webinar1 150x150 Free, Open Public Q&A Webinar June 28 If you missed the live straightness training webinar, you can now watch the recordings below.

To view a recording, choose which part of the webinar you want to watch, then click on the white arrow:


Part I: Balancing mind, body & relationship


To train a horse properly we should take a number of areas in consideration:

1. The body of the horse
2. The mind of the horse
3. The body of the rider
4. The mind of the rider
5. The relationship between both horse and rider

Part I of the webinar explains these areas of straightness training:




Part II: Straightness training exercises


In straightness training we use horse gymnastiscs to develop the horse’s muscles structure and riding balance through a system of stages of ever-increasing exercises that follow one another in a logical sequence.

Part II of the webinar explains these exercises:


Part III: Final


Click here ST HSC Free, Open Public Q&A Webinar June 28

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  1.   Kate Berkeleyon 24 Jun 2012 at 15:21

    I have been working my horse solely in hand for the last 6-8 weeks and, although we’ve come across some obstacles on the way, he’s been making great progress. I’ve just started to ride and made the mistake of riding in a snaffle bridle. Strangely he was fine in walk and all laterals, but when I trotted again his laterals on a straight line were fine but when I trotted a circle he tilted his head and crossed his jaw on the right rein but was fine on the left rein. Thinking it may be an issue with the snaffle, the next time I rode him in the cavesson. He didn’t tilt or cross his jaw but in the same scenario he was heavier on the right rein. If it weren’t for ST I don’t think I’d have noticed because he’s not heavy, just comparatively heavy. His trot SI on the right rein is fine, which confuses me because I’d imagine that should be harder for him? I was amazed by how easy and fluid his lateral work felt having done everything in hand, it translates to the ridden work so easily. I’d love some advice or recommendations as to what to do. He is up to date with the dentist and the chiropractor but I have contacted both to check up on him. Thank you so much, I am in awe of how much I have achieved in a few months of ST, that I failed to achieve in the past 34 years of riding.

  2.   Betina Lassenon 24 Jun 2012 at 17:01

    How do you teach a horse traversere from the Ground and from the saddel

  3.   Bettina Sohnius-Lüpertzon 24 Jun 2012 at 17:17

    Hi Marijke,
    I started with straightness training some weeks ago. My 15 years old andalusian horse is lefr handed right bended horse and very tensed. I do the LFS in hand on circle and straight line in walk and that is okay now for him, but when I ask him for shoulder in he tries to bit in the longe or the rein, so I never give him cookies, he´s not concentrating himself. I´m working in hand and at longe. Longening him is very difficult sometimes he comes forward down, but in the next moment he falls on the inside or putside shoulder, shaking his head and neck want´s to roll on the ground or is speeding up.
    Do you have some ideas what to do? I forgot to say that he only tries to bit in the longe or the reins when I ask him for work, he doesn´t do it when we go out in the wood for a walk.

  4.   Pattion 24 Jun 2012 at 17:37

    Hello Marijke,

    I would like to know more about the bit, how it attaches to the cavesson ( I could not find converters here) and when to use it. How far along into the program do you introduce the bit? Curb or snaffle? I am hesitating to ride in the cavesson without a bit because the horse can often spook or buck. After months of ground work, once a week, I have just started riding walk and some trot.

    Also in ground work, my horse is practically stepping on me, falling in on his shoulder. I ask him out by tapping or poking his shoulder on the circle …small…or larger longing circle. All of that is usually ignored and he will rush ahead. Straight lines are nearly impossible. He is not afraid of the whip.

    On a circle, If I have the cavesson with reins, I ask with more outside rein or try to raise the inside rein up to temporarily correct. what do you believe is the miss communication?

    Thank you so much!

  5.   Evaon 24 Jun 2012 at 19:59

    I have imported a PRE stallion from Spain. He is 10 years old. He arrived 30 of april 2012 in Sweden where I live. I have just worked with him from the ground. I decided to give him two months before I sit on him. To let him land and become a swede. He is highly educated but not ridden for several years. No muscles on his behind. My question is: He cant/will not bend his neck inwards when on a circle. He is very straight. Working along the wall he will not do shoulder in. Shall I ignore that or try to convince him that it can be done? He does not like to have me by his side. Obviously he is not used to ground work. We train every second day.

  6.   Allana Kerelukon 24 Jun 2012 at 22:04

    I have a 9 yr old quarter horse gelding who I have owned for 5 yrs. He is usually very willing to ‘play my games’ but recently he has been a bit herd bound in the summer pasture with 5 other geldings, calling and acting up, and is not interested in training. Maybe I am drilling on the same thing too much? How often do you change your training strategy to keep your horses focused and interested in the lessons? Should I give him some time off to do nothing – or are (2) 30 min. training periods a week not enough? I’m only able to get to the barn on weekends.

  7.   Mari Torvangeron 24 Jun 2012 at 22:07

    Hello Marijke, and thank you for this free website and a lot of good knowledge!

    I’ve been training my 13 year old horse with the principles of the academic art og riding for a while now. He’s is responding better then ever, and is a pleasure to ride! At the ground i’ve startet to collect him a little bit in walk and i only tap him a bit with the wip above the tale to understand, my problem is that i can’t get a good respons at this in trot… In walk is he really light in the hand, but in trot he’s running right past me, and he’s difiicult to work with (collect) (not agressive or lazy, he just doesn’t understand) What am I doing wrong?

    in other words, when the horse is OK with the shoulder- and haunches-in, how does one start with the half-steps? And what is imporatant to do/not to do?

  8.   Marie Vestergaardon 25 Jun 2012 at 13:40

    Hi Marijke

    I am new in straightness training, but since my beloved horse have had 3 suspensory ligament injuries at the same leg (left front leg) with in 3 years, almost with the same location, I need a to change my training dramatically to avoid this in the future.
    It is a 8 year old mare, competing in dressage at M-level (singles flying changes, versade, haunches-in in trot and canter…)

    Seeing your free videos made me aware of she is a left-handed horse.
    And finally I found an explanation of why she keeps getting injured, always in the same leg…

    Please notice the horse is under full medical treatment, and this has been discussed with my vet, and the vet has given consent for it.

    I would like to ask you the following questions:

    1) How rehabilitated does the horse needs to be before starting straitness training from the ground. A full rehabilitation program for the vet included riding, or could it benefit for not carrying a rider before it has corrected the main part of the differences in the musculature, before training with rider again?

    2) What is your experience with injured horses, can they come back to competing if their main weakness is improved, of course it depends of the injury, but I assume this is a question you have been asked before?

    3) Is there somewhere I can search for a straightness trainer in Denmark?
    - Do you have any cooperative partners outside the Netherlands?

    Thank you
    Kind regards

  9.   Eloy fierroon 25 Jun 2012 at 17:24

    Hi, I need help to know, How can I do to start the levade with My horse, thanks.

  10.   Joanna Kucharskaon 25 Jun 2012 at 18:05


    I have a horse with very poor quality of gates. Hi is a normal size Polish warmblod but he trots like a minature pony and he is impossible to be ridden in sitting trot. We managed to solve the problem of russing forward when ridding straight forward but I cannot do shoulder in in trot.
    In walk everything is ok, he does shoulder in and haunches in but when it comes to trot he completely looses his rythm, engagement, and he becommes irregular. It also happens sometimes when I change direction of riding. What shall I do:
    1. keep doing LFS and exercise like shoulder in in walk?
    2. Change the set of exercises completly? What than?

    P.S. I already tried to investigate his problem with the vets and every vet seeing him first was almost sure that his trotting like on hot stones must be the navicular syndrom but it occured it is not. It’s nothing wrong with his hoovs too.

  11.   Christina Brennanon 25 Jun 2012 at 18:21

    What is the School halt? Why would it be trained? What is the purpose? When should it be used? When should it be introduced? What are the aids on the ground? Aids in the tack? Should it be used to develop other movements?

  12.   Jan Triggon 25 Jun 2012 at 21:42

    Hi Marijke,
    Just wanted to thank you for doing another on-line seminar. Since I live in Las Vegas, NV, USA, this is a great way to hear your wonderful words of wisdom.
    Thank you, Thank you !!

  13.   Gitte Nielssonon 25 Jun 2012 at 22:05

    I have an 8 year old trakehner gelding that has just been diagnosed with ring bone on both front legs. I bought him 1½ years ago where he had only been ridden for 2 months. His point of mass has always been very much in front straining the front legs meaing that he walks “down hill”. In addition, he uses his head and neck very much as lever swinging it abnormally from left to right and back when walking.
    I have only studied Straightness Training for a couple of months and was wondering whether in-hand training could help him getting more balanced and thereby reliefing the front legs. Do you have experience doing in-hand work with a horse that has been diagnosed with ring bone and could you recommend specific exercises for such a horse?

  14.   Jana Kruyshaaron 25 Jun 2012 at 22:58

    Hi Marijke
    I ride a 9yr old thoroughbred mare. She has been out of work for a couple of years (being a broodmare) and I’m slowly trying to bring her back to full fitness. She is understandably stiff laterally but works happily under saddle and stretches down very well at walk and trot. However, she struggles at canter. She can manage a stiff hollow canter on the right rein but it is virtually impossible to canter her on the left rein. She tends to “fall in” to the right and ‘drifts out’ to the left when excercised on the lunge and under saddle. I suspect that she is right sided and also that her right hindquarter is very weak given that she can’t strike off correctly to the left. I’d like to hear your thoughts and do you have any suggestions for excercises that I can do to strengthen and supple her? Also, will the webinar be available to download at a later date as the time zone difference is a bit difficult for me? Thank you in advance, all the way from New Zealand.

  15.   Beverly Dyeron 26 Jun 2012 at 13:42

    Hi Marijke – I have a rehab dressage horse that I have started straighness training with a few months ago. He pulls from the front rather than pushes from behind. I want to know about halting – in the dressage arena the horse should step forward and square from behind into the halt (ideally!) How do I do this in the training so he is taking his weight behind, without stepping back – I am a bit confused!

  16.   Theresa Kingon 26 Jun 2012 at 16:49

    Hello Marijke,
    I am Very much looking forward to your webinar on June 28. Thank you for sharing your expertise.

    I would like to verify what I know about my horse based on the information on your site. The following is his general stance and way of going.

    I think my horse is hollow to the left and stiff to the right.
    It is easy for him to let his body bend left but he also leans on his Right shoulder (falls out?) when tracking Left. When tracking Right he does the same thing and wants to lean on his Right shoulder.
    However when he stands he tends to put his Right hind forward and his Right fore slightly back with his Left fore and Left hind straight on their verticals. Does that make sense? Does this make him Right handed up front or is this just a sympton of being Left bent?
    What does this mean about his handedness in the Hinds? Does this mean he weight bears on his Left hind and pushes with his Right hind?
    When he backs up, he tends to swing his Right hind to the Right so his body is not straight in the back up. So whether in hand or under saddle I use the whip or my Right leg respectively to block that leg from falling away from the track.
    He takes contact with the Right rein but not so much with the Left Rein.

    Question: Based on this information nd if I came to the right conclusions, what are the best straightness training strategies for helping strengthen his weak side so that he is more balanced? Using the principle of starting on the weak side and ending on the weak side, Do I work him to the Right to begin and end with work to the Right? Do I use SI to the Right to strengthen the Right hind so it becomes stronger for weight bearing and will this new strength help him to take contact on the Left rein? If you work to make the pushing hind stronger for carrying as well, what work makes the carrying hind more ready, able or willing to push? What is the best method to prevent leaning on the Right shoulder from the ground and from the saddle using straightness training? In hand he will do SI better than HI either side. Under saddle, he does HI better to with haunches to Left, he feels a little stuck when haunches go to the Right but it feels stuck from up front; yet he does SI better with shoulders to Right under saddle. He is up to date on his dentist, farrier etc…
    I am sorry my single question has so many parts. Thanks again

  17.   Terryon 26 Jun 2012 at 17:40

    What bit do you use with the cavesson on your site and when you first start riding using straightness training do you use the bit or just the cavesson? When do you know to start using your bit? Can you use a bitless setup to ride using straightness training? What are the disadvantages of using a bitless setup in straightness training under saddle?

  18.   andrewon 26 Jun 2012 at 23:22

    HELLO Marijke
    question on lengthening stride by transitions to slower stride. Lusitanos are notoriously difficult to extend stride in hand and ridden as any input of energy they would prefer to go faster or higher rather then longer stride.
    to lenghten stride from the normal by me walking longer stride seems to help for a few strides but he always quickly reverts to speeding up rather than maintaing a longer stride .The alternative was compressing him slowing the walk by me walking slower (not shorter) strides in hand i.e. reducing the stride tempo first ,then I take longer strides up past his normal gait ,then a transition back down to slow then back up to long . The alternative was to add energy and ask for a longer reaching neck but this seems to cause faster stride or more collection .
    do you think it is best to reduce the horses stride length to the shortest striding leg leg then increase the whole horse by then walking longer or try and encourage the lazy leg/legs to go longer by using energy/twinkle with the whip and inner picture ENERGY towards the lazy shortest leg?
    i used to visualise the shortest leg reaching longer usually his right front is the shortest step this seemed to work as this gave space for the hind leg to step into , then I soften something in myself to reward him ie the complete opposite of adding energy !!.You just praise any good long step with more relaxAtion IN YOU and HOPE eventually he gets it ?

  19.   Aanna Barardon 27 Jun 2012 at 09:28

    Hello Marijke,
    Thankyou for this opportunity and that you open up equitation as an academic debate. I like your style of teaching because you are a thoughtful practicioner and question yourself also.

    My question is how do you develop the collected canter whilst also maintaining its upward thrust and impulsion? I have seen on your videos your work with the collected canter in hand, especially the canter pirouette, it is beautiful, but how would you develop that ?

    My horse is a 16 hand Portuguese pure bred Lusistano. He can levade inhand easily and has begun to levade under saddle and he also has begun to piaffe inhand and under saddle. This has helped his canter tremendously. Do I do more of this? Is it a matter of time and patience with the exercises?

    Kind regards Aanna

  20.   Ekaterina Druzhininaon 28 Jun 2012 at 09:07

    Can you please comment on using gogue? They say that is helps to build the top line up to the lower back and that it is a very useful tool for conditioning dressage horses. The people that use it a lot also said that it should not be used for more than 20 minutes twice a week. Do you have any experience with this tool?
    Kind regards,

  21.   kir thorsted kielgaston 28 Jun 2012 at 10:21

    Hello Marijke.
    Thankyou for this opportunity!
    But sadly i was not able to see you webinar :( i dont know if it is the link there dosent work? – will you maybe put it out so i can see it?
    Hope to heare from you
    Kind regards Kir

  22.   Roberta Scirea/Kraker Baioon 28 Jun 2012 at 11:20

    My horse is very intelligent, alert, curious, always trying to be the main character in all situations, is very proud and confident. He easily became bored and he wants to do only what pleases him.
    I have a big problem of leadership!
    I have a professional rider who ride him regularly in show jumping competition and for every day training. The horse with that rider is “perfect”, very diligent. He tries, sometimes, to discuss his leadership but he has no chance.
    The behavior of the horse change, literally, with me. He perfectly know my weaknesses, he perfectly knows my love for him, we had some unfairly “discussion” with rearing and bucking. He sometimes try to scare my when, on hand, we walk in the barn. There are moment on which I don’t feel safe.
    I perfectly know what I should do…change my attitude, protect my space without discussion, put my adrenaline down.
    Could you please give me some indication about what I can do to improve his behavior?
    Thank you in advance

  23.   Tatyana Smorgonskayaon 28 Jun 2012 at 11:32

    Hello Marijke,

    I have 13 year old mare a Russian Trotter by breed has completed her trotting career at the age of 4 and since then has been worked under the saddle. Our problem is that the kicks into the bit, rather strongly, when I offer her walk at loose reins. I put a link to the YouTube video where this could be watched http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWgF1iWa-QU&feature=youtu.be it could be visible at the 5th minute of the video. She is also stomping with her leg often simultaneously. During my riding lessons at the home field when I am starting to give her free rein, loosening the reins she is on the bit while we are in contact. However when in the end I am giving her the reins full length she would often kick into the bit and rather strong. I must add that she naturally extremely soft in her mouth and contact I use while riding is extremely light. Could you, please, give some guidance how to identify the possible cause for this problem and practical options for solving it.
    My second question is what you would consider to be the key milestones in the training of a young horse (3 – 4 years old). What stages would you foresee and what would be the key indicators of the progress at the respective periods of training through which you would identify the progress and potential of the horse ?

    Thank you in advance for your advice!
    Kind regards,

  24.   Fridaon 28 Jun 2012 at 14:25

    I have been instructed that it’s not good for a horse’s joints ang ligaments to work with lungeing too often. I’m wondering why people in academic arts think it’s okay and what might be the diffrence between the academic way and the “traditional” way except that the traditional side often use more equipment in lungeing. Also why people think it’s wrong to lunge but not to ride the horse in circles etc.
    Thank you and kind regards from Stockholm

  25.   Alexandraon 28 Jun 2012 at 16:37

    Dear Marijke,
    my horse is already 19 years old and has been in a riding school for 4 years, which made him quite stubborn concerning new things and ways.
    A year ago, I started the Academic art of riding with him and it helped us a lot. He can already do circles, shoulder-ins and travers, but only in walk while working in hand or riding.
    Now I want to start to work him in hand in trott, which I find very difficult. Could you provide some tips about that?
    His trott is very fast and stiff and bending is almost impossible on his own. He may now bend his neck, but for example while doing a circle, he looks outside the circle and not to his inner side. So the bending is not complete. How could I try to make him understand that he should also bend the upper part of his neck and look to the inner side with his head? Especially in trott?

    Thank you very much for your help!! You are doing great work!!!
    Kind regards from Germany,

  26.   Gwen Lindseyon 28 Jun 2012 at 18:07

    A practical and logistics question: What is the latest time today (I’m in California) that the summer course can be purchased at the discounted rate? And, if I can’t do much with the material during the summer, can I download everything – videos, eBooks, webinars, etc., and read/view them later? Or will access to everything close down at the end of 6 months?

  27.   Theresa Kingon 28 Jun 2012 at 20:10

    Fl streaming fine!

  28.   Sidselon 28 Jun 2012 at 20:10

    It is fine from Dk

  29.   Alexandra(hun)on 28 Jun 2012 at 21:07

    My 4 years old horse had an awful accident.Last year she run through the wire which cut over one tendon in her left hind leg(in the hock).After a serious surgery she healed a lot, but in movement she still stumbles sometimes.Dr says that she has no pain, but I’m not happy with it. She is fantastic jumper, really clever,well muscled. I would like to find a way to fix her leg, to make it healthy again… I would like to be sure how much work/what kind of work (exercises)do we have to do to get back where we began before the surgery.

    Thank you for your advice!

  30.   Hilaryon 28 Jun 2012 at 22:00

    I have been following your straightness training methods for a few months and my horse is very much improved, but i would like to start moving his weight back and teach him to bend his hind legs more. He tries very hard, but i could do with some advice of how to help him understand what i am asking. He is 19 years old. Thank you Marijke for your wonderful videos and webinars.

  31.   Theresa Kingon 28 Jun 2012 at 22:15

    Thank you for hosting the webinar it was informative and stimlating.

  32.   Terryon 28 Jun 2012 at 22:18

    Marijke, Thanks you for answering my question. Your webinar was delightful and I look forward to future webinars with you.

  33.   Marijke de Jongon 28 Jun 2012 at 22:28

    Thanks Everyone!
    Just want to send a BIG thank you out to everyone who joined me for today’s webinar.

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