ST Mastery student Callie Klein from the US passed Riding 1 with her mare Sasha and with that Touchstone, she has passed all 5 Touchstones in Grade 1 in the ST Evaluation Program!
Callie has some great insights to share about the Mastery and Evaluation Program, and how it has helped her on her wonderful Straightness Training journey:
“When I found Straightness Training I was hoping it was the answer I was looking for, and it was. I needed help.
My horse, Sasha, was very spooky after her foal was attacked and killed by a wolf in Canada. She carried this fear with her for many years and we have been working for a long time to help her become more confident and able to enjoy her life. I found she was consistently blowing up and running away at the right lead canter so I tried many techniques and ideas to help her, thinking it was just a ‘mental’ problem. At the time I did not know it was a physical asymmetrical balance problem.
Straightness Training was THE answer I was looking for! To this day, Sasha is still always on alert and pushy but thanks to the ST Academy, she has come a long way in both mental and physical balance. I never dreamed I would be riding this horse in a bareback pad and a cavesson!
At first, I thought this was training to help Sasha, and it is, but it’s actually a program that is helping me. Through the instruction of Marijke and entire ST Team, I’m beginning, just beginning, to see a little glimpse of how I can improve to become a better trainer and my horse can improve to become a more balanced horse.
The Evaluation Process has been one of growth for me. In the beginning, I thought I was doing really great when my horse put her head down and I saw her step under her belly! I thought, “Wow, we have LFS!” But over time and education, I learned we didn’t have it at all, and even now I am still discovering deeper layers! Now I understand it’s a lifelong process of growth and development.
Through the Evaluation process, I have learned about myself in ways I did not expect. I’ve had to grow in my mental and emotional maturity to have more understanding and be more compassionate toward my horse. Changing my physical movements has been a real challenge for me also, but I want to develop better feel and timing so I keep practicing! I’ve finally realized that scores are good to tell me where I am in a particular movement, but now I am striving more for quality and essence with what I do.
The Evaluation Team has been phenomenal – gently helping me understand what I could do better and keeping me encouraged enough to keep going to find better quality in our work.
Even though I just passed Grade one, I will continue to work with Sasha in Grade 1 to improve our foundation so that we can arrive in Grade 2 with more of the essence we need for success. There is a world of new things to do and experience within the Evaluation process and I look forward to continuing this journey. I still have a long way to go.
Thank you to Marijke, the ST Staff, Evaluators, Instructors, and the ST Members and Mastery students on Facebook who have coached me along the way and continue to inspire me to keep going!”
~ Callie Klein, United States
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