Last weekend we had a wonderful Straightness Training Workshop in Austria (04./05.05.) with 6 horse/rider combos who dived into Groundwork, Longeing, Work in hand and Riding 😊


In the theory 👂 we discussed the different types of half halts and when and how to perform them. It was very interesting to explore and to find out that the ‘map is never the territory’.


One of the most important ones is the ‘Steinbrecht check’, which is an observing  🔎 half halt and consists of four steps:

1. The rider is closing his hand like squeezing a sponge out (asking)

2. The horse yields

3. The rider is opening his hand (giving)

4. The horse is searching towards the hand


It sounds and reads very easy but when we are in the arena it can be quite challenging already in the standstill exercises to get a clear ‘ask-yield-give-search’ process going.

Not only we have to concentrate on what we are doing with our hands (pressure & release technique) we also need to master our own emotions and feeling staying calm and having a clear plan what we want to do. Besides this, we are dealing with outside influences like a busy arena with more horses 🐎🐎🐎 and different noises going on outside. Then it is not only about the four steps, it’s about dealing with the whole situation and to get the training session as effective as possible.

So we discovered: ‘Always have a plan but be flexible in your approach’ 😊


Later in the different pillars we dived into the combined half halts once the golden thread of LFS (lateral bending, forward down tendency and stepping under of the inside hind leg) was lost and our ‘Steinbrecht check’ did not come through enough.

With ‘versal’ or ‘traversal’ half halts, which consist of seat, leg, hand and whip aids we are able to produce and bring back the balance, suppleness, shape the so called self-carriage ️ in the horse so that our horses can become light in our hands not falling in or out of the movement.

The combined half halts are even more challenging than the observing half halts because of the combination of seat, leg, hand and whip aids. Sometimes in riding, the use of only a clear seat and hand aid can be enough and something we need all of them at the same time yet not forgetting to breath allowing our body to be relaxed and inviting the horse into our seat.


We had some lovely moments of round 🍅, elegant posture arising in every Pillar 🏛️ and the smiles on the riders faces where obvious 😊


A big THANK YOU to all the observing students and the participants with their horses for attending this weekend bearing in the cold ️ arena; Rubi with Orli, Julia with Excellente and Darek, Alina with Vera, Sabine with Zimti, Sophie with Geronimo and Darek, Renee with Geronimo.


It was a pleasure to support you and your lovely horses. Have fun at home in your lab to polish your knowledge and skills and I look forward to seeing you next year and some of you in a upcoming Touchstones.


Happy Straightness Training 😘

Last weekend we had another great ST Workshop (30./31.03.) with private lessons in Bella Italia, Tuscany organized by ST Mastery Entry student Silvia Taverni.


This time we focused on how to get our horses from a cucumber 🥒 (natural balance) to a tomato 🍅(horizontal balance)  and how to get them back on track if they lost balance, suppleness and shape. In our theory we discussed the different varieties of half halts. In order to give a half halt we must be able to observe 👀 our horse first and see when it is out of balance. The main goal of a half halt is actually to keep the center of mass in its place so the horse can step under properly and support himself in the basic exercises. Later on, in training and when the horse is more advanced, we focus on the carrying ability of the hind legs, which will build up muscles 💪.


We dived and explored the ‘Steinbrecht check’, which is an observing half halt. This one only checks if everything is fine like balance, suppleness, shape, tempo and rhythm so we can carry on.

In the standstill exercises we already checked the four stages of: 1. The rider closes his hand (ask), 2.Tthe horse yields, 3.The rider opens his hand (give) and 4. The horse searches into forward down. This ‘ask-yield-give-serach’ process is so crucial in every exercise, gait or Pillar we work in.


We had some lovely work in hand and riding lessons, where the connecting half halt had its time. Not only squeezing the sponge and a twinkly whip in behind bring the horses into the desired tomato 🍅shape also our emotions, feeling, body language, when and how to give an aid play a big role.

In theory it sounds simple but in practice it is a different story. So the map 🗺️ is never the territory ️.


We also had a fantastic Liberty session, where ST Mastery student Timna showed the Touchstone sequence with her lovely mare. Inner Canidà picture and inner feeling, body language and if necessary a whip aid are also a combination of different half halts to help the horse into the LFS and in the higher Grades into the requested ⛰️shape.


A big thank you to Isabella Galgano for her effortless translation between English and Italian and Barbara Taverni for her delicious food 🍷🍕. Always taking care so well of the Workshop participants.


Thanks to all riders and spectators, who made this workshop a full success. ST Mastery Entry student Silvia Tave with Stella, ST Mastery Timna Panfietti Monaco with Canidà. Then we had Elia Taverni with Ribot, Eleonora Niccolini with Pensame, Loretta Manneschi with Camomilla and Aldo with Nina and Manuela Maccari with Ice in a private lesson.

You all did a very good job in guiding your horses into tomatos 🍅.

Happy ST to you all e ci vediamo 😊

Auch dieses Jahr kann ich mit Stolz mein neues Logo als lizensierter ST Instructor präsentieren als auch weiterhin das Logo eines offiziellen Straightness Training Evaluators.


I am very proud to present my new Logo also for 2019 as a licensed ST Instructor as well as being an official Straightness Training Evaluator.