Nicole Menz & Pluto Graduate Grade 1
in STories

Nicole Menz & Pluto Graduate Grade 1

Nicole Menz from Germany is a Scholar in the Basic ST Instructor Certification Program and recently, Nicole graduated in the Straightness Training Academy in Grade 1 in all five training pillars: groundwork, longeing, work in hand, riding and Straightness Training at liberty.

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


And thanks, Nicole, for taking the time to share your STory with us:


❝Before starting my ST journey, I often felt like I am not good enough. I struggled to ride Pluto, and felt fearful, because two riders fell off him and got injured badly. I really was on a plateau. It felt like a cycle where I have to start riding at the longe, again and again, not knowing how to help my horse and myself out of this downward spiral.

I felt very disappointed and doubtful, and lots of fear and worst-case scenarios crept into my mind, asking myself if this was the right horse for me.

I really had to find a way to get our partnership good enough to develop my skills in horse training. It was no opportunity to give him away, so I had to find a solution.

Years ago, I discovered ST on Facebook, and I was so fascinated by Marijkes skills, inspiration, motivation and power to help students get a better version of themselves and be better trainers for their horses - it felt totally right and achievable if I would take the time it takes to learn the six keys of ST and get my English good enough to follow the program.

So I started in 2019 but lost momentum. Each following free Masterclass, I got inspired again, and I found a way to manage and get used to the filming for the Hot Seat, Breakthrough and Touchstone and get to Zoom for the Mastermind. That made it possible to take the logical steps of Straightness Training, to train for progression and stack the Pillars one on the other to prepare for riding and to get the mind and body of Pluto to work in an understanding and motivational way with me.

I had only scratched the surface of Grade 1 by now, and the experience was no straight line. I failed fast forward and had so much more to learn, and I did that by widening and broadening my knowledge and ST skills.

The Self-Mastery concept of Marijke is very helpful for me. It helps me find my resourcefulness and my power to choose helpful and useful thoughts to get emotions that are serving me in training Pluto.

The journey from groundwork to longeing made it clear that I must get the basics consistent and easy. It also made it clear to me to aim for the self-carriage of the horse right from the beginning to give Pluto the responsibility to keep the LFS and the shape by himself.

At  liberty, I experienced letting go of any sidewheels. That skill I took with me to work in hand, which is amazing as it made it easier for me to get my hands to the shoulders in a more riding position.

Without ST, I would not be able to go on a trail ride in a relaxed, lighthearted way. And I would not have mastered the liberty Touchstone on my own.

Thanks so much to the Academy Coaches. They are fantastic in finding the next steps and essence of the exercises.

After completing the Grade 1 journey, Pluto and I feel more confident and trust each other. He is more relaxed and moving in a better healthy posture. I am more clear and confident in what, why and how to train him. I learned that I can trust my intuition and skills. We both are capable of doing more together, going through challenging situations. By leaving my comfort zone, I can now enjoy riding him.

Through ST, I contributed to his health and well-being by training his body, mind and spirit, because I improved my Inner picture, inner feeling and body language.

Thank you, Marijke, for my CANI and Awareness that "It's Always Me" who has to change.

~ Nicole Menz, Germany

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