ST Mastery student Hannah Chaplin from the UK passed Riding 1 with her mare, Bluebell, and with that Touchstone, she passed all 5 Touchstones in Grade 1 in the ST Evaluation Program!
Hannah has shared her lovely STory about how she met Bluebell and why she started Straight Training as well as what the ST Academy has given her on her ST journey:
"Bluebell came into my life in May 2015. I had been looking for a New Forest pony to learn from. She was halter broken and had had a foal. I started slowly getting her used to weird human stuff and because I needed time to be sure that she wasn't in foal again (she wasn't). At some point when I started long-lining her, I noticed one hip slightly higher than the other and she was struggling to circle in hand at anything faster than a walk.
Around then I remembered someone once speaking about Marijke and Straightness training. I looked it up online and realized it was the missing piece of the jigsaw. I joined the Home Study course. I was pretty useless on my own so I went to watch Roz Richmond teach at a clinic in the summer of 2016 and then organized a clinic in the autumn and I never looked back. I've had monthly lessons with Roz ever since and I joined the Mastery Program in January 2017.
I've seen a lot of change in Bluebell both physical and mental. She is much stronger now in her body. I didn't ride her for a year or so and riding her again after ST she just felt totally amazing and still does! She is so much more stable traveling, she's much more able to support and steady herself now. Mentally she is now more in a figuring out state and really tries so hard. I'm so proud of her and the amazing friend and pony that she is.
The Mastery Program is amazing - it covers everything! The modules on self-mastery and horse training are particularly useful. I recently restarted and am finding the emails really helpful to signpost me to the information there with reminders of the new material that's been added since I first joined.
I didn't manage to fully make use of the Evaluation Program in my first year. In the latter part of 2017, Bluebell had laminitis. I spent time in 2018 digging deep, changing from farrier to foot trimmer and learning about hooves so I could help her. During that period she made quite a few physical changes and we worked on our connection. Both of these have really helped lay foundations for the progress we've made this year.
I then dived in and bought a bunch of Touchstones and submitted them over the course of 2019. I've found the Evaluation process to be really great for finding the 2mm that can be spotted more easily on video than live. The feedback is detailed and helps with identifying holes that keep appearing as well as new 2mm changes. For example one of my recent evaluations picked up that I release less with my left hand so I'm now consciously incompetent on that and can keep thinking about it and working to change this.
I've also been really lucky to have been able to take Bluebell to the UK mastery clinics with Rebecca Gilbert this year. This has been great for working on the details and has complimented my Evaluation feedback from her.
The Evaluation portal is a treasure trove of information. It's a great learning tool with so many lessons to watch and their feedback to read and learn from. It's really good to be able to read the explanations of different evaluators. The slightly different way of explaining really helps with getting to grips with the ST concepts.
The ST community is so welcoming and friendly and supportive. We have a great group of students here in the UK and the Mastery clinics are a great way for us to meet up and spend time together learning in the ST bubble. I love these weekends they are such a great way to switch off and focus on ST and think of nothing else. I'm lucky to be in a great STudy buddy group which has been helping me a lot.
I'm really excited about what 2020 will bring and the next phase of 2mm changes I need to make to help Bluebell. She's streets ahead of me - my goal is to up my game to be able to help her even more."
~ Hannah Chaplin, UK
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