For the next few weeks we’ll be partnering with ST Mastery students to tell the STories of their horses. This is a great group of ST practioners who made a difference for their horse and added value to the lives of their horse. And we are very thankful that they’ve volunteered to share their STories to give us hope and inspiration!
Here’s the first story, the story of the horse Ripple and ST Mastery student Zaria Gaydon:
“Enough now. I’m sitting on the sofa with a mug of steaming tea and a discarded note pad beside me. On the TV there is a girl putting a bareback on a spotted mare. The mare stands quietly, her head slightly raised accepting the bareback being placed and the girth being done up. The mare is Ripple, my Princess Ripple, and the girl is me. For some saddling a horse is a task, no more than just an occurrence, something that is done before the real work begins. For me it is marvellous.
Amazing three days at the ST Mastery clinic in Sweden!
Thank you to all attendees that were bringing their empowering energy and were playing full out! We had ST Mastery students from 6 different countries ‘in da house’: Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the UK, France and the Netherlands!
Huge gratitude and respect to the riders – Karin Wåhlin, Mirja Saarväli, Fina Bjernheim, and Tanja Verhagen from Sweden and Tuula Vanhalakka and Theresa Silfver from Finland – who shared there wonderful work in progress and their ST laboratories with us together with their lovely horses!
Here’s a 2 minute video where we’ve tried to capture the 3 day Mastery Clinic in Sweden in 2 minutes:
Training on your own is like working in a laboratory, where you have the freedom to experiment within the boundaries of proven training principles.
I’ve been working in my liberty laboratory – my ‘lib lab’ – a lot lately to investigate training at liberty with multiple horses. Because I believe that the more I can understand a horse’s brain, the better I can train.
Now in my lab I’ve been experimenting and therefore I also made ‘mistakes’. So sometimes my approach was working, sometimes it didn’t, sometimes I had all horses nicely lined up, sometimes I ‘lost’ a horse. Or one of them didn’t understand what I meant. Or one horse put much more effort into the task than the other two. So I had to figure out how to get all minds aligned to the task.
Many riders with gaited horses think they don’t need to do the ‘common’ dressage exercises, because they practice other gaits.
But a gaited horse is just a horse, it has the same muscles and the same bones and the same asymmetry. And no horse is made to carry a rider – no matter what breed, no matter if it’s a gaited horse or not – because by nature most weight is on a horse’s fragile fore legs.
So all core exercises of ST are needed for any kind of (gaited) horse to help the horse transform from natural balance – the picture on the left where the horse is caryring more weight on the front legs – to artifical balance – the picture on top of the ladder, where the horse is carrying more weight on the hind legs. And this rebalancing can take place by transforming the ability from the hind legs from ‘pushing’ ability to also a ‘carrying’ ability.
Now for a clean tölt you need free shoulders and hind legs that are equally strong. That’s why tölt is at the same level of piaffe.