ST Instructor Zaneta Georgiades passed Riding 4 in the ST Evaluation Program with her gelding Delightful, and with that Touchstone, she passed all 5 Touchstones in Grade 4!
Well done Zaneta & Delightful! Congratulations!
Zaneta started with Straightness Training in 2012, and although her talent gave her a head start, it’s the combination of her hunger, heart and hard work that has been the predominant factor in her success in ST. In general, “ST only works when you do”, especially if you are partnering with an Irish Sports horse x Thoroughbred that is born to push and run fast. But it’s Zaneta’s strength that she doesn’t use anything as an excuse and never makes up a story why she can’t have things. Zaneta’s strong believe in Delightful, and her heartfelt dedication to helping him to become the best version of himself brought her all the way up to the Grade 4 Graduation, which is a fantastic result!
And this is what Zaneta had to say about her inspiring Grade 4 Journey:
“This year has been a remarkable, thrilling, mind-bending, squeeeeeeeeeeeeezy rollercoaster of a ride!
Delightful and I started this year in the Liberty 4 Touchstone where we dipped our toes/hooves into the Grade 4 quality pool. From there we dived into the cyclical process of preparing, filming, checking, changing, filming again, submitting, getting feedback, additional coaching, studying, puzzle-solving, integrating, repairing, preparing, etc, etc, etc.
It has been a real work of alchemy – systematically illuminating my blind spots i.e. what I didn’t know I didn’t know, between the pieces of what I knew intellectually, and then transforming these intellectual pieces of information into real inside-out experiences! So this year I have really rediscovered the meaning of “the map is not the territory” – the map is an amazing and indispensable tool, but the territory is the real deal… (really challenging, really intense, and really beautiful).
Delightful and I worked through our Liberty 4 and Longeing 4, which were in our stretch zone already, and then we were faced with the epic task of the canter sequences of Groundwork 4, Work in hand 4, and Riding 4 and, wow, did that bring a whole new level of STRETCH. Every time I cycled through the process of videoing, submitting, receiving feedback and doing additional coaching, Marijke would point out the improvements and then remind me of another vital essence that I had either overlooked or overproduced, showing me what I had “won” in this round and what I had “lost”.
Working in this laboratory uncovered so many of these ST essences and metaphors that we throw around so easily in the form of “catch phrases” at the beginning of our journeys – saying the words but not really knowing or feeling the true meanings yet. This laboratory brought them to life and revealed a whole new layer of 2mm details lying under the surface of Grade 1, 2, and 3. On a mental, emotional, and spiritual level it put me to work freezing more and more ice below sea level, expanding my ability to take “response-ability” as I walked ST expedition 9 (It’s ALWAYS me).
Delightful is an amazing teacher because he is the most patient and willing partner with the biggest heart, but his natural way of moving is quite tricky as his tendency, even when he moves freely in the paddock, is with short, fast “sewing machine” strides and he is bred to have a huge PUSH in his hind legs by nature, having both Thoroughbred and Irish Sport horse blood in him. Our Riding pillar has always been our biggest nemesis because of this tendency of his to lock his neck and run and it was a fascinating exercise to find a way of letting go of the limiting stories in my head about this while at the same time acknowledging the reality of his conformation.
I realized that letting go of the stories was not about living in denial and pretending that this wasn’t physically difficult for him or that he would magically be able to do it just because I thought positively about it. Letting go of the stories was about not allowing this challenge to become an excuse that held us back from finding the quality anyway! All it meant was that I needed to (and will continue to) put more time and effort in to build him up physically and that I need to continue deepening and widening my own inside-out understanding of the essences, training my eye and my feel, and freezing my ice to grow into the best partner I can possibly be to set him up for success.
The result that shone through this year was that I was able to approach him more empathically, seeing and understanding his current limitations in a realistic way but using these facts to shape my training and unlock more of his full potential. I was amazed at how expressively he was able to move in his Longeing 4 and this is the image I keep in my mind now as the example of what change is possible. And of course, I have carried over and am working on this lesson in my own life in how I see and treat myself when I am learning and with my students during workshops and in Touchstones as well… Delightful and I have learned more about each other this year than ever before and he has grown into a proud powerhouse of a horse right in front of my eyes! He gives his best aikido no matter what, even when we are in territory I haven’t been before and I need to make mistakes in the process of figuring things out, and this inspires me to keep doing the same.
I feel that I have been upgraded to Zaneta 2.0 thanks to this remarkable journey. I have had to dig deeper than ever before, really dedicating myself to practicing the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual principles outside the arena in everyday life, and then getting Delightful’s feedback on my “homework” when we meet each other for a training session. These discoveries mean so much for my other horses (and my students with their horses) as I am able to get the message across with more clarity, finesse, understanding, and sensitivity than what I was able to at the beginning of this year. I am so incredibly grateful for this and I look forward to continuing to grow and develop in the upcoming years.
We will continue exploring together in 2019, combing through all the nuances of Marijke’s brilliant feedback from our Touchstones and additional coaching, and weaving them into our work together, to find the extra pieces in our Grade 4 puzzle so that we are both well-prepared before we dip our toes/hooves into the Grade 5 pool…
Thank you, thank you to Marc and Marijke for setting up this Mastery and Evaluation framework for all of us to flourish and find the magic with our horses. Big love from Delightful and I from our sunny little corner in South Africa, I don’t know if you fully realize what a ripple effect ST has had in our lives and the lives of the Mastery students and their horses here. So here’s a BIG WARM BATH OF ENERGY to both of you!”
~ ST Instructor Zaneta Georgiades, South Africa
Zaneta will have the ST Instructor License Type B in 2019 and will continue her dedication as a mentor to other ST Instructors, educator of ST Evaluators, and coach to many Mastery Students all over the world.
You can connect with Zaneta in the ST South Africa 🇿🇦 Facebook Group: