Isabeau Solace 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 Isabeau, keep up the good work in the Certification Program!
And thanks for taking the time to share your STory with us!
❝I work in the horse industry full time, but I have found it difficult to find instructors for myself who’s work resonates with me. I have never been happy with the compromises that are often married to the competition scene. And the vast majority of horse professionals tie their training to competition outcomes.
I found it difficult to commit to working in commercially successful facilities. I wanted to be involved in a training program that values progress of the horse and human, without compromising or sacrificing either.
I have had the opportunity to learn from a few excellent horse trainers, but marrying that to success in the industry has been elusive. I wanted a system that allowed me to move forward both professionally and personally.
After 1 year of owning this horse I was starting to wonder if I was going to be able to keep him. He proved to be unpopular with the barn owners, hard to keep weight on, emotionally needy, and physically challenged. ST definitely afforded me a tool set to be able to address some of his issues. With Straightness Training, I have been able to progress his training and greatly improve his confidence and understanding of our work together.
I found ST via a Facebook advertisement for one of Marijke’s free courses. I followed her free offerings online for about 18 months before committing to sign up. I was very curious but the timing was not right. Then I got a young horse who was very underdeveloped and I could not do much good for him undersaddle. So this seemed like an excellent time to dig into the work ST offered.
I had a strong background in natural horsemanship ground work and “liberty” round pen work. But ST was addressing those pieces in a very different way. So I came to it with the confidence that I knew unmounted work was very powerful, but I had never addressed it in this way before. The groundwork and longeing pillars were the toughest.
I had been ‘longeing’ with no purpose for a very long time (I have 40+ years horse experience) and it is not easy to relearn/restructure after that much time.
Groundwork Grade 1 also turned ‘leading’ into a profoundly different deal. I was pretty happy with the work I saw Marijke de Jong doing, so I knew the end results could be profound.
I also knew that when you start learning something new it can be a veeerrrrrrrrryyyyyy steep hill at first. So my experience overall was that this work takes a serious commitment to learn, but that it is very much worth it. (Kind of feels like going to the Medical School equivalent of ground work :)
Thanks to Straightness Training, my horse has strengthened his topline, learned that “training time” has a goal, and enabled me to progress in his undersaddle work. It has been really fun to play with lateral work in hand, and see the potential for future advancement is very available. It has also been very nice to have a strong theoretical framework to fall back on on days when things were tougher. I have had several occasions were I “did” very little and yet was completely confident that it was exactly the right thing to do at the time.
And I became someone who is a lot more competent. I already had a lot of good intentions, but without a structure to funnel those intentions into something understandable TO the horse, and functional FOR the horse, the intentions only get you so far.
I finally learned how to address a whole host of physical imbalances with TRAINING and UNDERSTANDING instead of with devices (side reins, draw reins, different bit, etc.). I also started to develop a habit of taking seriously my own mood, mindset, intentions, etc when I work with the horse. And incorporate those evaluations without judgement about it. “Nothing has gone wrong.❞
~ Isabeau Solace, United States
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