When people start doing Straightness Training some of the most frequently asked questions are:
- Can I mix Straightness Training with (other types of) riding?
- What if I do jumping/ eventing/ hacking out/ classical equitation/ western / natural horsemanship/…. is Straightness Training something I do alongside this?
- What if I ride bitless?
- While I build up the exercises from the ground, what do you suggest about riding my horse in the meantime?
- Or do I need to give up what I LOVE?
ST is for the horse
Every horse has to deal with his natural asymmetry, no matter what riding style you practise or what discipline you ride in.
Now Straightness Training is not a goal on itself, it’s a mean to an end.
If you have a straightened horse that is in balance, you can do whatever you like! Hack out, jump, cross, race, it doesn’t matter. A horse that is in balance can carry you with ease, no matter what discipline.
ST is for the horse, the horse is not for ST.
Now what do I mean by that?
It means that we use Straightness Training to help the horse to do his ‘job’ properly and in the most healthy way!
And one of these ‘jobs’ is carrying the rider.
Now every horse is asymmetrical by nature – in body and limbs – so every horse needs to improve his symmetry and balance. Why? In order to carry the rider properly and in a balanced and healthy way!
Now imagine you are a jumper and experience difficulties in turning to the left after a jump…. you need to straighten your horse!
And that’s the case for all disciplines, no matter if you ride professional or recreational, you need to make sure your horse is supple and not stiff, so he can move equally in all directions in a supple way.
ST is for riders from all disciplines
I have been working in the equestrian world for many, many years and I have seen the same thing over and over again.
And it is that people who love horses, really all want the same:
- They are always looking for a good connection with their horse.
- And they are looking for a light, soft, willing, calm and balanced horse that is a pleasure to ride.
- And this is the case for riders with all breeds of horses and riders from all equestrian disciplines.
And Straightness Training helps to balance horses of all breeds and disciplines, without exception, even carriage horses benefit from it!
Also when you ride asymmetrical with one hand and in a side saddle, your horse must carry you with a proper LFS and with equal developed hind legs.
Straightness Training will help you no matter what discipline!
What if you ride bitless? Is that a problem?
Not at all. The horse begins Straightness Training always bitless to spare the mouth if the horse is too stiff in its body because of natural asymmetry.
And if you would like to, a bit is only introduced later on in the horse’s education.
But of course this isn’t compulsory and if you wish to carry on bitless that is fine.
We’ve also developed Straightness Training at liberty, this is a very enlightening area of the training, because without any tack on the horse you really can improve your connection, harmony, togetherness and oneness with the horse.
ST as ‘add-on’
ST is really a wonderful ‘ADD-ON’ method and you definitely don’t need to give up what you love!
But after a while you’ll start to experience that the riding goes much better, smoother, easier thanks to ST.
Because once your horse is less stiff and more supple, he can move much more easily and he will start to perform much better in your chosen discipline.
ST as ‘mastery’
As an advanced rider you can approach ST in two ways:
- Seeing ST as an ‘add-on’ method to any kind of equestrian discipline.
- Seeing ST as something to ‘master’ in full detail to the highest, widest, broadest, deepest level.
Both paths can be followed, but if you go for the second path and if you want to become an ST Instructor, you need to ‘chase one rabbit at a time’.
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