ST Mastery student Samantha Aronson from South Africa passed Riding 1 with her gelding Bolero and with that Touchstone, she has passed all 5 Touchstones in Grade 1 in the ST Evaluation Program!
Samantha has some great insights to share about the Mastery and Evaluation Program, and how it has helped her on her Straightness Training journey so far:
“In 2013 I began searching for a training program that would help rehabilitate my Namibian Warmblood, Bolero. He had been retired for the past 4 years due to mysterious and progressive lameness and back pain. I always felt that a key reason for his ailments was poor training.
I knew in my heart that if I could become a better trainer, I could use movement to help him through his physical problems, in the same way that a good physical therapy program does for people. I needed to deepen my education on the gymnasium of the horse, broaden my perceptions, and optimize my skills as a trainer.
That was when I discovered the Straightness Training program. With the help of online resources and the wonderful Zaneta Georgiades, I began to learn the basics of ST. To my delight, Bolero’s strength and coordination began to improve, 2mm at a time!
In 2017 I was lucky enough to enroll as a full-time Mastery student and by studying the theory available in the Academy, I began to realize the importance of the essence of the various dressage movements. The amazing modules on learning theory and behaviour modification really highlights how a trainer needs to approach a horse in order to shape healthy movements. Most importantly, I started to see that a lot of personal changes needed to happen for me to achieve my goal!
I feel very much transformed through the process of participating in the ST evaluation program. I have spent a lot of time on the “think, act, check, change” process and on many occasions had to give myself a pep talk when I started feeling frustrated. I have had to change from being impulsive to being patient, from having expectations to cultivating appreciation, and from being very good at monologue to learning how to dialogue.
One of the best things about the ST philosophy is that it has empowered me to take responsibility for my own growth.
Bolero is now 19 (almost 20) and has changed from being stiff and sluggish to being supple and responsive. Today he is a sound, strong horse who is keen to work and keen to learn new things. And he really appreciates the changes in my training style.
The ST Academy is not only a rocket ship – for me, it has been a magic time machine. It has allowed me to travel back in time with my horse, through all the layers of beginner’s mistakes that I have accumulated from the past, and slowly work to make things right. I am very lucky to have a patient companion like Bolero to accompany me on my journey to becoming a better trainer.
Straightness Training has become more than just an exercise program for my horse. It has become a transformational tool for myself, like Yoga or Taichi, where my horse is the mirror in which I can see myself. And while I am still learning, I can rely on the excellent ST evaluators to always help me polish things up!
It really is the best program. I know that passing Grade 1 is only the start of the journey, but I am thrilled with the foundations that have been laid. I look forward to adding to this in the future!”
~ Samantha Aronson, South Africa
To hear more about Samantha’s experience in the ST Academy, you can watch her case study below:
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