Caryl Richardson & Dyna Basic Grade 1

Caryl Richardson & Dyna Basic Grade 1

Caryl Richardson from the United States is a Scholar in the Basic ST Instructor Certification Program who graduated in the Straightness Training Academy in Grade 1 in the four unmounted pillars: groundwork, longeing, work in hand, and Straightness Training at liberty.

Congratulations Maarten, keep up the good work in the Certification Program!

And thanks for taking the time to share your STory with us!


❝The last few years have been pretty crazy for me. At first I got carried away and wrote practically a novel here in green. Then I thought better of it and condensed the story in red, as seen below. I hope this is what is wanted. I love this program. Thank you so much.

I’m thrilled to have achieved the Basic Grade 1 Graduation with Dyna. Early on I saw her as a “special needs” horse because her conformation made her balance tricky for a riding horse. I’m so lucky she is so good natured. She has needed that calm and forgiving temperament of hers as she’s accompanied me on this journey to become a better trainer!

The first few times I rode Dyna, when she was about 5 years old, I thought I’d slide right right down her neck. She was so down hill and so wobbly. Many young horses can feel this way at first, but I’d never experienced it quite so extremely. After several rides it was clear that this was not working. I went back to the drawing board, looking for another way. Searching for something to help me figure out how to train Dyna to be a dressage horse is what led me to ST.


I joined ST Mastery in 2015. I loved the program and did some touchstones. The STclopedia is extraordinary! As amazing as the Mastery program was though, I needed more specific help in putting the lessons into practice. ST clinics in the USA were few and far between, and I lost momentum.

When the Scholars program became available I was thrilled. The coaching was just what I had been missing in the Mastery program. I started to make progress! I’ve learned to see Dyna, not as a “special needs” horse, but as a horse with unique strengths and talents. She is teaching me to be a COM ninja. Dyna has immense power that, as her balance improves, becomes more available to me as her rider. My relationship with her has changed dramatically. The more I “listen” to the subtleties she communicates to me, and the more I learn to help her with her balance, the more our trust and partnership grow.


Maybe more impactful than Dyna’s progress is my progress as a trainer and as a human. Some important lessons for me have been about taking responsibility for my choices and not getting bogged down by the inevitable bumps in the road and the stories I tell myself about those bumps. It’s been an exceptionally bumpy year. My beautiful, talented Lipizzaner got injured in May 2021. I almost gave up Scholars, but the self mastery lessons in the program helped me look around and realize I had another horse—Dyna—perhaps not as physically blessed as Theo, my Lipizzaner, but with much to teach me.

An even bigger bump, a mountain really, was my cancer diagnosis in the fall of 2021. Since then I’ve had surgery, radiation treatment and am now preparing for chemotherapy. I’ve had to miss some training cycles, and have sometimes felt like succumbing to my illness and just allowing myself to be a sick person, just giving up. But I’ve managed to keep going. The Scholars program and the BCP have been invaluable in helping me keep my eye on my goals and future possibilities, and appreciate what I CAN do. I’m determined to complete the BCP program and become a Basic ST Instructor. I hope to add the riding pillar to my achievements with Dyna, and maybe someday upgrade my license to become a full ST Instructor.

I’m so grateful to the Scholars program and the BCP. I’m so grateful to Marijke for sharing her knowledge and wisdom. I’m so grateful for the amazing Scholars community. Onward!

~ Caryl Richardson, United States

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