The structure of our online academy

This academy is a collection of 50 years of working with horses. From being a little cowboy and playing Indian with the ponies of my dad to show jumping (15 years), to horsemanship (15 years) and to the Academic Art of Riding (10 years). From 1993 bitless riding has become a conscious choice. Partly out of respect for the horse, and partly because I see it as an extra challenge in reaching the highest level in the art of riding with a horse. Togetherness, communication, refinement and a bigger awareness in everything we do. For all of this we have developed a logical structure that everyone can make their own in his own way. Horse riding is to me to master everything that a horse likes and that makes a horse better. This is everything we will show in word and video in this academy. We wish you a lot of learning pleasure!

Step 1: First groundwork & First riding

We take you through the Elementary phase where we teach you the first three aids of the seven secondary aids. You teach your horse step-by-step and in a logical manner a way of communicating using different techniques. Techniques that are meant to create an emotional and mental basis to work with your horse. Your relationship is the foundation and needs to remain the most important element throughout the rest of the education. This ensures that your horse becomes and remains a calm, focused and happy horse. They are not about shaping the spine.

This set of techniques will first be taught from the ground and after your horse understands them, can be taught in riding. In that way we can build a communication based on mutual trust.

“Step 1 and Step 2 are the fundament for all riders: with our without a bit.”

Step 2: Basic groundwork & Basic riding

We take you through the Basic phase. We teach the last four of the seven Secondary Rider aids separately to the horse and we introduce the Primary aids. By separating the Secondary aids, the horse will understand more easily what we want, it is less confusing. You, as a rider, will learn to distinguish more easily the Secondary aids from the Primary aids. It will teach you to refine the Primary aids with more awareness. More in this step:

–Control of head, shoulders and hindquarter
–Learn to be efficient and calm in giving the aids
–We introduce trot and canter
–The horse recognizes our intentionline
–We teach the horse to mirror us

With the constructive exercises that were developed in a logical and well-organized way, we will make it possible for you to ride your horse bitless or without a bridle.

Step 3: Gymnastic groundwork & Gymnastic riding

The gymnastic phase consists of helping your horse to become more straight and supple. This phase consists of teaching your horse the six side movements in groundwork, handwork and advanced lunging, of course in different gaits.
These six side movements are:

–Bended on a straight line
–Shoulder in
–Quarter in

We work on the lateral and horizontal development of the muscles. A rounded topline. The horse becomes more beautiful, strong, elegant and proud.

After reaching this stage of development you’ll feel that your horse starts to offer collection by itself. When you yourself are falling in love with collection you can move towards step 4, but know that also without collection you can keep your horse in a healthy state.

Step 4: Collected groundwork & Collected riding

In the collected phase you will help your horse to develop strength and power so that your horse can carry you. Schooled walk, schooled trot and schooled canter are explained in this video series as well as how to teach your horse these exercises. When is your horse ready for it? And how often should you train these elements? These are questions that will be discussed as well.
It is important to understand that in order to execute these movements, a horse needs training and time. When riding bitless, a horse is able to tell you whether or not he is ready for it. You have to listen to your horse. When he’s ready, he will start offering it to you from the gymnastic work.

“It’s better to go slow and together, than fast and far away from each other.”