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Training Horses

At Avoca Park Equestrian we have developed a facility where horse and rider want for nothing.

Over the past 27 years Leanne has achieved her Equestrian Australia, National Coaching Levels 1, 2 & 3 in Dressage and is a level 2 Jumping Equitation Judge. Leanne is a level 1 licensed teacher in Philippe Karl’s School of Légèreté.

During her riding career Leanne trained and competed Avoca Black Saint to Grand Prix and in that time represented both Australia and Victoria. Leanne’s currently continuing the development of her riding with the School of Légèreté and studies many aspects in maintaining and improving the horse and rider wellbeing.

What is involved in Leanne William’s Training

Leanne has dedicated her life’s work to the best and kindest training procedures for the most successful results. She has even created a website (www.dressageinlightnessonline.com.au) which is dedicated to help owners with their own paths in training their mounts in safe a productive steps. Teaching her clients how to work towards the results Leanne has spent years learning.

Here is some information on the training methods Leanne uses for such successful results:

Cavesson Work

The cavesson training is an important part of our initial work with the horses, we use a very simple cavesson with one single ring on the nose. The cavesson is NOT to be used as an instrument for punishment in any way shape or form, the cavesson is to aid us in teaching the horses how to use their bodies in a way that is more conducive with comfortable riding for both us and them. Our cavesson work aids us in developing their strength, improving the balance and improving the suppleness. By working on these points, it will give us more longevity in their bodies.

We advise that you DO NOT use any artificial aids to put your horse in a posture.

It is of utmost importance you watch our video on how to fit a cavesson before educating your horse to the cavesson.

To purchase a cavesson follow this link to our shop page.


Lunging is an integral part of our training system, it is the second stage and is the time that we commence the locomotion whilst maintaining a more relaxed posture. It is the first time we get to look at the natural balance of the horse while moving. The natural balance is the balance that the horse travels in naturally without any influence form us. This can be longitudinal, lateral or diagonal balance.

It is also the time that we get to assess the muscular development of the horses, expose them to different parts of the arena and expose them to the environment around the arena. All the while allowing them to learn how to organize their bodies and develop strength in a way that is conducive with carrying a rider with beauty.

Including Cavelletti

The cavelletti training on the lunge is a wonderful way of building confidence, co-ordination, bascule, strength and symmetry in your horses. We incorporate it into our lunging stage of training after the horses have started to develop some natural balance both longitudinally, laterally and diagonally.

It is also a great way to continue to develop your relationship with your horse, communicating via body language, verbally and with the extension of your artificial aids.

Education of the Mouth Process

The education of the mouth can be broken down into four easy to understand components:


When we talk about the word “contact” we are talking about the connection between the rider’s elbow with the horse’s mouth, through the hand via the reins and to the bit. Leading on from this is the horses’ “acceptance of the contact”. This acceptance of the contact is in essence the question “how confident is the horse to the rider’s rein aids?” Confidence comes from comprehension or understanding of what the bit is used for and what the rein aids are, this is our job as riders and trainers to explain this as clearly as possible.

It is important when we commence the education of the mouth that there are no backward actions on the mouth, all actions need to be in an upward direction – as a rule, up the line of the cheek piece. If there is backwards pressure it causes unnecessary pressure on the horses’ tongue and teeth which can be the first step to loss of confidence in the bit or the hand.

What we want to see is a relaxed mobile jaw or chewing without tension. As trainers, this is our indication that the horse is ready for us to have a conversation and we can build on this. The mobility of the jaw is essential in the ongoing training of the horse, as soon as we start to get this response we are relaxing the mind and the body- no tight jaw can have a relaxed mind or relaxed muscles.


When we talk about balance we have longitudinal (forwards and backwards), lateral (left and right) and diagonal (left front/right hind and right front/left hind). We are looking for the front legs to be at a 90 degree angle to the ground and the point of hock to be underneath the point of buttock. This enables us to get access to the power of the hind quarter by asking for energy, in turn bascule is initiated by the engagement of the core muscles and the process of telescoping the neck has begun. To aid the horse in its relaxation of the mouth we need to educate the posture to be able to maintain as much balance as possible in all these positions.


Once we have improved the balance we can then ask our horses to bend both to the left and to the right. Bend is the lateral flexion of the horses neck – or more specifically the cervical vertebrae. The horses back remains straight through the thoracic, lumbar, sacral and caudal vertebrae. During bend we are looking for the nose to stay vertical to the ground, with no head tilt or poll flexion. and be able to stretch around without force in both directions. We aim to gradually obtain a bend in the horse’s neck of 45 to 90 degrees, to the body, without poll flexion. There should be no loss of balance longitudinally or laterally in this process.


Finally after the first three facets have been established we want the horse to learn to extend the neck without losing balance over the shoulders. We are looking for the neck to extend forwards and downwards, so that the poll is lower than the withers. In doing so, we not only maximise the stretching of the muscles in the outside half of the neck, but we also stretch the horse’s topline. We use an aid called action / reaction to develop this posture.

In Hand Work

The in-hand work leads directly on from the “education of the mouth”. Once your horse is very confident with all the initial exercises, both from the front and from the side (left and right) we can add in the locomotion. That is, walking while working on the contact, balance, bend and neck extension. Initially it will just be working on stop, go, turn left and turn right, you can begin circles, counter bend turns, rein-back and transitions including walk / halt / walk, walk / trot / walk and halt / trot / halt. With work, you can begin all the sideways movements such as shoulder in, traver, renver, half pass and walk pirouettes. This ultimately leads to the development of the piaffe and passage exercises.

Ridden Work

Once you get to the ridden stage it is an exciting time, but the first four stages should not be forgotten and always re visited when necessary.

The world has now opened to the all the exercises that will aid in helping the development of your horse’s symmetry and continue the journey of the new relationship you are developing with your horse.

Remember to take your time, give yourself time to develop your own skills and give your horse time to understand what you are trying to achieve. Once you are into the ridden stage enjoy the learning.

Mounting Lessons

The ultimate outcome for the mounting process, that we have designed, is for the horses to stand so quietly that any person of any age, or ability, can mount.

We Also do Float Training:


Teach to Tie-Up:

Horse Training

And Much More:

Race Horses

Would you like your horse to get some training?

If you are interested in us helping you, please fill out an ‘Application for Horse Training’ found at the bottom of this page. Avoca Park will contact you to discuss your horse in further detail, including an honest idea of how long Leanne believes she will need, to train your horse to reach your goal depending on their history.

Avoca Park’s Price Training Fees

$77* per day


 A week of training (& Agistment): $550* (per week)

*All prices listed above do not include our “Feed Fee”. Avoca Park uses our Feed Analysis Calculator to calculate the exact cost of feeding each horse on site. We do not charge any more than our cost price.

Our cost of feed is variable depending on the type of horse, because we train all types of horses, at all stages of fitness. This includes different breeds from riding ponies at competition fitness to recently agisting an underweight Percheron, rescued from a drought effected area. When a horse comes onto our property, we will provide full care and maintain all aspects of feeding.

For example, it costs $49 to feed the average horse at Avoca Park each week on our basic “in training” feed. The price is variable depending on feed prices and your horse’s individual needs. You are welcome to view a copy of our feed analysis document at any time while your horse is in training to explain our cost of “Feed Fee”.

All additional care provided by a staff member, for example, additional handling due to injury/ dressing wounds/ administering medication/cost of medication, or the use of an off-site professional such as a farrier or vet, will be an additional cost to your monthly invoice.

The above fees are based on horses agisting in our private paddocks.

Stabling is available and can be requested at an additional cost of $44 per day or $250 per week (inclusive of cleaning and sawdust).

Booking A Horse for Training

There is an upfront holding fee deposit of $200, we will send out an invoice after we receive your application. The $200 will be deducted from your training fees upon further invoice. We will ask for an upfront payment of 3 weeks prior to the arrival of your horse and then charge in up to 3 week invoices ongoing.

Application for Horse Training

Visit Leanne's website Dressage In Lightness Online to find out how you can apply Leanne's training methods yourself.

“I attended the lightness clinic last weekend. It was my first clinic with my young horse who is having some training with Leanne. This was also the first time I’ve ridden my horse since he’s been at Avoca Park, the work Leanne has done with him has been amazing, the difference I felt in him was fantastic! Thank you, guys”

                                                    Alma Robinson

“Thank you, Leanne, for training Moondance, identifying & correcting her issues then teaching me how to work with her & provide a plan for our development together moving forward. Also, for accommodating my inflexible hours & always finding the time to book classes for us any time day or night. Fantastic facilities, experience, knowledge & professionalism, very grateful for your services”                                               Mimi Lawerence