Another way is possible

A way of approaching dressage work, which honors the rider’s individual vision and choice of expression.

Like painters who all may similarly learn similar techniques and work with roughly the same tools, their work may turn out drastically different. In fact, it WILL if they are not confined by trying to conform to a certain set of values and rules which are not their own… if they are not trying to merely clone the work of their teachers.

So just as with other arts, the same applies in dressage.

Building upon a solid framework of techniques and exercises, you can bring your own personal vision to life through your riding. Expressing the harmony, relationship, and deep understanding which inspires you. 

Artist: Maria Mähler
Artist: Maria Mähler
Artist: Maria Mähler

An Artistic Approach

The artistic approach towards dressage is an optimistic way of looking at the training of the horse. It chooses to focus on the positive rather than the negative, and cultivate that good, then develop it, so that it builds upon itself.

Building upon that essential goodness within the horse, we connect to the horse compassionately and approach everything we do with the horse with empathy for the horse as a living, sentient being whose soul and intentions are inherently good. As a being who plays a vital role in his training through his willingness, cooperation, and sincerity.

By viewing the horse and our relationship with the horse in this light, our interactions are completely transformed because they come from a completely and radically altered perspective. One which doesn’t treat the horse as an object to be manipulated but as a partner with whom to collaborate.

This is a method which teaches you to understand the causes for the things that happen and how to distinguish the symptoms from the source of the symptoms.

This is a method which teaches you the connections between the horse's mind, the way his body works, and the way he interacts with you. You learn to understand these connections, how they work, why they work, and what to do about them.

We can foster our creativity in our riding in a way that satisfies the technical aspects (such as which problems cause which symptoms, what body parts of the horse to address, what tools can specifically be utilized to address these, and how to proceed in the overall strategy of our riding).

We also can learn to cultivate our curiosity so that we learn the right questions to ask. As Albert Einstein said, “The quality of your answers is in direct proportion to the quality of your questions.” This is very applicable to riding.

Photo Credit: Andreas Evertz

Through this process we can learn to cultivate intuition and feel. Not everyone is born with "feel" or knows how to access their intuition as riders, but these skills can absolutely be learned. With the right tools and strategies.

By learning to ride with curiosity, mindfulness, and intuition, you can ride "in the flow". Learning how to diagnose issues, learning how to problem-solve, learning how to tune in, and learning how to thoughtfully ride every moment IN the moment. This is artistic riding.

It is about purposefully and mindfully being fully in the moment. It is present, alive, and dynamic.

Another Way is Possible

A way of training horses which honors the horse’s mind, body, and spirit equally.

A way of learning to ride which empowers the rider with the tools to understand the why, the what, and the how.


Dr. Thomas Ritter

International clinician

Acclaimed author of Dressage Principles based on Biomechanics (Cadmos Press, 2011) and Long Reining: From the Beginning through the Levade (Cadmos Press, 2016).


Shana Ritter

U.S.D.F Bronze and Silver Medalist

Artistic Dressage Program Director