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Second Straightness Training Clinic in Brazil


On May 9,10,11 the second Straightness Training Clinic in Brazil was organized and I have just enjoyed a fascinating couple of days with the Brazilian Straightness Training fans. What a fantastic group of people and what a fantastic four days it has been! And such a great atmosphere!

We had enthusiastic spectators and dedicated students and horses, some of them where here for the second time and a few were new to straightness training. They all made fantastic progress and quickly grasped the essence of Straightness Training!

mounted-police-espirito-santoA delegation of the Mounted Police of the state Espírito Santo was also present at the clinic.

And Dr Marcello Miranda (white shirt) gave a wonderful lecture about the importance of good hoof care, Marc Marsman (middle) did a great job behind the scenes and ensured that all the technical stuff was working properly and Victor Gueros Freire did a wonderful job in organizing the clinic!

Clinic at Hípica Flamboyant

Victor Gueiros Freire, a dedicated student at Straightness Training Mastery, organized the clinic at his beautiful equestrian center, Hípica Flamboyant.


Victor’s horses and donkeys live in the beautiful nature of the state Espírito Santo and have a very good and social life at Hípica Flamboyant.


Victor was so generous to let the participants, who flew in from all over Brazil, enjoy the togetherness with and openess of his horses during the clinic. Mar de Fogo, the chestnut stallion, Zidan, the white Mangolino and Onix, the grey and playful gelding improved a lot since last year and were very generous to the participants to share their skills and they were ready for the next step.

And not only the horses at Hípica Flamboyant like people, also the wild monkeys who come for a daily visit to Hípica Flamboyant to eat some bananas.

photo 1brazilian-monkeys


We really could take it a step further with all the wonderful students and horses this year!

Rinaldo Capitalli ,Priscilla Thomazelli, Marianne van de Sande Lee,  Ju Dorneles, and Victor Guerios Freire (on the group picture from left to right) are dedicated students of Straightness Training Mastery and the ST Home Study Course and they joined the clinic with great enthusiasm. The progress has been lovely to watch! Everyone has only been interested in searching for the essences of the exercises. Beautiful lessons! I’m very proud of you and excited to be part of your journeys! Ju Dorneles and Marianne van de Sande Lee did also a great job as translator during the clinic.


Also the other students of the clinic were amazing to work with: Leticia and Jorge and his father Antonio brought their own horse, both mares, a young 4 years old Mangalargar Marchador and an older and wise jumping horse. We could detect the natural asymmetry and started the first steps in straightness training with these lovely horses.

Iana, who was a spectactor last year and now joined the clinic this year with Victor’s horse Zidan, did an awesome job and at the end she was able to start the renvers in hand!

And on Monday, the day after the clinic, I gave private lessons to Dr. João Luiz Leite Pacheco, veterinarian and major at the Mounted Políce of the state of Espírito Santo, and it was so great to see his natural feeling for horses and he very easily and quickly could integrate the concepts of Straightness Training.

Marianne van de Zande Lee, who is member of the Dutch Professional Program, gave a private lesson on Monday to Willian, Victor’s employee who takes care of Victor’s horses. Willian has a natural talent to work with horses and it was a pleasure to see Marianne teaching,  well done Marianne! Willian is completely schooled by Victor from scratch, because when Willian came to Hípica Flamboyant he never worked with horses. Well done you Victor! Love to see Brazilian ST instructors in the making!

Lectures during the clinic

Every day the clinic days started with lectures:straightness-training-brazil-lecture-2

The first day we talked about the educational program of the horse, the natural asymmetry and about the six keys of straightness training.

The second day we dived more into the details of straightness training and talked about the important essence of straightness training: to keep the center of mass in the right position and to ask the hind legs to step under the correct center of mass during all exercises.

The third day we talked about the aids: the mental and energetic aids, the seat, leg and rein aids.

We also talked about the combination of aids which result in lateral, versal and traversal aids and we talked about the half halts.

We also did different exercises to improve our mental and energetic aids.

The Mounted Police of the state Espírito Santo of also use ‘goal oriented’ liberty training with their horses and one officer showed a video on how they do that: The horse has to follow them in a ‘zig-zag’, where the horse needs to change the bending in his body and needs to stay connected with the officer.

Check out the video for a short impression of the lectures and a glimps of this video:

Click here for the original video of the officer of Police:

marcello-mirandaDr Marcello Miranda also gave a very interesting lecture and a demo about good hoof care.

There’s an old saying: ‘no foot, no horse‘.

So damaged, weak or wrongly trimmed hooves can mean your horse will probably go lame, and you’ll have no horse to ride.

You can have everything else perfect, but of the horse has not a good ‘foundation’, you’ll have no horse to work with.

This is why good hoof care is essential and Dr Marcello Miranda told us all about it, demonstrated it with Zidan and gave us valuable tips.

Lessons during the clinic

Every day we started every session with the stand still exercises ‘stelling & bending’ and ‘forward down’ to check the first two keys of straightness training. When these exercises went well, we added the third key of straightness training, the ‘stepping under’, so we could end up with the exercises LFS on a circle. The L stands for ‘lateral bend’, the F for ‘forward down’ and the S for ‘stepping under’.

lfs l-f-s

We practiced the fourth key of Straightness Training by doing haunches-in to engage the outside hind leg to step under the center of mass.

With Onix we also started to develop haunches-in away from the wall. After a few days he could start to do haunches-in on the diagonal and a little bit on the circle.

With Mar de Fogo, Zidan and Onix we could also make a start with renvers in hand and both students and horses really put a lot of effort understanding and doing this exercise. In the beginning this exercises is really not easy, but by taking it one step at the time we got some very good results!

And we started with Straightness Training under saddle.

In Straightness Training we first guide both student and horse from the ground, to find a proper LFS under saddle:

It’s very important that the horse carries us properly to save the back from injuries. Therefore the horse should move with the head and neck in a forward down position and he should support both his own body and the body of the rider with the inside hind leg. To achieve this we need the lateral bending and the helper from the ground can help the horse to achieve a proper LFS.

The horse also learns to understand that the rider’s aids from above mean the same as the guidance from the ground and when the horse understands the riders aids, the helper from the ground is not necessary anymore.

The riders made fantastic progress and quickly grasped the essence of the first 3 keys under saddle and were able to demonstrate LFS on the circle.

This is what Ju Dorneles had to say about the lessons:

ju-dornelesJu DornelesIt’s been a week since the clinic in Brazil and I`m still under the effects of Marijke`s magic… She did such a great job here! When I came back home I felt so strangely different, also my horses were like if they had done an astral journey with me… we got an immediate understanding, the things that were being a challenge simple were solved… Eragon was all respectful and loyal, not biting or nipping; Laranja was coming to me to work and was not afraid of the saddle, Raquel was searching for the reins when riding… Its been like if they had gone to the clinic too… I had so many insights! I want to scream to the world, and say the importance of the head searching forward down, the shoulders in, the precise communication, the coordination… I could understand things that I had not understood in many many years of horse riding. I am so impressed with what is happening to us… I am so thankful to Marijke de Jong for sharing all this, to hvae organized this knowledge in a way we can do! love forever to ST!”

Thank you!

So this is a short impression of this a fantastic clinic! Again, Victor Guerios Freire did an amazing job in organising the second Straightness Training clinic in Brazil, and thank you Marianne Van de Sande Lee and Ju Dornales for translating! And thank you Marc Marsman and Ju Dorneles for the wonderful pictures.

Thanks to all the riders and auditors who took time out of their schedules to come and hang out with me for three days and for your enthusiasm! It is always amazing to be surrounded by so many people who are open and eager to learn! And a special thank you to Victor and the riders who allowed me the honor of working with and riding their horses for them.

Many thanks to the sponsors:

  • Prefeitura de Guarapari
  • Flamboyant Hotel & Convention
  • Parque Aquático Acquamania
  • Acquamarine Park Hotel

Now its a few days of private lessons with Victor and his staff, then up to São Paulo next Monday to some of my ST Mastery students down there!

And in the upcoming days we will do a special webinar for our ST Monthly members here in Brazil, to share all insights and experiences considering the clinic and if you would like to join this webinar, click HERE >>

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