The Training Spiral

Traditional Methods Reimagined for the 21st-Century Horse and Rider

Sue Grice



 Engaging new ways to understand and implement time-proven systems of horse training.

The “Scales of Training,” “Training Scale,” and “Training Pyramid” are familiar terms to riders. Around the globe and across disciplines, equestrians hear reference to them or study them as a part of their equestrian education. Dressage rider and trainer Sue Grice grew up with these concepts, too, and like many, found them to be not only fairly boring, but also confusing when it came to actually implementing them as part of daily training. In the course of her work with other riders, she came to realize that although many seemed to know about the Scales of Training in theory, few actually applied them in practice. Grice determined that this was because there was really no clear framework or methodology for implementing the system in a progressive manner. 

So Grice conceived a new approach based on the standard but with a focus on a better rate of success. Success could be achieved when the rider was engaged with the system and understood how to continually adhere to it, even as advances (or falters) might occur. For over 30 years she has continued to develop and apply her ideas, and now she has finally brought them together to share with the world in this book. 

Here readers find a detailed plan for applying what Grice calls the “Training Spiral.” She does not try to rewrite what history has shown to work in the development of the riding horse, but instead simply provides a fresh framework that enables riders and trainers to: 

  • Apply the classical elements of the Training Scale in a more progressive and logical manner, and,
  • Employ them systematically within daily training as well as over a longer period of time. 

    Grice provides clear explanations of how to use each of the six elements (Rhythm, Suppleness, Contact, Impulsion, Straightness, and Collection), how the elements are to be used in order, and what can go wrong if they are applied in the wrong order. Clear examples are given at all levels of training, and detailed case studies demonstrate how the Training Spiral can succeed where traditional systems have failed. The spiral structure provides a means of applying the Scales of Training in practice that is not just logical but also extremely easy to follow. The clarity of Grice's approach also helps horses understand what is being asked of them, leading to a happier relationship between horses and riders, and training that progresses more quickly and easily overall. 

    The Training Spiral is an invaluable and immensely practical guide for trainers and riders at all levels, from novice to advanced.

    Additional Information

    Author: Sue Grice

    Format: Paperback

    Page Count: 168

    Illustrations: 50 color photos, 55 color diagrams

    ISBN: 9781646011278

    By Sue Grice

    Sue Grice has a PhD in e-learning and is a UKCC (United Kingdom Coaching Certificate) Level 3 Dressage Specific Coach, British Dressage Accredited Coach, and British Horse Society Professional Accredited Coach. She has over 35 years of experience teaching, working, and competing in the equine industry. She has trained a variety of horses and riders in a wide range of disciplines, including dressage, eventing, driving, and natural horsemanship. Grice has a passion for coaching riders of all levels, no matter how big or small their ambitions. She believes that any horse or rider has the potential to “go farther” and taps a wealth of training tips and techniques to help the less “conventional” dressage horse succeed. Grice currently competes two horses at FEI Level, including a traditional gypsy cob named Frodo who was triple Scottish champion in 2019 at Prix St. Georges, Intermediate I, and Intermediate I Freestyle (

    Catskill Horse Magazine Says:

    “Lovely work and a good cornerstone to lay a great
    foundation for riders in any discipline.”