video! She shares even more about what the biggest improvement was for her, the horse, and their relationship to the work and each other.

A sneak peek at the Course...

“This is a story of balance…”

This is how Dawn Gray begins to tell her story about her journey with her horse, Copper, who was adept at massive spooks, bucks, and fly-leaps. As she explains, these antics made her nervous and hang on the reins, which only served to exacerbate the problem. Despite the bad advice from trainers and exploring an assortment of theories and options of how to proceed, she stuck it out and joined our “What, Why, How course” during which she and Copper made some huge leaps (the good kind!). She realized through her study in the course that his spooking and misbehaviour came from a lack of balance.

Armed with this information, she used the exercises and targeted advice we were able to give her to  improve his balance and straightness. Not only did she turn her dressage scores of 4’s to 6’s and 7’s but the once-very spooky horse became a minimally spooky horse. I will let her tell the rest of her story about how she made this transformation in her horse.

ENROLLMENT CLOSES...

The course begins on Monday, October 4th. Enrollment will close FIRMLY at midnight PST on October 3, 2021. If you have any problems enrolling, email [email protected]

00

DAYS

00

HOURS

00

MINS

00

SECS

Course Begins on October 4, 2021.

Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.