Grade 4 Graduation: Rebecca Gilbert & Milly

Grade 4 Graduation: Rebecca Gilbert & Milly

ST Instructor Rebecca Gilbert from the UK passed Riding 4 in the ST Evaluation Program with her mare Milly, and with that Touchstone, she passed all 5 Touchstones in Grade 4! ‍‍ ‍‍ Well done Rebecca & Milly! Congratulations! ‍‍ ‍‍

Rebecca started with Straightness Training in 2012 and paced herself in a way that she maintained an equilibrium of energy over the distance she had planned to cover and therefore she has been creating a wonderful momentum for her and Milly over the years. Rebecca strength is that she has a curious mind and this has led to many discoveries that brought all the way up to the Grade 4 Graduation, which is an amazing result!  ‍‍

This is what Rebecca had to say about her inspiring Grade 4 Journey: ‍‍ ‍‍

 "Wow, what a year this has been for Milly and I on our Straightness Training Journey through Grade 4. ‍‍ ‍‍ For me this year has been all about: ‍‍ ‍‍

'Think, Act, check, CHANGE → Repeat'! ‍‍ ‍‍

I am being blessed to be in a position to support students in the online coaching evaluation program, closely mentored by Marijke de Jong, for several years now. ‍‍ ‍‍

it has given me a very different perspective to what is the most effective way to truly develop, learn, and grow. ‍‍ ‍‍

And with my own personal journey in the evaluation process and what I witness in successful ST students is keeping MOMENTUM in this process. ‍‍ ‍‍

The evaluation process has really highlighted my HABIT LOOPS, showing me the same holes I regularly fall into. ‍‍ ‍‍

We are all creatures of HABIT and it's easy to think we are proficient at something until we film ourselves, then BANG there's that darn hole again!  ‍‍ ‍‍ When we put energy into Mastering something there is a process we need to go through: ‍‍ ‍‍

  • Cognitive Mastery: This level of Mastery is achieved when we have studied the materials and know ST from the OUTSIDE IN. Essentially this is the level of the armchair expert. ‍‍ ‍‍
  • Emotional Mastery. This is the result of the trial and error process of 'Think, Act, check, CHANGE → Repeat'. It's achieved by filming ourselves and receiving clear, concise feedback to implement, and create a lasting CHANGE. ‍‍ ‍‍
  • Physical Mastery. This level is achieved when one becomes so proficient and can perform an exercise with unconscious competence - knowing and feeling it from the INSIDE OUT. ‍‍ ‍‍

So I am blown away by Milly, a big Irish Draught x Dutch Warmblood, and rising 20 years old mare. ‍‍ ‍‍ She too has gone through huge transformations on our ST Journey:

  • At one time she could barely canter at all under saddle, she had huge emotional and mental imbalances and was a hugely challenging horse. Getting bucked off wasn't an unusual occurrence and she was incredibly spooky and nervous. But this was all linked to her natural asymmetry. ‍‍ ‍‍
  • ST has allowed me to chip away at the less helpful, desirable qualities and she looks and feels incredible with strong, supple muscles! ‍‍ Developing the degree of athleticism and connection and collection particularly in the canter has been a huge focus for us over the last few years, and I'm very excited to feel what she is able to offer and how strong her muscles are and what incredible core strength she has. ‍‍ ‍‍ But also her mind, emotions and spirit are so strong now. If I make a mistake (which I often do), she doesn't get annoyed but will calmly fill in for me and make up for my shortcomings. ‍‍ ‍‍ I feel ST has given her a very 'ZEN' energy now. She trains me now, how to FEEL BETTER, LISTEN BETTER and RESPOND BETTER. ‍‍ ‍‍

So we will continue on in our 'Think, Act, check, CHANGE → Repeat' lab cycle with the INVALUABLE online lesson support to reach 2 stars in our Work in Hand and Riding pillar before we are ready with a solid enough foundation to explore GRADE 5. ‍‍ ‍‍

Life is short, so good not to waste it in thinking we already know it all. Instead, I keep filming myself because the online lessons are truly truly INVALUABLE!" ‍‍

~ ST Instructor Rebecca Gilbert, United Kingdom