2022: ST Evaluator & ST Academy Coach & Mentor Instructor
“Here’s my little introduction of who I am, where I am, who my horses are, and what our journey was and is.
My name is Dora Hebrock, I am from Austria and live in the USA, and I am a Straightness Training Instructor since 2018.
I did not grow up with horses, but with a love and interest for all animals, and I’ve wanted to farm since the age of four. There were always horses around where I grew up, and I have several extended family members who own horses, and they played a big role in my Grandmother’s life, but at the time she was not allowed to ride because of being a girl.
At age 15, I spent a summer in Italy at a children’s camp and started riding the ponies there that were used for the children to ride. I ended up being the main caretaker of the 8 ponies and returned there a year later to spend about 9 months there.
From that time onwards I wanted to work with horses full time and learn everything there is to learn. I still have a leaflet of the horse management school in one of my files that I kept since I was 17 years old.
But that was not yet to be. I got married and moved to Scotland, later France and Switzerland, and had three children whom I wanted to give all my time, so my dreams had to wait a little longer.
My marriage sadly ended and I moved back to Austria to be with my family, and it was there that I gathered up the little confidence I had and enrolled in the horse management program that I’d wanted to attend for many years. I did not know whether they would accept me because my riding skills were not very good, I had never ridden in an arena, only out in the fields and on trail, and I was an older student. It felt crazy to me as I knew it was hard to make a living in horses, especially being older and not having much horse experience overall.
But to my surprise, I did get accepted and learned all basic concepts of horse care, including basic care, diet, health care, farming aspects like producing hay, but also driving, riding dressage and show jumping, and a course to become a vaulting instructor.
While studying I discovered Straightness Training as I became very interested in the horse’s natural asymmetry when working with a saddle fitter for a few days during my internship.
During my internship year, I purchased my first horse, Kim, a Gypsy Cob. Trying to be sensible, I was looking for a horse that had basic training, but as horses pick us instead of us picking them, I ended up with this lovely mare who was shy and polite, but very afraid of being ridden. She either froze or bolted with a rider on her back. With some patience and a helper, she soon came around to trusting a rider but there was more work to be done to shape her into a proper, good riding horse.
As I was looking for a riding program that taught work with horses and riding correctly from the start rather than so many that I saw that were lacking in essence, I stuck with Straightness Training and signed up for the Mastery Program when Marijke first launched it. I felt that if I ever got to the level of teaching others about horse training and riding that this is what makes sense to teach, but if I didn’t I would still learn the best method out there as the theory makes sense, is clear and very well structured, and it works!
I also took a clinic on natural hoof care and started trimming Kim’s feet myself. I really enjoyed this and felt I wasn’t too bad at it, so I sought out a professional program with the idea of maybe adding it to my profession in order to be able to contribute to the horse world while hopefully being able to make a living.
It was at this extended hoof care clinic that I met my husband who is the reason I, my son, dog, and my mare Kim moved to the USA in 2016.
Three months after we arrived in the US I graduated Grade 2 in the Straightness Training Evaluation Program, after which Marijke invited me to become an instructor. I still didn’t quite believe I was good enough to do that, but I thought if Marijke is confident in me there has to be something to it.
And here I am now teaching Straightness Training not just in hands-on individual lessons, but also online in the Scholars Program as an Academy Coach, Evaluator, and now even Mentor Instructor for future Basic ST Instructors. I also work as Hoof Care Professional together with my husband, and can proudly say that we are successful in working with horses 100% of our time and able to make a living doing what we love.
I now also work with my husband’s horse Andero, who is a Peruvian Paso, a gaited horse, which, as working with Kim, teaches me so much about the benefits of Straightness Training for horses that are not bred for dressage.
If I had listened to my practical mind and people telling me there is no living to be made in the horse world, I would not be here writing this introduction today. But I listened to my heart and followed my intuition, determined to find meaning in life and my work.
I really hope my story is inspiring to some of you wanting to learn more and take a leap of faith in following your dreams.”