Straight & Supple Level 1 – Foundation Principles & Theory


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“Equitation is confessedly a science; every science is founded upon principles and theory must indispensably be necessary, because what is truly beautiful cannot depend upon chance.” – Earl of Pembroke speaking in 1778

This exciting NEW ground-breaking course takes you on a journey into the foundation principles and theory behind Classical Equitation and Training as well as providing the student with a structured and in-depth process of exactly how to train your horse towards classical balance and lightness from the ground onwards to ridden.

If you are looking for a way to ultimately adhere to the real classical principles of preserving and prolonging your horse’s soundness, to understand both his physical and psychological state in order to produce a horse who uses his body efficiently through balance and suppleness, this course is for you!

So many well intentioned, loving horse owners have never even heard of classical dressage, let alone know what it is and what separates it from any other riding or training out there, or why correctly trained classical dressage is actually of benefit to the horse compared to mainstream modern dressage, which instead is often detrimental to them both physically and psychologically.

I passionately believe it’s about time we brought this understanding back, so that we can take steps to ensure our horses are protected from the psychological damage and physical injury that occurs from our human ignorance, no matter how unintentional it is, so that they stop being used for our own gain, serving purely as extensions of our own ego and glory at their own physical and mental expense and demise.

This pioneering and groundbreaking course is the culmination of my life-long passion and development resulting from many years of research, study, practical knowledge and applied experience of the history of this beautiful classical art, detailing exactly what the age-old classical principles are and exactly how they can and should be adhered to for the good of the horse.” – Jo Hughes


Skill Level & Pre-requisites No previous knowledge in these topics required. Students must have completed and passed the How Horses Learn, Feel & Communicate course
Number of modules 5
Course Duration Home Study Course – 6 months
No Attendance Required Conducted by home study
  • The course material throughout the Straight & Supple Training course is delivered entirely online through video lectures in the classroom inside The Academy and the private Facebook support group provided

Course Outline

Course Outline – Straight & Supple Training – Level 1

Module 1 – An Introduction to Classical Equitation & Lightness: The History of the Art

  • Summary of How Horses Learn, Feel & Communicate Course
    • Risks & fallout of the use of aversive stimuli
    • Observation of equine body language and emotional thresholds
    • The use of Systematic Desensitisation & Counter Conditioning (SD&CC) protocols to shift fear-producing aversive stimuli in a more positive and appetitive direction
  • What exactly is Classical Equitation?
  • The foundation principles and theory behind Classical Equitation
  • A journey through time over 2500 years – the history of Classical Equitation
  • Why is correctly trained classical dressage of benefit to the horse compared to modern dressage?

Module 2 – Classical Equitation & Lightness: A Modern Science-based Art

  • Explores the present day within modern-day equine training
  • Looks at where the future of Classical horse training is heading
  • Uncovers various myths about what has historically been believed to be true
  • A look at horses within their natural ethogram
  • The application of a modern growing tapestry of change in classical horse training

Module 3 – Equine Asymmetry & Imbalance

  • How and why every horse is naturally asymmetrical
  • How and why this impacts their ability to remain balanced in a good, healthy posture
  • Falls in on circles/bridle lameness/leans on one rein/struggles to canter etc.
  • The different areas of asymmetry
  • The Optimum Balance Point and Centre of Gravity
  • The need to help our horses to use their bodies with good posture/balance/to become straight if we want to ride them

Module 4 – Equine Anatomy & Balance

  • The outcome of not addressing the asymmetry and imbalances in our horses is damage to the body in the longer term
  • Introducing Straight & Supple Training
  • How it helps to solve these physical issues through gymnastic training
  • The spinal column
  • Ligaments and muscles
  • The joints of the hind leg
  • The muscles of the hind quarters
  • The topline and the underline muscles
  • Perfection does not exist!

Module 5 – Straight & Supple Training – The Target Areas Producing Balance & Symmetry

  • Straight & Supple theory and principles
  • How do we go about strengthening the horses’ body to develop balance in all the areas of imbalance?
  • Introduction of the Target Areas of focus, what are they and how do they fit together to achieve balance
  • The end result of developing these Target Areas is a balanced, straight horse

Taster Video


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